Lesson Plan Guide: School versus the working world

By Matt Andrews on July 17, 2014

TITLE: School versus the working world

GRADES: 9-12

CONTENT AREAS: Homeroom, Advisory, English, Social Studies, FACS, Health, AVID

 

GOALS:

Facilitate each student’s critical thinking about school, learning, and whatever they consider the real world when they grow up

STANDARDS ADDRESSED:

C:C2.1 Demonstrate how interests, abilities and achievement relate to achieving personal, social, educational and career goals

PRIOR KNOWLEDGE:

Instructors may want to contact an elementary school teacher who may like to receive student letters of advice. Some instructors use this lesson within a larger youth mentor program. No prior knowledge is necessary, but it motivates students to have a real class for the letter in Part C.

MATERIALS:

Paper with letterhead or lined paper to write letters

LESSON OVERVIEW:

This lesson directs student attention toward lifelong learning that includes formal school, free time, and career preparation. There are three parts to the lesson:

1. Part A asks students to read the article and “Show what they know” exercise to improve comprehension and critical thinking.

2. Part B asks students to find exceptions to each one of the author’s points.

3. Part C asks students to write a letter to elementary school students about the difference between school, learning, and real life.

ASSESSMENT:

The letters to elementary students are filled with more meaning when each student writes a letter to a real person. Part C is time to introduce a real letter writing effort. Each student must write advice to a younger student on how to handle school, learning, and prepare for real life.

Letters need to be read before being sent to elementary teachers. The advice given can reveal misinformation and general levels of common sense among students.

 

LESSON PROCEDURE:

Part A – Show what you know (10 minutes)

Explain to students that they will “show what they know” on their own articles while the group reads aloud.

Give students the article that compares school and learning with the real world (Related articles). Ask:

• “What is the difference between school, learning, and the real world?”

• Motivate students to wonder about the differences, and introduce the article.

“Show what you know” is a way for each student to self-evaluate their own knowledge about school and lifelong learning.

• Instruct students to circle the facts presented by the author that they already know.

 

While the group reads, write additional facts into a description between school, learning, and the real world.

Lead the group through a read aloud of the article.

• Many instructors prefer to read it aloud themselves and pause after each of the seven points to allow students time to circle what they know, and write more about what they understand as differences between school, learning, and the real world. No absolute facts are provided, only the author’s opinion.

Emphasize that students need to either agree with the facts presented or find some sort of problem in the author’s reasoning.

• Students write on the article all the other pieces of information they already know and consider to be preparation for the real world.

 

Part B – Find exceptions to the rule for each difference (10 minutes)

The first part requires students to “show what they know,” and this group activity encourages critical thinking. Challenge students to find exceptions to the author’s points and focus attention in general on learning.

1. What kinds of jobs have defined projects to complete?

Sample answers: Truck driver, movie producer, etc.

2. What always needs to be prioritized in life? Are there a few priorities you will always have?

Common answers are family, religion, and doing your best

3. How are your skills being tested in the real world today?

Answers will vary

4. What kinds of things in life do not require a group project?

“Going to the Bathroom!” as an answer adds humor

5. Do you think high school, college, or work life allows the most free time?

What jobs have more or less free time than others?

Students should understand the difference between hourly shift work, salary positions, and partners in a firm

6. What jobs do not have 9-5 schedules?

Sample answers: night shift, fireman, police

7. Will college lead to a higher paying job?

Every student must focus attention on learning rather than just doing school to do it. School is only as good as the amount a student engages in learning. A higher paying job is only part of the consideration, but this question gives students something to think about for the long term of learning.

Lead this thinking about the future into a thought about how difficult it is to give and receive advice. Ask:

• Overall, is the author correct about differences between school, learning, and the real world?

• What would you tell younger students about the differences?

 

Part C – Letters of Advice (10 minutes)

Hand out Reproducible B and paper to students and instruct them to write a short letter of advice to a younger student.

Write advice to a younger student who will attend high school for the first time.

• What tips and advice do you give him/her?

• What is different between elementary and high school?

• Be sure to inform him/her of the difference between school, learning, and the real world.

• To the best of your ability, explain to this new student what he/she needs to know about learning for the real world.

Answers will vary considerably. The assignment becomes infused with more meaning when real elementary students receive the letters. Encourage students to talk about the real world and hand the letters into instructor before the end of lesson.

 

REPRODUCIBLE B

 

Write advice to a younger student who will attend high school for the first time.

• What tips and advice do you give him/her?

 

• What is different between elementary and high school?

 

• Be sure to inform him/her of the difference between school, learning, and the real world.

 

• To the best of your ability, explain to this new student what he/she needs to know about learning for the real world.


About the Author

Matt Andrews

Matt Andrews

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