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Learning Challenge Lessons, Elementary - Book Cover

Learning Challenge Lessons, Elementary

20 Lessons to Guide Young Learners Through the Learning Pit
By: Jill Nottingham, James Andrew Nottingham, Mark Bollom, Joanne Nugent, Lorna Pringle

with Mark Bollom, Joanne Nugent, and Lorna Pringle

Twenty compelling Learning Challenge lessons provide teachers with everything needed to facilitate thoughtful, rigorous, dialogue-driven challenges for elementary school students around topics of current importance.

Full description

Learning Challenge Lessons, Elementary - Book Cover
Product Details
  • Grade Level: PreK-12
  • ISBN: 9781544330471
  • Published By: Corwin
  • Series: Corwin Teaching Essentials
  • Year: 2018
  • Page Count: 256
  • Publication date: June 08, 2018

Price: $26.95

Price: $26.95
Volume Discounts applied in Shopping Cart

For Instructors

Request Review Copy

When you select 'request review copy', you will be redirected to Sage Publishing (our parent site) to process your request.



"James Nottingham’s work on Challenging Learning is a critical element of creating Visible Learners. This new series will help teachers hone the necessary pedagogical skills of dialogue, feedback, questioning, and mindset. There’s no better resource to encourage all learners to know and maximize their impact!"

John Hattie, Professor & Director, Melbourne Education Research Institute
University of Melbourne

Looking for more examples and more lesson plans to get started with Learning Challenges? Help is here!

Created to accompany The Learning Challenge, the twenty lessons collected in this book grapple with timely concepts and provide teachers with everything needed to run thoughtful, dialogue-driven challenges for elementary school students. Each lesson engages students around an exciting topic of current importance—including social media, voting, health, friendship, space exploration, language, fairness, and other issues—and invites students into the “Learning Pit” to explore their thoughts with others through dialogue.

The developmentally-appropriate lessons plans are designed to help young learners

  • Learn new vocabulary in the context of dialogue
  • Challenge themselves to think through complex concepts
  • Follow their natural curiosity and seek answers to questions they pose themselves
  • Think critically about issues and discover alternative viewpoints
  • Explore disagreements reasonably and co-create meaning with others

Detailed lesson plans make it easy for teachers to facilitate rigorous and thought-provoking dialogue for students. Teacher resources include

  • Activities to help students progress from surface level thinking to deeper understanding
  • Techniques to get students “into the pit,” where contradictions and uncertainties force deeper thinking—and then out of the pit again
  • Full-color activity cards to accompany each lesson
  • Diagrams to help illustrate relationships between concepts for students

Each compelling topic challenges young students to think, to be reasonable, to make moral decisions, and to understand another person’s point of view—all critical skills in today’s complex world. Jumpstart meaningful learning for students with these rigorous and engaging Learning Challenge lessons.

Key features

Teachers will receive:
  • Learning Challenge lessons that are relevant and timely, on topics that interest and engage students
  • Detailed lesson plans and activities for running Learning Challenges in their classroom
  • Full-color activity cards to accompany each lesson


Jill Nottingham photo

Jill Nottingham

Jill Nottingham’s background is in teaching, leadership and consultancy. She has been a teacher and leader in kindergartens and schools in some of the more socially deprived areas of North East England. During that time, she developed many approaches to teaching children how to learn that are still being used in schools and taught in universities today.

Jill has also trained with Edward de Bono at the University of Malta, and has studied for a Masters degree in Education with the University of Newcastle.

Jill now leads Challenging Learning’s pre-school and primary school consultancy. She has written many of the Challenging Learning teaching materials, has edited the others, and is currently writing 3 books for schools and 2 books for pre-schools. In amongst this she finds time to be the mother of 3 gorgeous children!

James Andrew Nottingham photo

James Andrew Nottingham

James Nottingham is co-founder and director of Challenging Learning, a group of companies with 30 employees in 6 countries. His passion is in transforming the most up-to-date research into strategies that really work in the classroom. He is regarded by many as one of the most engaging, thought-provoking and inspirational speakers in education.

His first book, Challenging Learning, was published in 2010 and has received widespread critical acclaim. Since then, he has written 6 books for teachers, leaders, support staff, and parents. These books share the best research and practice connected with learning; dialogue; feedback; the learning pit; early years education; and growth mindset.

Before training to be a teacher, James worked on a pig farm, in the chemical industry, for the American Red Cross, and as a teaching assistant in a school for deaf children. At university, he gained a first-class honours degree in education (a major turnaround after having failed miserably at school). He then worked as a teacher and leader in primary and secondary schools in the UK before co-founding an award-winning, multi-million-pound regeneration project supporting education, public and voluntary organisations across north east England.

Skolvärlden (Swedish Teaching Union) describes James as “one of the most talked about names in the world of school development” and the Observer newspaper in the UK listed him among the Future 500 - a “definitive list of the UK's most forward-thinking and brightest innovators.”

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

List of Figures


About the Authors

The Language of Learning

Part I: Setting the Scene

Chapter 1: Preparing to Use the Lesson Ideas

1.0 Introduction

1.1 The Learning Challenge

1.2 Learning Intentions

1.3 High-Quality Dialogue

1.4 Exploratory Talk

1.5 Underpinning Values

Chapter 2: The Lesson Activities

2.0 Overview

2.1 Mystery

2.2 Ranking

2.3 Sorting and Classifying with Venn Diagrams

2.4 Opinion Lines

2.5 Opinion Corners

2.6 Fortune Lines

2.7 Living Graphs

2.8 Concept Lines

2.9 Odd One Out

2.10 Concept Targets

2.11 Collective Memory

2.12 Concept Corners

2.13 Thought Maps

2.14 Concept Graphs

Part II: The Lesson Ideas

Lesson 1: A visit to Grandma’s

Lesson 2: Why Explore?

Lesson 3: Who Was Responsible for Sam Ending Up in the Hospital?

Lesson 4: Should You Say Sorry?

Lesson 5: Does Jake Need a Shared Language at School?

Lesson 6: Good Thinking

Lesson 7: Got the Time?

Lesson 8: If Ricudo Lost His Home, Would This Be the Worst Thing That Is Happening in the Amazon Rainforest?

Lesson 9: What is Garbage?

Lesson 10: Should Ms. Smith Raise Money to Plant Trees Within the School Grounds?

Lesson 11: Should Theon Post That?

Lesson 12: Was Willy Wonka fair?

Lesson 13: What Is Color?

Lesson 14: What Is Cost?

Lesson 15: What Is the Best Sport?

Lesson 16: What Is Treasure?

Lesson 17: Who Is the Greatest?

Lesson 18: Is It Better to Work as a Team?

Lesson 19: Does Fame Make You More Important?

Lesson 20: Was Harry Potter the Hero of Hogwarts?


Index of Concepts


Photocopiable masters




Price: $26.95
Volume Discounts applied in Shopping Cart

For Instructors

Request Review Copy

When you select 'request review copy', you will be redirected to Sage Publishing (our parent site) to process your request.

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