5 Reasons to Integrate Current Events into your Curriculum
High school current events in the classroom, or at any age and in any place for that matter, are not only essential for 21st century learners, but they bring an important component of experiential learning to life.
Applying current events to your learning curriculum adds real-world context to learning, making the experiences deeper and more meaningful to students.
"I would love to start self-directed project-based learning, but I'm a beginner and I'm feeling really uncertain and overwhelmed by the learning curve". I get this comment in my inbox quite often and my response is always that you have to start self-directed project-based learning somewhere. You might as well start now and with a few tricks of the trade in your back pocket.
I am never the most tech savvy person in the room. There is so much out there and it's always evolving. It's tough to know where to start and just when I feel I've gotten it, everything changes. Education technology can be intimidating and time-consuming to learn. Time isn't something teachers have in abundance.
I have been involved in educational travel for over a decade - traveling myself, coordinating our high school's travel program, and now building resources for and offering tips to homeschool traveling families, summer high school travel programs, school travel programs, youth groups, and more. This passion and love for learning through travel started in Costa Rica.
What is personalized teaching?
In short, personalized teaching is offering personal learning / customized learning opportunities for each student. Learning experiences are based around every students' unique background, interests, strengths, challenges, goals, and more.
If you were to ask me, "how can I make my summer school session fun and engaging?" (and not just fun and engaging for the kids), I would say, "make personalized, self-directed project-based learning the foundation of the session".
It doesn't matter what subject you teach, if you're a classroom teacher or a home educator, if you're a rural or urban educator. My answer would be the same across the board. No question.
End of the School Year Experiential Learning Activities
The end of the school year is among us, and everyone is tired. You're tired, your students are tired. Testing season is wrapping up, some students are studying for finals or wrapping up big projects. Others are helping prepare for end of the school year events such as prom or graduation. Let's face it. It's a lot. Implementing experiential learning activities in your classroom may be the answer you're looking for.
So why not let down your hair a bit and let your students have some fun and learn something at the same time? I've compiled a list of my student's favorite experiential learning activities to do at the end of the year.
Spring is the perfect time of year for citizen science! It's warming up outside, students are getting antsy and exhausted, testing is underway, breaks are badly needed. On top of that, things start to get active in the world of wildlife, especially in temperate regions like Minnesota. Animals emerge from hibernation, migrating species begin their long journeys to their summer sanctuaries, and it's breeding season for many organisms.
Has anyone else binge-watched "Down to Earth" on Netflix? If you haven't, do it! Down to Earth is a 5 star example of project based learning on the road and/or abroad.
Zach Efron (yes, I know), travels around the world focusing his energy on ONE global issue. For example, he visits Paris, where he dives deeply into the issue of clean and healthy drinking water. He talks with engineers, city planners, and local political figures. He talks with locals and visits a water treatment facility.
I have been a high school experiential educator for over a decade, and my dominant approach has been self-directed project-based learning. Students design and execute their projects from start to finish with my guidance.
I didn't choose personalized project-based learning when I first started teaching. In fact, I didn't even know what it was. But the school where I taught insisted on it, and for good reason. PBL is a deep and powerful learning tool, especially when self-directed.
But it's not perfect. That is the reality.
To provide innovative educational resources for educators, parents, and students, that go beyond lecture and worksheets.
Sara Segar, experiential life-science educator and advisor, curriculum writer, and mother of two.