7 Ways to Engage Students in Their Communities
Engage students by applying classroom content to solving issues in their immediate communities and the larger world. Write us at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional examples in your subject and grade, and we will share them on our blog.
1. Tell Community Stories Through Podcasts (high/language arts/social studies)
In Reading & Writing in the Disciplines, "Writing for New Media," students create podcasts about issues and stories from their school community while learning effective journalistic practice. They develop interview, research, writing, and technological skills.
2. Beautify an Empty School Space (high/arts/social studies)
One activity in The Art of Teaching the Arts, "Making the Most of Community Resources," shows a visual art teacher and her students working with community members to create a sculpture garden in an empty courtyard at their school.
3. Examine Effectiveness of Waste Collection (high/science/art/math)
In the "Garbage: The Science and Problem of What We Throw Away" activity from Essential Lens, students collect data from photographic evidence of community waste and compare this data with EPA standards for reducing and recycling discarded materials.
4. Protect the Community From HIV and Address Social Prejudices (high/middle/science)
As part of a longer unit on HIV and social justice, students teach their peers about the epidemic and examine claims made in articles about the disease. Reading & Writing in the Disciplines, "Peer Teaching," also describes the class activities before and after the lesson in the video.
5. Prepare a School Improvement Budget (elementary/social studies/math)
Students learn about cooperation, community participation, budget, and planning when their teacher involves them in a project to remodel their school. The district superintendent meets with students to answer questions. This lesson is from Social Studies in Action, "Caring for the Community."
6. Determine Ways to Save Endangered Species (elementary/math/science)
First- and second-graders apply statistical probability and sampling techniques to their study of the habitat of an endangered woodpecker and simulate factors that might harm or help the birds in Teaching Math Library, K-4, program 29, "Woodpecker Habitat."
7. Identify Civil Servants in Our Communities (elementary/world languages)
Elementary Arabic students identify civil servants and their roles in their communities while practicing the alphabet and language in Teaching Foreign Languages Library, "Arabic: People Who Help Us." The lesson is subtitled and adaptable to other language classrooms.
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