by Justin Liu, AmeriCorps member serving on the CSX team with Mattahunt Elementary School

What defines a successful lesson plan? For me, a “successful” lesson plan targets two of the three areas that City Year focuses on when it comes to addressing the national high school dropout crisis: attendance, behavior, and coursework. I focus mainly on attendance and behavior because once these two are managed well, students are coming to school often and their behavior is in control, so coursework progress can be better monitored. 

I currently serve with the Mattahunt Elementary School and we lead a Starfish Extended Day program. My recent lesson plans have focused on origami because I believe that origami helps students with different learning styles. It is my belief that it supports students' social emotional learning, helping them to improve with self-control. I want students to develop patience and know the importance of following directions. For my lessons, I want to engage both visual and verbal learning styles because students learn differently.

I think it is important to work on teamwork, empathy, personal growth, and personal power in a lesson because they are interconnected. Some students will understand the instructions faster than others and if that is the case, I encourage them to help their peers out. For my lessons for the month of December, we’ll be making cool, winter themed origami such as snowflakes and snowballs. Ultimately, origami is a positive enrichment experience becasue students can learn a new hobby, and they learn how taking small steps can contribute to a greater whole.

Check out some simple origami for kids here.

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