The FUNd Stuff at PNA!

The Transfer of Learning

by Brenna McCormick | PNA K/1st Grade Teacher

One of my goals as a teacher, and I think most teachers share it, is for my students to internalize what they have learned in the classroom and use it on their own both in and out of the classroom.

Something that stood out to me as I reflected on our week is the way our kindergartners have applied stop motion to other contexts -- independently. Several students have made stop motion movies at home and during their elective, where they have the freedom to make whatever they want. And their stop motion movies are good. They make sense, they are funny, and they have few, if any, shots of their hands.

Furthermore, a few of our movie-makers have used their expertise in stop motion to teach others how to use the app and make a stop motion movie. I love that PNA enables me to use highly engaging, real world tools with my students, and that our PNA community (parents and other teachers) encourages and enables them not only to creatively use their acquired knowledge and skills outside of my classroom, but to share their skills with others as well. It is so powerful for our little ones to see that they can use what they learn in school to create and to teach others.

In teacher talk, what I just mentioned is known as transfer of learning. The idea is that students will be able to apply their knowledge and skills, both inside and outside of the classroom, to similar and new situations. It goes beyond simply repeating memorized information to having the ability to apply learned knowledge and previous experiences to new situations and use them to solve problems. In other words, it involves internalizing what was learned, generalizing it, and applying it to other situations. This ability is one of the things that allows our students to learn to think critically and solve problems.

We not only want students to know and understand what they learn throughout the year, but to apply it naturally to new situations. I carefully design my lessons and integrate our curriculum with this in mind. My phonics and reading instruction is designed to help students recognize and identify patterns in words and texts and then apply that knowledge when spelling other words and reading other texts. Reading strategies are applied from text to text to help children start to use, generalize and transfer them independently. The same is true for patterns and strategies in math and writing. We draw on prior experiences, both successful and unsuccessful, and knowledge when we solve new problems or engage in new projects. In this way, students are continually supported as they use what they have learned and apply it to new situations, which in turn helps them learn to independently apply past knowledge and experiences to new situations and become critical thinkers and problem solvers.

Postcards from the Classroom

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Coming Right Up

The Three Musketeers

3rd through 8th Grade Musical

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Spring Break

Monday, March 5

through Friday, March 16, 2018

No School

ERB Testing Week

2nd-8th Grade

April 2 through April 6, 2018

Once Upon...

Annual Auction Gala

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Pacific Northern Academy Campus

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In Appreciation

We are grateful to our corporate supporters and individual donors who help make PNA and independent education possible for students and their families in Anchorage, Eagle River, and the Matanuska Valley. We couldn't do it without you!

John Hardwick and Ral West


APU Vestibular Laboratory

Imaging Associates

Plastic Surgeons of Alaska


Friends of PNA

Skiva Investments

Dr. Steven and Lindsay Tucker

Underwriters and In-Kind Donors​


Buzzbizz Creative

Who's Behind this FUNd Stuff madness, anyway?

The FUNd Stuff Editorial Staff

Jennie Tschappat

Kathy Heinlein

Contributing articles this week from

Brenna McCormick, and PNA's student performers.

You can find all the blogs here.

The FUNd Stuff is a bi-monthly (or so) publication from the staff, students, parents, and teachers of PNA.

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