At PenPal Schools, we have studied a number of different academic standards to ensure that teachers and students can confidently use PenPal Schools to help young scholars learn the information and skills required to succeed in both their primary and secondary education, and in their future careers.
In our Academic Standards Alignment resource, we have identified reading, writing, language, and technology standards that can guide teachers towards targeted learning outcomes while using PenPal Schools.
To most effectively align PenPal Schools to academic standards, consider the following questions:
Identify a set of skills or topics that your students need to develop. Explore the weekly PenPal Schools topic and make sure the weekly article and video can be used to reach the outcomes you chose.
For example, perhaps you want your students to improve their command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking. Each PenPal Schools article not only demonstrates effective usage of English grammar and writing conventions, but students have the chance to practice these conventions with another English speaker.
2. What is your process?
After identifying a learning outcome, plan how your students will get there. Will your students explore the weekly PenPal Schools topic as a whole class, in small groups, or independently? How will you document student work?
If the learning objective is to help students use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others, students might best explore content through a combination of whole group and independent practice. The lesson deliverable may simply be the messages composed right in the PenPal Schools student experience
Many of our most creative PenPal Schools teachers find ways to build on the learning that happens within PenPal Schools courses and weekly topics. If your students are building on their ability to research information presented in diverse media and formats, then help them learn more about where their PenPal lives by taking a trip to the school library, find relevant articles from an online news source, or watch a documentary on youtube.
Download the PenPal Schools Academic Standards Alignment Guide
Through aligning PenPal Schools with academic standards, students using PenPal Schools will engage in critical thinking and skill-based activities that support the development of specific content knowledge and skills. Through this approach, students will not simply develop the ability to reiterating isolated facts from their weekly topics, but instead they will be able to apply their learning to new situations.
With PenPal Schools, your students can cross disciplines and weave together a number of academic skills as they work with their PenPal and classmates to become future ready citizens!