Athens City Schools prepares to implement new learning style for K-3 grade students

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ATHENS, Ala. – Some big changes are coming to Athens City Schools next year.

Teachers district-wide will be implementing a new teaching style for kindergarten through third-grade students.

It’s called project-based learning and this district is one of, if not the only, district in northeast Alabama doing this for all K-3 students.

A representative from the Buck Institute is training teachers to implement project-based learning.

“It’s a style of teaching that gives students an opportunity to practice real-world skills,” said Buck Institute National Faculty member Erin Gannon. “So, rather than learn a bunch of content and then show their understanding at the end, they are using their skills and their knowledge to do something or create something.”

Teachers at Cowart Elementary are coming up with this lesson plan.

“Our unit is about healthy habits,” teacher Jackie Richardson said.

These teachers say it’s a real-life example of how to use standards students are taught in school.

“We’re hoping our students will be able to create a menu that would be healthy for themselves and their families,” Richardson said.

The lessons will focus on collaboration and critical thinking.

“They have to be able to write information about a given topic,” Richardson said. “They will have to be able to apply the skills that they’ve learned.”

What these teachers are learning isn’t theoretical. The units that they’re building in this training will actually be implemented next year in the classroom. District officials say they are making this change to prepare students for the world that lies ahead.

“Our district is making an effort to be very student-centered and prepare graduates for the future that’s ahead of them, not the one they know right now,” Athens City Schools elementary curriculum coordinator Amy Williams said.

Because in this fast-paced world they want to provide this new approach to help students stay ahead.

The Athens City Schools district is planning to implement project-based learning for fourth and fifth graders during the 2019-2020 school year.


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