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Activity-Based Collaborative Learning Labs

Specific time set aside each morning for students to focus on an additional subject of interest


One challenge Bronx Arena faced during their early years was getting students to come to school on time. As a transfer school, tardiness and attendance are a bigger challenge than for a traditional school, often for reasons outside students’ control. In order to increase student motivation, they rolled out Learning Labs, which are subject-focused, asynchronous (no specific end or start date) courses that allow students the ability to engage and apply curriculum in new ways. By having Learning Labs in the morning, students are motivated to arrive on time because they have an opportunity to work collaboratively with their peers on activities, discussions, simulations, and applications of content in authentic ways. Even the courses themselves have exciting and inspiring names, like “Cash Bread Gold” which is focused on economics. The Learning Labs allow students to go deeper with content, while also ensuring students achieve mastery along the way through the two challenges and one capstone project that they are required to complete by the end of the course.

This strategy is a part of TLA's Real-Time Redesign release, a practical toolkit for improving equity and resiliency in schools. Explore the full guide to find additional strategies, insights, and resources.

Student Does

  • Works through the pre-designed simulations at their own pace.
  • Completes two challenges and a capstone project.
  • Learns collaboratively with others on projects and presentations.

Teacher Does

  • Co-teaches for at least 30 minutes.
  • Supports individual students where they are in their learning progression (e.g. getting started or going deeper in their work).
  • Ensures all students have the resources they need to succeed.

Technology Does

  • Houses course outlines that provide students with structures and learning resources to help them complete courses.
  • Houses student data that helps monitor student productivity towards earning credits for course completion.