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Turning Learning into Action

Starting a Community Action Plan

Elementary, Middle, Secondary

Description

The purpose of this resource is to use global goals as a catalyst to enable students to define a local community problem they would like to solve and to begin by creating a plan of action.
In this activity, students will:
• by the community walker, better understand their community and learn more about it
• map their community
• examine cause and effect relationships in a community interview
• Define a significant problem for the development of a change project
• exercise critical thinking to find a solution to their community problem
By doing this lesson, students will be able to identify solutions to determine how we can leverage our understanding of global goals to improve our community.

The purpose of this resource is to use the global goals as a catalyst to enable students to define a local community problem they would like to solve and to begin by creating a plan of action.

In this activity, students will:

  • by doing a community walk, better understand their community and learn more about it 
  • map their community
  • examine cause and effect relationships in a community interview
  • define a significant problem for the development of a change project
  • exercise critical thinking to find a solution to their community problem

By doing this lesson, students will be able to identify solutions to determine how we can leverage our understanding of global goals to improve our community.

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

Students will learn how to produce a map of their community. In addition, they will learn how to do an interview with someone who can help them with their project. Students will also design and implement a plan to improve a problem in their community. 

Strengths

  • The resource as well as the videos are available in both official languages.
  • Several extra resources are available in the lesson for teachers.
  • If the temperature is not suitable for the suggested walk, guided meditation is available to help students achieve the same goal.
  • In appendix, we find all the cards reproductions necessary to do the activities.
  • This resource has a teacher's guide that includes a full explanation of all the activities requested as well as questions for students to ask.
  • Students will have to go outside the classroom to determine the global problems of their own community.
  • The videos provided to support the subject are of levels and qualities.

Weaknesses

  • Evaluation tools are not included in this resource
  • The solutions to the problem are not transmitted to the community

Recommendation of how and where to use it

Since this resource has a very open action project, depending on what students decide to do, it could encompass any subject area. The project can also be very useful to cover English Language Arts outcomes on its own or in a cross-curricular project.

Relevant Curriculum Units

The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.

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  • Alberta
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        • Active citizenship contributes to the vitality of communities that can promote pluralism among diverse people in a democratic society
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        • Comprehend & Respond
        • Comprehension: Text comprehension is supported through applying varied strategies and processes, and considering both particular contexts and universal themes.
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        • Citizenship 9: Global Citizenship
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        • Connecting With the World: Global Connections
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        • Celebrate and Build Community
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        • Access and Explore
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        • Plan and Focus
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        • Global Inequalities: Economic Development and Quality of Life
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        • Reads and listens to written, spoken and media texts
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  • Saskatchewan

Themes Addressed

  • Citizenship (2)

    • Community-Building and Participation
    • General Guide to Taking Action

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Very Good

Since students have to visit their own community to discover a problem, they form their own opinions and take an informed position. In addition, they must choose an action plan to begin in their community that comes from their class' ideas.

Consideration of Alternative Perspectives:
  • Satisfactory: absence of bias towards any one point of view
  • Good: students consider different points of view regarding issues, problems discussed
  • Very good: based on the consideration of different views, students form opinions and  take an informed position
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions Very Good

Since the problem to be studied and the action plan is the students' choice and they come from a real community problem, it could be of environmental, economic or social dimensions.

Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:

Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

  • Satisfactory: resource supports the examination of  these dimensions
  • Good:  resource explicitly examines the interplay of these dimensions
  • Very Good:  a systems-thinking approach is encouraged to examine these three dimensions
Respects Complexity Very Good
Respects Complexity:

The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.

Acting on Learning Very Good

Students will take a walk in their community to observe a community problem. They then choose an action plan to help with the problem.

Acting on Learning:

Learning moves from understanding  issues  to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community,  or for the planet

  • Satisfactory: action opportunities are included as extensions 
  • Good: action opportunities are core components of the resource
  • Very Good: action opportunities for students are well supported and intended to result in observable, positive change
Values Education Very Good

Several questions of reflection are asked to students throughout the resource. 

