This teacher’s guide was developed in response to the numerous requests from teachers for a more practical guide to assist them in integrating PA into their classrooms.
This guide is not a curriculum with required objectives and step-by-step lessons, but rather a general framework of ideas, lessons and strategies for you to adapt to your specific needs. While each and every PA project is unique, projects tend to follow a general pattern that has been laid out in the Six Stages. The stages provide a scaffold on which to organize a PA project and progress linearly from the start until the finish of a project.
Throughout this guide there are links to lessons, activities, worksheets, forms, and handouts to integrate PA into your classroom. These documents are also meant to assist in merging project outcomes with learning and performance assessment. The lessons provided can be adapted for various age levels and to focus on certain subject matter learning objectives.
A particularly important issue for teachers is how to align district and state standards of student learning with PA projects. This involves balancing assessment requirements while maintaining student ownership of projects. The third section of the guide provides a simple, adaptable model of how Public Achievement can be crafted to meet standards of student learning. PA can be an effective and engaging tool to address required standards while providing students with meaningful learning opportunities, broadening their idea of the “classroom.”
Different Models for PA in the Classroom
These pages are designed to help you incorporate PA in your classroom in a number of different ways. Three principle models are:
- PA as a “stand-alone” program in a self-contained classroom. The teacher acts as coach for a single or multiple groups. Teachers may choose to use this model in one subject area or across the curriculum. Teachers may find that they will want the entire class to work on one project in order to provide desired learning opportunities, or they may allow groups of individual students to select an interest-focus, either wide-open or tied into a particular content/skill area.
- To supplement a PA program in your school or classroom that uses outside coaches. The “classic model” for PA is with outside coaches (undergraduates or community volunteers) who work with PA teams once per week. This guide can help you assist this work by constructing supplemental activities to support the work of coaches or as a way to create a multi-day per week curriculum that includes the use of outside coaches.
- To pick and choose the resources, strategies, and individual lessons to integrate with your already existing curricula. You may want to use single lessons, mini-units, or PA techniques to compliment your teaching in subjects such as social studies, language arts, science, and arts.
TO MAKE THE MOST OF THIS GUIDE WE SUGGEST THAT YOU:
- Familiarize yourself with the core elements and basic process of PA by reading through the Web-guide and exploring the PA web-site.
- Identify standards and objectives to focus on in PA and develop an assessment plan (See Six Stages. One of the problems many teachers encounter when thinking about Public Achievement is how to align state and district standards, PA projects and assessment while maintaining student ownership. The second section of the teacher’s guide, Joining Public Achievement to the Curriculum, provides a model to align PA and standards of student learning.
- Select lessons from the 6 Stages of PA and the lessons and activities section. The 6 Stages of PA presents a chronological framework outlining students projects from start to finish. This should give you an idea of how to organize student projects over time. Example lessons and exercises are meant to assist you in merging project outcomes with learning assessment and performance needs. It is important to note that PA does not strictly follow this order. Many of the stages are present throughout – for instance, students will take action long before they determine their project.
- Work with students to design how PA is implemented and assessed.