As of July 1, the ILCTE Project has come to a conclusion. 
For questions regarding ILCTE, please contact the Illinois State Board of Education



Professional Teaching and Learning

The lessons that you are viewing, downloading, and implementing in your classes have been developed through a Professional Teaching and Learning Cycle 1 2 approach for the seven Illinois Career and Technical Education Endorsement Areas and related Career Clusters. This endeavor was led by the Illinois Career and Technical Education Innovative Curriculum Resources Project (ILCTE). Each lesson was written by Illinois 6-12 grade Career and Technical Education (CTE) teachers. Funding for ILCTE was made possible through the Carl D. Perkins grant by the Illinois State Board of Education. Each lesson was developed from Wiggins and McTighe’s Backward Design Process 3, as well as the 5E instructional model 4 most notably used in the development of science curricula. While internal to ILCTE, each lesson was developed from 11 Quality Indicators.

  1. Professional Teaching and Learning Cycle (2nd Edition) Southwest Educational Development Laboratory
  2. Learning Cycles: A Powerful Tool for Teacher-to-Teacher Professional Learning. Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning at WestEd
  3. Bowen, Ryan S., (2017). Understanding by Design. Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching.
  4. Summary of the 5E Model
  5. Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy

Illinois Career and Technical Education Endorsement Areas and Related Career Clusters


Illinois CTE Endorsement Area


Related Career Cluster


Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources

  • Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources


 Arts and Communication

  • Arts (Performing and Visual)
  • Audio/Video Technology and Communications


 Finance and Business Services

  • Business Management and Administration Finance
  • Marketing
  • Hospitality and Tourism


 Human and Public Services

  • Law
  • Public Safety
  • Corrections and Security
  • Human Services


 Health Sciences and Technology

  • Health Sciences and Technology


 Information Technology

  • Information Technology


Manufacturing, Engineering, Technology, and Trades

  • Architecture and Construction
  • Manufacturing
  • STEM
  • Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics
  • Energy


The Professional Teaching and Learning Cycle

The professional teaching and learning cycle (PTLC) is a professional development process in which teachers collaboratively plan and implement lessons aligned to their state standards.



Lesson Development Level:

Each lesson is the result of an extensive development process. Each lesson goes through a series of steps, each improving its quality. The level of each lesson can be found at the bottom of the first page of each lesson.


Level 1

The Practical Lesson Writing Guide has been completed resulting in a description of the lesson and its many components.

Level 2

The lesson has been converted to the Professional Lesson Template with some minor revisions and clarifications occurring in the process.

Level 3

The lesson has been prepared for use in the classroom. Resources are available and specific steps/processes have been written.

Level 4

The lesson has been used and revisions made. The Student and Teacher Editions have been written (if appropriate).

Level 5

The lesson has been converted to a final format and is placed on the Bookshelf of the ILCTE project’s website. Comments are encouraged and revisions are on-going.


Each initial lesson posted on the ILCTE website will be labeled as Level 3. A link will be provided for each lesson for teachers to provide additional input on how the lesson can be further improved. ILCTE will take teacher input and make changes to the posted lesson and repost the lesson; this process will move lessons to Level 4. Eventually, each lesson will be placed on a virtual bookshelf. However, ILCTE believes that no lesson can be completely finished without constant updating for relevance and classroom appropriateness, so each lesson deemed a Level 5 will be appropriately changed on a yearly basis through a focused professional teaching and learning cycle by Illinois CTE teachers.


5E Model:

All lessons incorporate the 5E instructional model approach. This instructional approach creates an environment where the student experiences and discovers the content; it is carefully designed and skillfully executed so that students construct an accurate and detailed understanding of the topic being addressed. 





An activity is conducted that attracts student attention to the topic and communicates its importance and relevance.


Students do an activity that allows them to experience and discover the content of the lesson.


From their experience, students explain the content. Teachers use their responses as formative assessment. Misconceptions are addressed through additional questioning or other appropriate means.


The content is applied to a “real life” situation or expanded into some related content.


Student understanding of the content is assessed through various instruments.


How to Teach a 5E Lesson:

The primary difference between a traditional, teacher-centered pedagogy and that of the 5E Model is in the delivery of content. In the traditional model, the teacher describes, presents, addresses, shows, demonstrates, and/or explains all content; the students sit attentively and listen, taking notes so that they remember it in preparation of the test. If time and materials permit, a project may be conducted after the instruction so that students can see “how it works.” The project is done last, if at all.

In the 5E model, students discover the content by experiencing it. The project or activity is used as the vehicle for instruction, not simply the application of it later. Teachers ask questions to guide student thinking, not answer their questions directly. There is no “front-loading” or “pre-teaching.” Students learn the content by doing it, clarify their understanding through questioning, and demonstrate their mastery through proper use of the concepts.

