Using Crio to Support Professional Learning Communities


In medieval Europe, individuals who practiced a craft often joined a guild. Within a guild, devoted craftspeople provided support for each other, discussed best practices, and set the standard for the products given to consumers.

Today, teachers promote their craft more extensively -- in professional learning communities (PLCs). How can teachers use the products available in the digital realm to provide support, ensure best practices, and align standards? Curriculum Pathways and its newest tool, Crio, may be the solution that helps meet these challenges.

Schools that are building PLCs are committed to the learning for all and invite collaboration among teachers to provide timely intervention for students, promote equal access to the curriculum, and provide unique learning experiences.

In designing opportunities to support learners, PLCs can use Crio, the interactive resource-builder by Curriculum Pathways. Here I will offer my top three insights to bring Crio into the framework of your PLC and make it truly a community of professionals dedicated to learning.

1. Addressing four crucial questions

Teachers need to address four questions that motivate the professional learning community instead of traditional practices of the individual teacher.

  •  What do we want each student to learn? 

Teachers follow state or national standards that provide the content or skill knowledge that students should have. Teachers can use Crio to build any lesson that delivers the content that students will learn and that other teachers in the PLC can use as well.

  • How will we know when each student has learned it?

Crio offers a variety of question widgets that you simply drag-and-drop anywhere in the lesson. As a humanities teacher, I often want to encourage inquiry-based learning< so I will add long-answer questions into my Crio lessons. Math and Science questions allow students to respond with a palette of symbols unique to their grade level and course. The responses students provide to the variety of question elements help teachers determine understanding. The shift from traditional to contemporary educational practice follows with the next two questions and how to respond to student needs.

  • How will we respond when a student experiences difficulty in learning?

Crio lends itself to remediation for students. When students have trouble learning content during and after instruction, the teacher can create a lesson specifically for remedial skills. PLCs investigate the areas in which a student is struggling and use this data to drive new instruction in Crio. This personalizes instruction for students and allows other teachers in the community access to lessons that they can use in their class. Teachers no longer just move on; instead, they meet students where they are in their learning.

  • What will we do if students already know it?

Using Crio, teachers allow students to deepen understanding and transfer learning with enrichment lessons. Students can access these enrichment opportunities at any time on any device.

2. Bringing teachers out of isolation

When I was teaching about the spread of the plague in medieval Europe, a student responded this way: “In science class we learned about the differences between pathogens; the spread of the plague is like the spread of Ebola in West Africa.” PLCs that cross disciplines can benefit from using Crio. Teachers who are otherwise in isolation from what lessons are being implemented in other subject areas can now see the lessons that a teacher at the same school or other schools have made public and align their own lessons.


3. Giving teachers a voice in the community

Teachers know what challenges exist in the classroom and how to best enhance student understanding of the content and skills. PLCs provide the platform for teachers to communicate lesson ideas to support student learning. Crio enables teachers to showcase their passions and talents for engaging students in content and can be viewed by many others in the Curriculum Pathways community.

As reflective practitioners, teachers can review and comment to promote usage of a lesson or provide feedback for the lesson to make it more helpful for the community. Teachers can gain a sense of pride in their work being noticed and show gratitude to others’ lessons that were just what they needed for 4th grade students to understand the purpose of government!The craft guilds that developed during the medieval period in Europe brought prosperity back to towns that had been under-achieving for many years. Crio enables teachers to create and publicly share digital lessons for free that foster student growth.


About Author

Michael Robbins

Michael Robbins is a high school humanities teacher in Raleigh, North Carolina. He earned his bachelor's degree in secondary education from Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania. He has a passion for integrating technology in instructional practice, global engagement, and social responsibility. You can connect with him on Twitter @_michaelrobbins

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