K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

LEARN NC was a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education from 1997 – 2013. It provided lesson plans, professional development, and innovative web resources to support teachers, build community, and improve K-12 education in North Carolina. Learn NC is no longer supported by the School of Education – this is a historical archive of their website.

Melissa joined LEARN NC as Education Resource Coordinator in August 2000, working to identify and catalog great web resources and develop innovative instructional materials. Becoming Executive Director in 2008, Melissa oversaw all areas of the LEARN NC program, including publications, professional development, online learning, and instructional technology.

Before joining LEARN, Melissa was a Media Coordinator at W. G. Enloe Gifted and Talented International Baccalaureate High School in Raleigh, N.C. Her experience as a librarian has included university, public, literacy, and school programs. Her master’s degree in Library and Information Science is from the University of South Florida, Tampa, and her undergraduate degree in Economics is from Colby College, Waterville, Maine. She is currently a PhD-seeking student in Public Administration at North Carolina State University, focusing her study on educational policy and public management.

Resources created by Melissa Thibault

Alternatives to the animal report
In Rethinking Reports, page 2.1
Year after year, students are assigned an animal report, a factual report on a species of their choice. My son chose the Harpy Eagle for his third-grade animal report — and proceeded to re-submit that report with only slight modifications for years thereafter!...
By Melissa Thibault.
Alternatives to the famous person report
In Rethinking Reports, page 3.1
This "rethinking reports" series of articles provides alternative research assignments that challenge students to think critically about historical actors.
By David Walbert and Melissa Thibault.
Alternatives to the President Report
In Rethinking Reports, page 1.1
The "President Report" is a common assignment in social studies classes from second grade, where biography is first introduced, through high school U.S. History. You know what we mean: students are asked to pick a U.S. president and write a biographical...
By Melissa Thibault and David Walbert.
Animal folktales: Legends, superheroes, and pourquoi tales
In Rethinking Reports, page 2.2
By writing a narrative about an animal rather than a traditional report, students can learn about literature, develop writing skills, and still fulfill science and research objectives.
By Melissa Thibault.
Beaufort Burying Ground
Beaufort Burying Ground
A view of some of the markers and graves in the Beaufort Burying Ground. Taken from inside the cemetery, this image includes many stone markers and plot borders dating from the 1700s. The cemetery is shaded by many live oak trees and the white wooden outer...
Format: image/photograph
Beaufort Burying Ground historic marker
Beaufort Burying Ground historic marker
Beaufort Burying Ground historic marker reads "Old Burying Ground, deeded to town, 1731, by Nathanael Taylor. Captain Otway Burns of the War of 1812, Revolutionary and Civil War soldiers are buried here." Marker is further identified as C43 by the North Carolina...
Format: image/photograph
Believe it or not! Reporting on amazing animals
In Rethinking Reports, page 2.3
A visual and oral presentation of an "animal report" can engage students' interest and develop their artistic and visual literacy skills.
By Melissa Thibault.
Bring history to life with a Living History Day!
In Rethinking Reports, page 3.4
A Living History Day turns students into teachers and challenges them to think historically.
Format: article
By Melissa Thibault.
Canning for country and community
In this lesson plan, students will use primary source documents to evaluate the technological challenges of food preservation in the 30s and 40s, compare food preservation in the first half of the twentieth century with today, and consider the political role of food in the community.
Format: lesson plan (grade 9–12 English Language Arts and Social Studies)
By Melissa Thibault.
Celebrating the freedom to read
Banned Books Week teaches the importance of our First Amendment rights and draws attention to the danger of restricting information in a free society.
Format: article
By Melissa Thibault.
Children's literature promotes understanding
Bibliotherapy and critical literacy are two ways to use books to help children better understand themselves, others, and the world around them. This article explains both strategies and provides resources for selecting appropriate books.
Format: article
By Melissa Thibault.
Citing sources
A guide for high school students to citing sources from print and the web.
Format: article
By Melissa Thibault.
Comparative anatomy: A continuum
In groups, students will design a presentation that will trace the development of an organ system through the major phyla of the animal kingdom looking for the relationships between structure and function by documenting adaptations.
Format: lesson plan (grade 9–12 English Language Development, Information Skills, and Science)
By Joan Warner and Melissa Thibault.
Crissie Wright grave marker
Crissie Wright grave marker
A grave marker in the Beaufort Burying Ground indicates the mass grave of men who died in the January 11, 1886 shipwreck of the Crissie Wright. Shield-shaped grave marker reads "Chrissie Wright, common grave, January 11 1886" under an outline of a fish. Next...
Format: image/photograph
Facial studies through creation of a face jug
In this interdisciplinary lesson, students study the anatomy of the face and use what they have learned to create thumbnail sketches of expressive faces on jugs. The lesson incorporates elements of social studies, earth science, psychology, and artistic meaning.
Format: lesson plan (grade 8–12 Visual Arts Education)
By Lori Shepley, Melissa Thibault, and Nelle Hayes.
Finding and using literary criticism
A guide for high school students to finding and using literary criticism, in print and on the web.
By Melissa Thibault.
Finding, not searching
You can work smarter, not harder, by determining your searching style, learning more about what your searches return and why, and learning to look in the right place first.
Format: article
By Melissa Thibault.
Guest of honor: A presidential banquet
In Rethinking Reports, page 1.3
A research assignment in which students plan a banquet in honor of a president.
By Melissa Thibault and David Walbert.
Introduction: Rethinking reports
A little creativity can make research a rewarding learning experience for students and teachers alike.
By David Walbert and Melissa Thibault.
It's an ad!
How do marketers target kids — and how can we teach kids to know the difference between advertising and fact? These websites provide strategies to build critical thinking skills for media literate kids.
By Melissa Thibault.
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