Deep Learning in Action

Last month our school was evaluated by WASC and went through the process of accreditation. We learned a lot about ourselves and reflect on what we were doing. Luckily everything went well and we were praised for our activity. We are a fully authorized IB school.

I realized that IB  concepts like “Student in Our Center”-student agency, collaboration,  inquiry-based learning/ questions, applying knowledge in real life,   were in fact “Deep Learning” concepts, that we are applying through the IB Philosophy. The profile learners and its attribute, how we explore through our lessons, was a great proof of our learning to visualize it easier in our practice.

How does it work the assessment for our students, was also one of the key questions during the evaluation visit.

A great read about how we can influence the achievements of a student was reflected in the diagram of J. Hattie.

2018-updated-hattie-ranking-hatties-list-of-influences-effect-sizes-achievement-rangliste Source: (Retrieved 28 March 2018 / PDF)




  • What does deep learning look like in action?

Grade 3- Explorers- students learned about different explorers and created their artifacts,(maps, ships, binnacles), that were part of their project. Afterward, they documented with Ipads and explained it with digital tools like Seesaw. They used critical thinking skills to research, create, and communicate their ideas. They also reflected, used the art vocabulary, and gave feedback to their peers.  This was a strong collaboration between the homeroom teacher and the art department. They did many types of research and wrote about their explorers and then created a piece inspired by them.

Maps, templates, reflections.

Art Vocabulary

I choose special vocabulary keywords for art class and I try to reinforce them through their explanation.


I searched and printed a document with art vocabulary and I asked the children to use those words in their self-assessment and in their reflections about other artworks from their peers.

I asked them to reflect and to answer questions like:

I wonder about…

I feel…

I discovered…

I reflect…

I learn…

Grade 5- Printmaking

For another class, I also asked them what the most exciting project and what they wish for next year to achieve in art. What would be their goal?

This is an example of Project-based learning for Grade 5. They learned how to create Linocuts and Woodcuts and they created all the processes, step by step, from defining the drawing, transferring the drawing on their template, carving the idea into a lino plate or wood plate, print it with special ink, signed it, and reflect about it. The results were amazing even it took us longer than expected.


For this project, I applied rubric-based assessments. “Rubrics can be used to assess the intermediate stages of project-based learning to help the students to stay focused”. Rubrics are also helpful for the instructors to keep track of the development and progress of their student’s work.

rubricintro (1)

  • How might we assess for deep learning?

It is hard to measure creativity and originality. I found it particularly difficult for arts to say this is right or this is wrong. I try to encourage students to create, to express themselves with art, and to be curious and passionate about art in general. To inquire about different artists and even their peers. I wish that my students are inspired to love creating and to appreciate the arts.

I try to evaluate per general to give them the opportunity to show their works through exhibitions, as a colleague of mine Julia,  mentioned in her blog

Julia mentions that ISTE would be a good evaluation form for deep learning. I reflect on that, and I felt the same. I usually refer to the 10 ib learner profiles(caring, thinker, inquirer, reflective, knowledgeable, principled, communicator, open-minded, risk-taker, balanced)  in my assessment, and try to be positive.

A very important method of mine is self-reflection. I keep always at the end of 10 minutes’ time to reflect together about what we all did and to give constructive advice for the future. I found it helpful to use the TAG method.

Tell something encouraging

Ask a question

Give advice.

So I often use the Self- assessment method and two other types of assessment.

Formative Assessment shows the development of the students at a particular time.

Summative Assessment with different stages, midterm skills, a final project, and maybe a  research work/ or reflection-using critical thinking skills.

Reading different materials about Deep Learning Assessment, I found this detailed document a great reference.

Here is another great example in the abstract fields, like the mathematics of how to assess deep learning.

They are a variety of ways of putting deep learning into practice in my classroom.

Because I am a person of action, and less verbal, I put deep learning into action and I can give you another example of a great collaboration between Early Years, Kindergarten students,  11 Grade, and 12 Grade students. They met and they decorate the Christmas tree together.  We extend our learning into practice, in real life and we prove to be caring. The little ones worked very hard to paint and create beautiful patterns and colors on the wooden shape decorations given by the older students.


Another example is when I gave agency to the G1 students to be curators and to choose their best piece that they would like to share and to hang by themselves in their Christmas exhibition. Other examples of my deep learning practice are also earlier described in the “Explorers” project / G3 and Printmaking with G5.


Thinking about different methods of deep learning methods into practice I read about.

Augmented Reality is a concept that fascinates me very much and I hope to apply it in the project of a Museum.

One of the most iconic elements of the ‘Iron Man’ series is the impressive heads-up display of the Iron Man suit and the augmented reality of Tony Stark’s workshop.


What does deep learning look like in your school?

I remembered also the last week, “The Hour of Code” when we discovered many patterns, algorithms on how to decompose the world around us and to understand in an abstract way. An idea- a pattern-which becomes a code if we would like to program it in a computer programming system.

