The following is a lesson plan designed to help students and teachers bring democratic education practices into your schools and classrooms. The activity was designed for IDEA by Ammerah Saidi, an urban public school teacher from Detroit, Michigan. You can also download this lesson plan by clicking the "Word doc" link below.
Author: Ammerah Saidi
Objective: To help outline starting actions towards establishing more meaningful learning and democratic practices within one's school
Grade Level: 5-12
1. Ask students to take 5-10 minutes to write a flashback narrative of one of their best learning experiences in school. To help them think about an experience, stress that such a memory will be vivid - they'll remember names of people involved or the exact location in school it took place. They may have even kept a product of the experience (a photo, an essay, a posterboard).
2. Have them share out.
3. Ask students to question why this educational experience stuck with them. What did they learn? What made it different than other experiences they've had?
4. Next, have students watch the following video on democratic education: http://www.youtube.com/goodideafolks.
5. Discussion: After watching the video, have students consider how their experiences were exemplified in the video or were not. Were their memorable educational experiences reflected in the video?
6. Ask the class to brainstorm out ideas of how to take practices in their narratives and the video and implement them in their classroom or school for the next 3 days. This may include going outdoors and finding leaves or plants and naming them and categorizing them for a science lesson. Or this may include creating treasure maps around the school using math concepts (take 5 x 3 steps towards the flagpole from the front door). Or it may include suggestions to increase choice and shared decision-making in the classroom or school.
7. Allow students to formalize these suggestions in a letter to you, the teacher. Then you and the class discuss and decide together which 3 suggestions to implement for the next 3 days. Challenge yourself to expand beyond your comfort zone.
Lesson plan designed for IDEA: Institute for Democratic Education in America, by Ammerah Saidi, an urban public school teacher from Detroit, Michigan.