Maker Method Terms Glossary

  • 21st-Century Skills

    Critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration, communication, creativity, innovation, global awareness, media fluency, analytical skills, entrepreneurialism, curiosity, effective speaking, information literacy, leadership, self-direction, adaptability.

  • 504 Plan

    A plan developed to ensure that a child who has a disability identified under the law and who is attending an elementary or secondary educational institution receives accommodations that will ensure their academic success and access to the learning environment.

  • 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

    Maker Learning Network learners use Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and Seven Habits of Happy Kids as guideposts to social-emotional learning and building a lifelong love of learning. These habits are integrated into the everyday culture of the schools and educational ventures.

  • a-g course requirements

    University of California approved course entrance requirements. See here for more information.

  • ACT Test

    A nationally administered, standardized test offered various times during the year that helps colleges evaluate candidates.

  • Advisory/Advisor

    Research shows that when learners feel connected to their school, they do better academically. One of the ways we achieve this with Middle and Upper School learners is through our advisory program. In small group settings, we explore the causes and effects of cultural, personal, and community events. Our primary learners participate in daily morning and/or ‘family’ (classroom) meetings that provide an opportunity to witness and display social problem solving skills and interactions. These meetings provide learners with the forum to develop social and emotional skills needed to thrive in a collaborative environment.

  • Authentic Assessment

    Authentic assessment refers to assessment that resembles real world tasks.  For example, learners doing work real scientists would perform.

  • Beautiful Work

    Resource:  Ron Berger, An Ethic of Excellence Building a Culture of Craftsmanship with Students

    Embracing the process of creating multiple drafts and seeing failure as an opportunity to improve in order to create a piece of beautiful work.

  • BIE (Buck Institute)

    A research facility that creates, gathers, and shares high quality project based learning instructional practices and products and provides services to teachers, schools, and districts.  Offers professional development on how to design, assess, and manage projects that engage and motivate learners.

  • CAS (Creativity Action Service)

    IB Diploma Programme course required for IB Diploma.

  • CCSA (California Charter School Association)

    The CCSA advances the charter school movement through state and local advocacy, leadership on accountability, and resources for member schools.

  • Character Lab®

    Character Lab is a nonprofit organization that connects researchers with educators to create greater knowledge about the conditions that lead to social, emotional, academic, and physical well-being for young people throughout the country.

  • Charter Petition

    Document approved by authorizing district.

  • Charter School

    Charter schools are FREE Public Schools overseen by the local school district or county but are free to govern themselves and create their own educational program. Charter schools are public schools operated independently of the local school board, often with a curriculum and educational philosophy different from the other schools in the system. They are tuition-free, non-religious, and are mandated to teach all. Charter schools create new professional opportunities for teachers, provide parents and pupils expanded choices in the types of educational opportunities available through the public school system, and encourage the use of different and state-of-the-art teaching methods.

  • Common Core State Standards

    Common Core standards were drafted by experts and teachers from across the country and are designed to ensure learners are prepared for today’s entry-level college courses, and workforce training programs. They focus on developing critical thinking, problem solving and analytical skills learners will need to be successful.

  • Daily 5
    • Word Work
    • Writing
    • Read to Self: Foundation for creating independent readers and writers
    • Buddy Reading
    • Listen to Reading
  • Deeper Learning

    Allows a learner to take something learned and apply it to another area. Use knowledge to be useful in new situations. There are three domains of competence:

    •      Cognitive (reasoning and problem-solving)
    •      Interpersonal (expressing ideas and collaboration)
    •      Intrapersonal (self-management and self-directedness)
  • Design Thinking

    A connection and process between creativity and innovation that requires meaningful solutions in the classroom. Thinking draws upon logic, imagination, intuition, and systemic reasoning, to explore possibilities of what could be and to create a desired outcome.

  • Differentiation

    A facilitator’s response to a learner’s needs. Facilitators can differentiate through content, process, product, affect, and learning environment according to the learner’s interest, readiness, and learner profile.

  • Diploma Programme (DP)

    International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, grades 11 and 12.

  • Driving Question

    It is both the foundation and the blueprint that guides a learner through a project. The driving question captures and communicates the project, focuses on inquiry, and creates an interest while challenging the learner. Driving questions should are open ended, provocative, and relate to real-world dilemmas.

