Portfolio Entry #3: Best Unit

The goal of the portfolio is threefold: to document some of the work I did this past year, to take the time to reflect and learn, and to share with the larger community I am lucky to have through this blog.  I will be posting a portfolio entry a day until it’s done.  There are eight entries, one for each year of my career thus far.  Questions, comments, and thoughts are always greatly appreciated, but are even more so for this.  Previous entries are here.

In hindsight, there’s only one unit I taught I would be willing to hand to another teacher.  It’s not that the others weren’t good, but all my government units ended up responding to events at the time, and my economics units were okay units I took from established curriculum, since my background in economics is not strong.

That is not to undersell my Project Citizenship Unit, as it is one of the best I have taught in my career. It had all the hallmarks of my greatest units: students learned and applied a new skill set (researching), were able to choose from a range of topics that interested in them (any public policy that affects them), had a structured project to guide their inquiry (a persuasive speech and Project Citizen), all ending in a public showcase of their work (Citizenship Night).  While this was not dissimilar to the History Day units I have done over the years, I think adding a deliverable halfway through the process, the persuasive speech, really took the development of students’ skills within the unit to a new level than in earlier years, since they got formal feedback doing research once, and then immediately had to use that skill set again.

The one area where this unit could have been greatly improved was in preparing students for the last part of Project Citizenship: writing an action plan to carry out their proposed policy change.  I didn’t do anything to really prepare students for this, other than teaching them in earlier units how government works.  Looking at some case studies and theories of action, even if for a day or two, would have paid great dividends (thanks, Critical Friend Andy, for pointing that out).

Project Citizen Unit Plan

Project Citizen Curricular Materials

Next Entry: Reflection on Goals