promised you no lesson plans, here are some general ideas you
might think about incorporating into your classroom activities to maximise
the potential to "Make a Difference". Our thanks to Roger
Holdsworth for these. The reference numbers for Connect refer to issues
where there are detailed examples of this type of approach.
Train students to mediate in disputes around the school and community.
While we can get distressed at seeing full scale war on our television
screens, we sometimes forget the "mini wars" that take place in front
of us every day.
Where students are trained to mediate in the problems of others, you
also equip them with the skills to deal with their own disputes.
(Connect #71, #75, #99)
Set up a buddy system where older students act as direct support to
younger students in the community. This can be part of the formal
It recognises that there is more to school than learning heaps of
facts and that a good grasp of interpersonal skills is important for
making a difference. The development of these links can create a better
sense of community especially in schools as they get a little larger.
(Connect #71, #99)
Organise for students to spend some time in the community providing
support for younger or older generations. Students could work in nursing
homes, community centres, child care centres.
While students give up some of their time, they can also use the facilities
in the centre as the basis of some of their work. For example, older
people could help the student with the development of an oral history.
Younger children could give feedback in the writing of a story for
their language class. (Connect
#36, #56, #101)
This could take place within the school, or even better, could involve
students from a number of school. Students could discuss, debate and
develop suggestions to act on issues effecting young people.
Students should undertake the whole project planning exercise themselves
- from developing a time line, to identifying the resources needed
for such a day, organising the equipment and resources and running
the day. They should follow through with appropriate action themselves
- or identify and organisation to present these results to. (Connect
#110, #112, #114)
Undertake local scientific and environmental studies to examine and
report on the state of the local physical environment. These can be
carried out together with local or state wide groups. Students can
also participate in international studies on topics such as water
pollution, or destruction of the ozone layer. The I*EARN organisation
has set up on-line conferences to support and share the results of
this research. (Connect #65/6)
Facilities and Environment:
A range of school subjects can be focused on the development of
local facilities. Students could use social science skills to design
a survey on student needs as well as collecting data and evaluating
On the basis of the needs outlined, they could then design a resource,
investigate the cost and implement the project. Particular subjects
could focus on developing the required skills. Where students have
contributed to things they see as valuable the resource is better
Use research into a range of areas as the basis for some sort of action.
An investigation into a country in Africa could also look at some
of the realities of life in these areas. Students could organise some
sort of action. A number of examples of projects where students are
making a real difference can be seen at Lightspan.com.
Do something with the results of your research!