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Learning Cycles

Five-Week Content Cycles




The Learning Cycles strategy can pivot from remote to hybrid to all-in-person contexts. Learning Cycles can ease transitions to different models (remote & hybrid).



Learning Cycles provide regular inflection points throughout the year for reflection and continuous improvement modifications -- especially useful this year.



Learning Cycles can be implemented to match planning time with need over the course of the year.


Planning for shorter cycles of instruction can be more manageable for teachers.

In combination with Teaching Partners, Learning Cycles offer natural pivot points for switching up roles.


Learning Cycles can improve student engagement with more concentrated content, "reset" or "reboot" points, and/or more opportunities for a variety of Specials throughout the year.


Learning Cycles support align with the latest brain research on learning & memory. (see text box)

Brain research on learning & memory urges to avoid cognitive overload by limiting the number of new concepts introduced each day so that content is more likely transferred from working memory to long-term memory.

Learn more:

The Potential of Neuroscience in Education

Understanding Cognitive Load to Better Engage Your Students

How to Avoid Cognitive Overload in the Classroom

Learning Cycles Align with Latest Brain Research

What can happen in a cycle?


Rotate students through different Specials every five weeks. This provides more options for students throughout the year.


All-Hands-on-Deck Programming

Offer content that is relatively simple to implement & can engage several classes or the whole school and be offered by family volunteers, community volunteers, or school staff. Examples: Book Clubs, Read-Alouds, dance or exercise classes, special classes offered by local celebrities.

Bonus: Provides additional planning time for teachers.

Project-Based Learning

Rotate through five-week project cycles. Teacher partners can take turns leading and supporting.

WIN (What I Need) Academic Coaching

Provide students targeted supports without requiring them to miss out on Specials the whole quarter or year.

Core Content

Offer a rotating schedule of core content. For example, by adapting a A/B schedule with subjects offered sequentially -- one at a time rather than alternating days during the week.

Another option is to double up on content and cover a quarter's worth of content in 5 weeks. Then, students can have two scheduling options within the quarter for completing the content. If they fall behind, they have an opportunity to retake the class during another Learning Cycle.

Experiences from around the country show that navigating this completely new reality is exhausting for most teachers. Learning Cycles can provide opportunities for teachers to recharge, learn from peers, and focus on their own continuous improvement strategies.

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