  • ECHO

    Echo is a New Tech Network’s learning management system (LMS) designed to support project-based learning (PBL), and to facilitate communication and collaboration. Facilitators, learners, and parents are able to use Echo on a daily basis to access course resources, project plans, assignments, and a multidimensional grade book. Echo is delivered as a web-based service that is accessible 24/7 via any web browser with an internet connection.

  • EF

    Educational Facilitator

  • ELA

    English/Language Arts

  • Facilitator

    We call our teachers “facilitators” because their role is to facilitate learning each day. We call our students “learners” because that is exactly what they are here to do: learn.

  • Flipped Classroom

    Form of blended learning where instruction is delivered via online video lectures outside of class and then learners return to school to complete the homework.

  • Formative Assessment

    The goal of a formative assessment is to monitor learners’ progress to provide ongoing feedback that can be used by facilitators to continuously reevaluate the individual needs of learners. This helps learners identify their strengths and weaknesses. Examples include learner check-ins and peer edits.

  • Governing Board

    Legal entity that governs a charter school.

  • Grit

    Grit isn’t talent or luck. Grit isn’t how intensely, for the moment, you want something. Instead, grit is about having what some researchers call an “ultimate concern,” a goal you care about so much that it organizes and gives meaning to almost everything you do. And grit is holding steadfast to that goal. Even when you fall down. Even when you screw up. Even when progress toward that goal is halting or slow. Talent and luck matter to success. But talent and luck are no guarantee of grit.

  • Growth Mindset

    Taking on new challenges with optimism. Believing you can gain knowledge and skill and being able to express what you’ve learned.

  • IB

    International Baccalaureate

  • IEP

    Individual Education Plan

  • ILP

    see Individualized Learning Plan

  • Individualized Educational Plan

    The federal law, Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), requires that school create an IEP for every learner receiving special education services. The IEP, a binding document, is meant to address each learner’s unique learning issues and include specific educational goals. Before an IEP is written for a learner with a disability, a doctor, facilitator, family, and student support must determine whether the learner qualifies for special education services.

  • Individualized Learning Plan

    Each year, learners along with their facilitator(s) create an Individualized Learning Plan (ILP) to guide instruction. Each learner, along with his/her family and facilitator, work together to monitor the ILP and make adjustments, as needed. The primary goal of the ILP is to ensure that each child will be treated as an individual and therefore will be working toward attainable goals appropriate to his/her individual development.

  • International Baccalaureate (IB)

    The International Baccalaureate organization works with schools, governments, and international organizations to develop challenging programs of international education and rigorous assessment.

  • IS

    Independent Study

  • Learner

    What we call students at Maker Learning Network.

  • Learner-Led Conference

    This conference, usually in the spring, is an opportunity for learners to present their academic and social-emotional progress from the beginning of the school year. This is not a parent-teacher conference.

  • LLC

    Learner-Led Conference

  • Love & Logic

    Our approach to discipline centers on restorative practices and Love and Logic, a straightforward parenting and teaching philosophy that holds that children learn the best lessons when they’re given a task, allowed to make their own choices — which may involve failing — when the cost of failure is still small. Those failures must be met with love and empathy from their parents and teachers. The Love and Logic methodology allows us to embrace each learner’s uniqueness while modeling and expecting appropriate behavior. We also provide regular opportunities for our parents to learn more about how to implement Love and Logic techniques at home. For more information on Love and Logic, click here.

  • Lower School

    Grades K-8

  • MAP Assessment

    Measures of Academic Progress

  • Parent University

    Families are integral partners in a successful learning process. Because we offer a unique learning model, Project-Based Learning (PBL), we want our families to understand the why, what, and how of what we do. We strive for you, our families, to become active participants alongside your children and your school community. Parent University is a series of FREE workshops offered to our families so that they may grow and learn alongside their learners.

  • PBL

    see Project-Based Learning

  • Pedagogy

    The method and practice of best practices in teaching.

