Motivating and engaging students is the goal of most teachers–priming them to receive instruction, or otherwise align themselves to a pre-set process you’ve sketched out that you hope will yield a learning goal you selected beforehand. But I’ve also been thinking recently of how learning actually happens–the causes of learning. Learning events, maybe. Eh.

So I came up with 60 (of millions) of these “learning events” (for lack of a better term)–circumstances in which students seem to learn effortlessly. They can learn when they are coerced–to start, to increase the pace, to finish, to revisit. But what kind of conditions or contexts promote effortless learning? Learning when they don’t even know it’s happening? When they’re (essentially) tricked into deep understanding?

How does this happen–especially when you have a very specific daily learning target you’re trying to meet in pursuit of an academic standard? That’s where curriculum mapping, learning models, and lesson design come in. For now, consider the following events as examples. Templates. They may not lead to the precise mastery of the standard or objective in your Carnegie unit or Hunter’s lesson plan, but they’re thinking. And in these cases, rather than following your trails of breadcrumbs, they’re actually thinking for themselves.