Consideration of the 5E model always prompts the same question: How can you expect students to know something if you do not teach them? From strictly an educational perspective, that is legitimate, but it is not reality. For example, one of the most complex things modern adults learn is how to operate the cell phone; it has its own set of operating instructions and language. Yet there are no books published, no classes taught, or tests given at the store before the proud new owner carries it out. Modern society changes so quickly that we learn how to learn. We figure it out. Our understanding grows through use, not necessarily through lecture. As students encounter new vocabulary, they will learn to look for clues to its definition. As students run into problems, they will learn to find resources for solving them. As students discover new content, they will figure out how it connects to previous knowledge. None of this, however, diminishes the role or importance of the teacher. The teacher is critical to guide the learning process and adjust for the individual learners. The teacher is the expert in pedagogy but no longer the all-knowing master of the content. With proper instructional strategies, the knowledge level of the student can, and probably should, exceed that of the teacher.


Backward Design Process:

Briefly, this process of developing quality lessons is based on three stages: Stage 1: Identify the desired results; Stage 2: Determine acceptable evidence; Stage 3: Plan the learning experiences and instruction. In the first stage of backward design, the teachers consider the goals of the lesson, which comes from content standards and curriculum expectations. In this stage, teachers use the following “filters” to determine whether the overall lesson topic is appropriate by asking:

  • To what extent does the idea, topic, or process represent a “big idea” having enduring value beyond the classroom?
  • To what extent does the idea, topic, or process reside at the heart of the discipline?
  • To what extent does the idea, topic, or process require uncoverage?
  • To what extent does the idea, topic, or process offer potential for engaging students? 

The second stage of the lesson development process is for teachers to think like assessors by determining the formative and summative assessments that will be used in the lesson. Teachers develop the assessment instruments by asking, “What should students know and be able to do?” What will I as the teacher accept as evidence? During the final stage of this process, teachers develop the enabling knowledge and skills students need to perform effectively and achieve desired results – the lesson plan.

 Additional Resources: 

Illinois State Board of Education Career Guide

ILCTE Lesson Development Process
One-page handout on the process ILCTE used in the development of each lesson.

Professional Learning Through the Development of Innovative Curriculum
This infographic provides the logic behind the professional teaching and learning decision-making of an ILCTE lesson.

Converting a CTE Face-to-Face Lesson to Remote/Online: Professional Teaching and Learning Practices, Findings, and Recommendations (Outcomes of June 2020)

Practical Lesson Writing Guide
This lesson writing guide was developed by ILCTE to capture what an innovative lesson should contain.

How to Teach a 5E Lesson
One-page handout on instructional strategies to teach a 5E-based lesson.

ILCTE Professional Teaching and Learning Sample Agenda (face-to-face)

ILCE Professional Teaching and Learning Sample Agenda (online)

Career Ready Practices

Career ready practices consist of the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that are important in becoming career ready. (Source:

Common Core Technical Core
The Common Career Technical Core (CCTC) is an important step forward for the Career Technical Education (CTE) community. For the first time in the history of CTE, states throughout the nation have a common benchmark for what students should know and be able to do after completing a program of study.

The CCTC is a state-led initiative, with 42 states, the District of Columbia and Palau participating in the development stage.

Business and industry representatives, educators and others helped guide the development of the CCTC from beginning to end to ensure CTE students will have the knowledge and skills to thrive in a global economy. The resulting CCTC is a set of rigorous, high-quality standards for CTE that states can adopt voluntarily. The CCTC includes a set of standards for each of the 16 Career Clusters® and their corresponding Career Pathways that define what students should know and be able to do after completing instruction in a program of study (pages 4-21 of this document).

The CCTC also includes an overarching set of Career Ready Practices that apply to all programs of study. The Career Ready Practices include 12 statements that address the knowledge, skills and dispositions that are important to becoming career ready (pages 2-3 of this document). (Source:

Endorsements: Creating Paths from High School to Effective College and Career Experiences
Two-page journal article that focuses on Illinois’ College and Career Pathway Endorsements. (Source: Education Systems Center)

Learning Cycles: A Powerful Tool for Teacher-to-Teacher Professional Learning
Six-page journal article focused on teacher-to-teacher professional learning. (Source: Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning at WestEd)

Illinois Essential Employability Skills: Framework and Self-Assessment
The Illinois Essential Employability Skills Framework is designed to define and clarify the essential employability skills and provide a standard for the state. Essential employability skills are those general skills that are required to be successful in all sectors of the labor market and are separate from the technical skills attained in career pathways or academic skills such as math and reading. The framework was developed through the collaboration of the Illinois Community College Board; the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity; representatives of Illinois businesses; local chambers of commerce; secondary, postsecondary and adult educators and professionals; and other important stakeholders. (Source: Illinois Community College Board)