Educational Best Practice addressed through Project A.C.O.R.N. (Alamo-area Children Organized to Replant Natives)
The educational approach taken through the project represents best practice for all students and particularly demographic populations targeted by teachers, campuses, and districts for additional intervention. Cooperative Learning Groups make use of group dynamics to increase the cognitive levels of learning among interactive students. When combined with clearly defined roles and scored with rubrics to insure individual responsibility within each group, the students are given direct instruction and instructor modeling in teamwork, communication skills, and problem solving techniques.
English language learners benefit from group interaction, hands on activities, and visual components all provided during daily field investigations. These same approaches are embedded within high interest and physical movement which is a beneficial incentive for students with individual needs, reluctant learners, students with behavior issues, poor social skills, and at risk for failure. When paired with service projects on a topic which is relevant to their daily lives within their own neighborhood, students make progress on goals. When the student’s leadership skills are used to train other classmates in their own, or in younger grades, their ability to demonstrate knowledge, skill, and understanding of observation and recorded measurement using scientific tools positively changes how they are perceived by their peers. Most significantly, it changes their perception of themselves.
Documented successes, photographic records of activities, and awards earned during the activities of the project are provided to students and can become early entries into the student’s college scholarship portfolio.