Future Ready Movement in GPAEA Schools – Spotlight on Davis County

Laura Williams, 21C Learning Specialist

With the role out of the new Iowa Clearinghouse for WBL, more and more schools are wondering how and when to place authentic projects into the classroom. 

Spotlight on Davis County 

This year, Davis County CSD took the plunge. Teams of passionate educators attended the second Authentic Learning & WBL Immersion training this year and from this experience, they were equipped with ideas and tools to help support creating future ready opportunities for their students.

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During the training, the team explored a potential project idea that would fit many of their social studies and english standards at the middle school. The project explored was called “Why our Town?” Why our town is a project idea where area businesses, economic development, and/or chambers of commerce say yes to working with area students to develop media and content to help showcase their communities. These short videos, once approved, can then be used on community websites and social media, truly making this project authentic. This creates a win-win for students and area businesses! Students develop 21st Century skills, are able to make relevant connections to curriculum, explore potential careers, and area businesses are able to showcase their services and potentially contribute to building future employees.

To learn more about what this project entails from both the student and teacher perspective, this video (below) showcases Chelsea Dearborn’s 8th Grade English class. 

Contact Chelsea at chelsea.dearborn@dcmustangs.com

Not only did this project seem to fit curricular needs in English class but there were some obvious connections to the 7th grade Social Studies curriculum as well. “Here is one example of one of our PBL projects that were created by 7th grade. This was a promotional video to attract families to SE Iowa for economic development.  We have had several CEOs speak to classes about vocational opportunities and the groups were able to select from a list of several that they have heard from.  They then thought about things that would attract families to this area in order to develop a promotional video for SE Iowa.” 

-Josh Husted, 7th Grade Social Studies  (Josh.Husted@dcmustangs.com)

But Davis County didn’t stop there, they pulled together a group of teachers to think about what authentic learning experiences and community connections could look like for early learners and elementary students.

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Amazing ideas such as preschoolers meal planning and creating a take a bake meal for their families, thinking through city expansion and ideas to build and promote Davis County via the city planners project with 4th grade, and incorporating local experts in the use of dramatic play centers in Kindergarten. 

Great work Davis County! 

To learn more about Authentic Learning Opportunities for your students or training to support this kind of learning, please contact laura.williams@gpaea.org or visit https://www.gpaea.org/services/iowaaln.

Current Offerings: 

  • Agile for Education: A Scrum Play by Play  
  • Authentic Learning & WBL Immersion Training 

Save the Dates: 

  • Authentic Learning Network Student Expo – Ottumwa GPAEA April 8th 
  • Authentic Learning Network Student Expo – Burlington GPAEA April 22nd 

*All schools are invited to bring students who have been working on authentic projects with area partnerships to showcase their project, network, and share their experiences at this event! For more information, contact laura.williams@gpaea.org

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