Stage 2 of our framework involves routines that create an optimal learning environment. It includes:

1) Creating efficient systems so class runs smoothly and predictably…

2) Purposefully planning for JOY in your classroom every day…

3) Ensuring that students actively process content in your lessons…

Why do all of these elements — efficiency, joy, and active processing — fit into stage 2? What do they have in common?

In short, efficiency, joy, and active processing are built through ROUTINES that set the stage for deeper learning. Instead of planning for efficiency, joy, and processing on a lesson-by-lesson basis, we urge teachers to plan for these elements more systematically so that they permeate the classroom environment and the identity that students form collectively as a class. We don’t necessarily want students to leave thinking that today’s lesson was fun or that today’s activity went smoothly; we want them to know that in this class we are ALWAYS efficient and joyful, and we ALWAYS actively process what we are learning. This is who we are!

We are EFFICIENT: Class is well-organized and predictable, our systems maximize our learning time, we know what to do and when to do it!

We are JOYFUL: It is more fun to follow the rules and participate in activities than not to; we celebrate ourselves and each other; it feels good to be here!

We ACTIVELY PROCESS class content: We are expected to think, write, and discuss what we are learning; the teacher does not do the learning for us, rather we learn by thinking for ourselves!

Imagine a classroom of students who operate this way and believe these things about themselves. The possibilities are endless, right? Once stage 2 has been achieved we are truly ready to up the ante and push students to develop complex conceptual understandings, think critically, and transfer learning to solve novel problems!