Values Education:

Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.

Empathy & Respect for Humans Poor/Not considered

Not considered in this resource

Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).
Personal Affinity with Earth Good

The resource focuses on a walk in the student's community.

Personal Affinity with Earth:

Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.  

  • Satisfactory: connection is made to the natural world
  • Good: fosters appreciation/concern for the natural world
  • Very Good: fosters stewardship though practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors 
Locally-Focused Learning Very Good

Everything happens in the student's community, the student has to find a problem in his community through a walk, interview someone in the community for more details and advice, and then an action plan that he will have to start in his community.

Locally-Focused Learning:

Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community. 

  • Satisfactory: learning is made relevant to the lives of the learners
  • Good: learning is made relevant and has a local focus
  • Very Good: learning is made relevant, local and takes place ‘outside’ , in the community 
Past, Present & Future Very Good

Since students must find a problem in the community, they must look at the present. In addition, they must focus on the future since they must make an action plan and put it in place.

Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.

Pedagogical Approaches

Principle Rating Explanation
Open-Ended Instruction Very Good

Students are encouraged to develop and share their opinions during class discussions or as reflection questions. Students also choose the problem to study and the action plan to put in place. 

Open-Ended Instruction :

Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.

Integrated Learning Very Good

This resource responds to the content and skills of several subjects that will be clearer once students determine the problem to study.

Integrated Learning:

Learning brings together content and skills  from more than one  subject area

  • Satisfactory: content from a number of different  subject areas is readily identifiable
  • Good:  resource is appropriate for use in more than one subject area
  • Very Good:  the lines between subjects are blurred 
Inquiry Learning Very Good

Students themselves determine the problem to study. They ask questions of people who can help them and take responsibility for solving the problem through an action plan.

Inquiry Learning:

Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.   

  • Satisfactory: Students are provided with questions/problems to solve and some direction on how to arrive at solutions.
  • Good: students, assisted by the teacher clarify the question(s) to ask and the process to follow to arrive at solutions.  Sometimes referred to as Guided Inquiry
  • Very Good:  students generate the questions and assume much of the responsibility for how to solve them.  . Sometimes referred to as self-directed learning.

 

Differentiated Instruction Good

The variety of activities of this resource makes it a great fit for the needs of visual, auditory and kinesthetic learners. On the other hand, there are strategies for learners with difficulties.

Differentiated Instruction:

Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.

  • Satisfactory:  includes a variety of instructional approaches
  • Good: addresses  the needs of visual, auditory &  kinesthetic learners
  • Very Good: also includes strategies for learners with difficulties
Experiential Learning Very Good

Students must make a community map based on their community walk.

Experiential Learning:

Authentic learning experiences are provided

  • Satisfactory: learning takes place through ‘hands-on’ experience or simulation
  • Good: learning involves direct experience in a ‘real world context’
  • Very good: learning involves ‘real world experiences’ taking place’ beyond the school walls.
Cooperative Learning Good

In order to solve the problem, students must work together to find solutions and put them into action.

Cooperative Learning:

Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.

  • Satisfactory:  students work in groups
  • Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught and practiced
  • Very Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught, practiced and assessed
Assessment & Evaluation Satisfactory

Although no assessment tool is available, a large number of reflection questions are asked and could be used to assess student learning on the subject.

Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.
Peer Teaching Satisfactory

Unintentional teaching occurs throughout the lesson, but it would be easy to ask students to present their work and solution to the community.

Peer Teaching:

Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.

  • Satisfactory: incidental teaching that arises from cooperative learning, presentations, etc.
  • Good or Very Good: an opportunity is intentionally created to empower students to teach other students/community members. The audience is somehow reliant on the students' teaching (students are not simply ‘presenting')
Case Studies Poor/Not considered

The action plan is using a real current problem of their own community.

Case Studies:

Relevant case studies are included.  Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore  concepts in an authentic context.

Locus of Control Very Good

Students themselves choose the problem to study and explore more deeply. They also choose how they want to help solve the problem.

Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.