  • POL

    see Presentation of Learning

  • Presentation of Learning

    As part of the project-based learning process, learners create and share Presentations of Learning (POL). The POL is an opportunity for learners to showcase and reflect on their own achievement and growth through the completion of the project. POLs are also an opportunity for learners to exhibit their own creativity and design thinking, present the outcome of their efforts, and celebrate their academic successes.

  • Project-Based Learning

    Project-based learning is at the core of what we do. This revolutionary model helps students (learners) gain the valuable collaborative, academic and problem-solving skills our global economy will demand from them. Through the PBL method, learners tackle deeply engaging projects about real-world issues that require critical thought, inquiry, and synthesis. These projects culminate in regular Presentations of Learning (POLs) to their peers, facilitators, community members and parents.

  • Reflective Supervision

    The Reflective Supervision process is an important foundation of the MLN culture. The focus should always be on building a supportive relationship between YOU and each member of your team.

    The Reflective Supervision process comprises several components:

    • The Individualized Learning Plan (ILP) is the driving document in the Reflective Supervision process.
    • Goals: Creating goals with the focus on how you will grow as a professional—this is not focused on the learners or your staff.
    • Check-Ins: Regularly scheduled and uninterrupted time to discuss progress and challenges and receive support.
    • Evidence: Documentation of growth toward each goal.
    • Showcase of Learning: An opportunity for all team members to present their portfolio at the end of the year.
  • Reports of Progress

    Record of academic progress and social-emotional growth sent home to families twice a year.

  • ROP

    see Reports of Progress

  • Rubric

    At Maker Learning Network, we measure the PBL process through an MLN-developed rubric for Academic Rigor and Social-Emotional Learning. The Academic Rigor rubrics include goals based on international learning, leadership, entrepreneurial development, arts, and design. The SEL rubrics were developed based on social-emotional learning approaches and aspects we strongly value, including the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and Character Lab.

  • SAT

    A nationally administered, standardized test offered various times during the year that helps colleges evaluate candidates.

  • SBAC

    Smarter Balanced is a public agency currently supported by 15 states, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Bureau of Indian Education. Through the work of thousands of educators, an online assessment system was created to align with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), as well as tools for educators to improve teaching and learning.

  • School Director

    Leader of the school, very much like a principal at a traditional school.

  • SEL

    Social-Emotional Learning

  • Showcase of Learning

    Usually at the end of the school year. A reflective presentation by the learners about their school year, their challenges, successes, obstacles and growth. Learner showcases are a key experience that allows learners to be acknowledged by their community, allows the community to witness the achievements of the learners, and ensures that we are building a community of accountability.

  • Showcase of Learning Presentation

    A reflective presentation, usually at the end of the school year, by the learners about their challenges, successes, obstacles, and growth throughout the year. Learner showcases are a key experience that allow learners to be acknowledged by their community, allow the community to witness the achievements of the learners, and ensure that we are building a community of accountability.

  • Social-Emotional Learning

    Social-emotional learning (SEL) is the process of developing self-awareness, self-control, and interpersonal skills.

  • Socratic Seminar

    A formal discussion, based on a text, in which the leader asks open-ended questions. Within the context of the discussion, learners listen closely to the comments of others, thinking critically for themselves, and articulate their own thoughts and their responses to the thoughts of others.

  • SSEP

    Student Spaceflight Experiment Program


    Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math

  • Theory of Knowledge

    Theory of knowledge (TOK) is one of the components of the International Baccalaureate® (IB) Diploma Programme (DP). Learners reflect on the nature of knowledge and on how they know what they claim to know. It is central to the educational philosophy of the DP.

  • TOK

    see Theory of Knowledge

  • Tuesdays with TED

    Tuesdays with TED is a thinking and inquiry place for building, sustaining, and supporting community, relationships, reflection, and thinking about big ideas. This is accomplished through the viewing of riveting talks by remarkable people featured on These talks are hosted by a staff member and involve reflective, inquiry-based dialogue. The environment and tone set for the TED Talk experience is a vital part of the process. An emphasis on a warm, inviting, and comfortable environment is the hallmark of the experience.

  • Upper School

    Grades 9-12

  • WASC

    (Western Association of Schools & Colleges)

    WASC is one of six regional accreditation associations in the United States. It recognizes schools that meet an acceptable level of quality, in accordance with established, research based WASC criteria.

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