Making community to classroom
tool: Making the Connections Plan
Purpose of this Tool:
After you and your colleagues identify and visit the various organizations,
work together to generate ideas on how you can connect the organizations
to your curriculum. The Making the Connections Plan will help you organize
How to Use this Tool:
Read over the brief descriptions of community/classroom curricular connections.
Visit the Internet websites and/or read the articles and books listed
below. Then, use the Making the Connections Plan to create your own community/classroom
curricular connections. (Note: Once you have created your plans, you can
use the Analyzing
Student Work tools to assess how the community-based curricular projects
you created contributed to students’ learning.)
Community and Classroom Curricular
Teachers and youth workers from around
the country developed the following projects. Each addressed state and
local learning standards as they provided students opportunities to learn
from and contribute to their communities in powerful ways:
- A high school civics class worked
with a local youth organization to engage students in civic leadership.
One of the projects involved students researching and mobilizing funds
to build a skate park for local youth.
- A middle school science class
worked with a
local wetlands preserve and the state environmental resources department
to conduct research and become custodians of the wetlands. Students
met science learning standards as they monitored water quality, planted
trees to halt coastal erosion and presented their research to groups
throughout their community.
- A middle school class worked
with a local Boys and Girls Club to produce an oral history project.
Students visited and interviewed senior citizens throughout their community.
They created a book and a video based on the project that they presented
to audiences throughout the community.
- A high school English class worked
with a local
shelter for victims of domestic violence to research, write and create
a video about dating violence. Students presented the video at high
schools in their city, led discussions and provided peers with information
on how to prevent dating violence and how to get help if they experienced
- A third grade class organized
a Young Authors’ Conference for youth in their community. They
invited and organized professional authors and storytellers to provide
workshops and entertainment.
- Two sixth-grade classes curated
a cross-cultural art exhibit focused on the theme of “identity”
at the city’s art museum. They contacted local artists, researched
artwork, selected pieces, designed the exhibit and wrote the wall text
and object labels.
- When Cincinnati proposed building
a new bridge across the Ohio River, elementary students conducted community
surveys, background research on bridges and the city’s history,
and used computer-based geometry simulations to review the geometry
of bridges and create models. Students also used video cameras to monitor
rush-hour traffic and compile statistics on bridge traffic in the city.
They used the research and statistics to create a report that they submitted
to city officials.
For samples and resources of curriculum projects that connect the classroom
and the community, check out the following Internet websites, articles
NEA Foundation for the Improvement of Education www.nfie.org/publications/connecting.htm
National Service-Learning Clearinghouse http://www.servicelearning.org
When, Where, What and How Youth Learn:
Blurring School and Community Boundaries: new Directions for Youth Development
Karen J. Pittman, Nicole Yohalem, & Joel Tolman, Editors, (2003),
Indianapolis, IN: Jossey-Bass.
Milbrey McLaughlin (2001). Community
Counts, Educational Leadership, 58, 7, pp.14-18.
Shirley Brice Heath & Milbrey
McLaughlin (1994). The Best of Both Worlds: Connecting Schools and Community
Youth Organizations for All-Day, All-Year Learning. Educational Administration
Quarterly, 30, 3, pp. 278-300.