We even attended a PD Workshop and we practice the 4th stages of coding:

  • Decomposition
  • Pattern Recognition
  • Abstraction
  • Algorithm

I think I would gladly explore and apply coding concepts in art projects in the future.

Our Tech expert from our school, Dale Plotzki did a fantastic job preparing the “Hour of Code” for a whole week with different activities in our school.

I think here I could say that our school applied challenge-based learning and also game-based learning.

Challenge Based Learning (CBL)

“This multidisciplinary approach to teaching and learning encourages students to leverage the technology they use in their daily lives to solve real-world problems. The approach is collaborative and hands-on, asking students to work with other students, their teachers, and experts in their communities and around the world to develop a deeper knowledge of the subjects students are studying, accept and solve challenges, take action, share their experience, and enter into a global discussion about important issues.” Joel Bevans

This semester we experienced due to coronavirus blending learning system in South Korea in our school. We started for a week normal, then we shifted to virtual learning, after a while when the situation was improving we change to a Hybrid school learning only one-third of the students were on campus on a rotation base, every three days.  After a while, we could finally teach at school and it was so hard because the children were out of routines and were having different reactions, some of them were too shy some too wild, etc. After enjoying for a while to teach back at school, suddenly we needed to close for a week and switch on remote learning, and we could finalize with two weeks finally back at school, praying every day that the number will stay low and we could come to school. While we were in blending learning, we used Seesaw and Zoom to assign the tasks and to hold our meeting online with the students. We designed a new strategy of teaching with more technology and make it work. We try to develop the research skills, in students, and to be communicators.   

What do learning frameworks and new pedagogies look like in your classroom/school? Which methods have you implemented before?

I implemented many times project-based learning, according to some specific units. Especially for the unit “How do we express ourselves” I had major projects with Musicals, Theater, Grafitti, etc.

I also used  TPACK- Technology and art in a project:  Draw. Paint. Animate- Meme/ Animation/

Another one was being researchers and we develop critical thinking.

Games Based Learning (GBL)

 EdTechReview, “Game-Based Learning is designed to balance subject matter with gameplay and the ability of the player to retain and apply said subject matter to the real world.”

I created in my last afterschool activity club 3D Creations- dollhouses, balance, crafting, gluing, and applied scientific methods from real life.

Ex: Lego/ Megaformers. – patterns, modules.

What methods would you add to the list in this unit? Which methods might you put into action in Course 5?

For Course 5, I would like to create a Museum at ISB as a big collaboration project around the school. I also planned it as an after school activity club.

I will use Project Based Learning method.

Project-Based Learning (PBL)

“Students work on a project over an extended period of time – from a week up to a semester – that engages them in solving a real-world problem or answering a complex question. They demonstrate their knowledge and skills by creating a public product or presentation for a real audience. As a result, students develop deep content knowledge as well as critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, and communication skills.” Joel Bevans 

I would like to bring technology together within the communication process and doing the researches process.  So I will use a project-based concept with some blending-learning experiences. 

 Which deep learning competencies are strengths for you?

I think I am a passionate collaborator and I refer to the real situation in life. I could grow by being more structured and to keep it simple. I wish I could keep a better balance also with my life. Sometimes I am becoming a bit anxious and I get overwhelmed. 

How do you support your students/colleagues in becoming deep learners?

I think my colleagues are already great deep learners teachers, and I am so happy to recognize that and to understand better everything that they are doing. I am very fortunate to work with a team of amazing teachers and wonderful people. I am always open to collaborate with them and learn together.

I hope after I set the ground base with the main skills that we need in the art to express ourselves (ex: drawing, painting, modeling, printing, crafting, media art)  I would like to apply it in my teaching practice inquiry-based learning, student agency,  life long learner, real-life application.

Let’s get inspired by this artist and dream about the future.

Tatiana Plakhova-Antrum Installation.









3 Replies to “Deep Learning in Action”

  1. Hi Simona,

    I found the list you posted about Hattie’s top influential factors on student achievement to be vast, some ideas I haven’t thought about (like chess instruction, have you watched the Queen’s Gambit?) and some ideas I don’t really know what they mean. I’ll have to take a look at this website!

    I love the student work you posted; the maps, ships, and prints. Reflection is so important (it’s high on Hattie’s list!) for student achievement. I also use TAG for quick feedback. To help students use and become familiar with a rubric, I’m teaching them the Charette Protocol for feedback, it’s more of a conversation.

    It sounds like your school uses many deep learning strategies, thank you for describing them.

    The last video of art mixed with tech reminds me of a tech tool called a sandbox. The way the images were touched and moved in the video is similar to an <a href="LINK_TITLE“>AR sandbox. It’d be awesome to try one of these!

    1. Hi Melanie!

      Thank you very much for your feedback and your tip about the tech tool”sandbox”. I will check this out.

      Best, Simona.

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