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.

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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.
Arts of persuasion
Strategies for teaching middle school students to think critically, analyze persuasive arguments, and use speaking and writing to persuade others.
Format: series (multiple pages)
Consider the source
Information is everywhere — especially in the presence of the Internet. It's hard enough for adults to make sure that information is valid, but it's even harder for students to make that judgement. Here are some suggestions for helping students learn to recognize bad information when they see it.
Format: article
By Bobby Hobgood, Ed.D..
Demographics and deception
In Map skills and higher-order thinking, page 14
Maps get really interesting when we start adding human data to them -- population, economic production, social behavior, and so on. Mapping is a powerful way to summarize and communicate those kinds of data. Unfortunately, mapping is also an excellent way...
Format: article/best practice
By David Walbert.
Educator's Guides: North Carolina Digital History
Best practices, process guides, worksheets, and other resources for teaching with LEARN NC's digital textbook of North Carolina history.
Format: (multiple pages)
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.
Five tips to improve students' information evaluation
Teach your students how to separate the good online information from the bad with these five strategies.
Format: article
By Bill Ferris.
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.
Map skills and higher-order thinking
This series of articles looks at map skills as a kind of visual literacy, considering what maps are, how they're made, and the higher-order thinking skills students need to move from simply decoding maps to fully comprehending them.
Format: series (multiple pages)
The not-so-famous person report
In Rethinking Reports, page 3.2
Instead of teaching the history of the famous, use research in primary sources to teach students that the past and present were made by people like them.
Format: article
By David Walbert.
Persuasive speaking: A classroom model
In Arts of persuasion, page 3
A plan for teaching persuasive speaking in the middle school classroom, with tips for speakers and on how to recognize bias.
Format: article
By Pamela Myrick and Sharon Pearson.
Projections and propaganda
In Map skills and higher-order thinking, page 9
Interestingly, until the mid-twentieth century, publishers of maps and textbooks resisted using new projections (many of which were, by then, quite old). Why? Maybe because they wanted to stick with what was familiar to people -- or maybe because Mercator...
Format: article/best practice
By David Walbert.
Rethinking Reports
Creative research-based assignments provide alternatives to the President Report, Animal Report, and Famous Person Report that ask students to think about old topics in new ways, work collaboratively, and develop products that support a variety of learning styles.
Format: series (multiple pages)
Strategies for online reading comprehension
This article examines the differences between reading in print and reading online, and proposes some tools and strategies to help aid students' reading comprehension and information literacy in online environments.
Format: article/best practice
By Kevin Hodgson.
The student pathfinder
By creating pathfinders, students not only learn to manage time and produce a higher quality research project, but they also develop twenty-first century learning skills.
Format: article
By Melissa Thibault.
Think for yourself! Media literacy every day
Information, like air, is everywhere, and we breathe it in whether we mean to or not. If we want our students to be rational, responsible citizens and consumers, we have to help them develop a filter they can use all the time, not just when they're doing research.
Format: article
By David Walbert.
Tools of the trade for information seekers
A guide to understanding and using search engines, directories, and the invisible web.
Format: article
By Melissa Thibault.

Resources on the web

ACRL - Information Literacy
Tutorials and standards for information literacy. (Learn more)
Format: website/activity
Provided by: American Library Association
The Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy Education
Looking for information about fair use and copyright? This site provides a code of best practices for educators to understand their rights in using copyrighted materials in the classroom. (Learn more)
Format: website/general
Provided by: American University Center for Social Media
IMPACT: Guidelines for School Library Media and Instructional Technology Programs
A research-driven media and technology program schools may use to ensure that students, their parents, and their teachers will have the skills necessary to enter the 21st Century world of work and civic responsibility. (Learn more)
Format: website/general
Provided by: NC DPI Instructional Technology Division