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Lesson Plan: Access to Education Across the Globe

By: Katherine England

Katherine England

Education Collaborator

Katherine is a Registered Early Childhood Educator, holds a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education and recently completed her Masters of Science in Elementary Education. She has had the privilege of working with students across the Greater Toronto Area for the past decade, and each school year she learns more from her students, their families and her colleagues. Her passion is special education, and she hopes to continue supporting students in an inclusive and equitable manner. She has two children of her own, a sixteen year old son and an eight year old daughter. In her free time, she loves spending time outdoors with her family and hiking some of Toronto’s city trails.

Suggested Subject Areas

Social Studies
English

Grade Level

Adaptable across K-6

Timing

Over three days

Objective

Access to education is a basic human right, yet millions of children remain out of school worldwide.  We envision a world where our students develop a sense of belonging to communities across the globe, where they use their voices to advocate for others, inspiring what they will begin to recognize as a local to global perspective. Through minds on activities and a growing sense of awareness our students will learn to amplify the voices of children across the world who are not always heard or whose voices are marginalized and/or silenced. 

Guiding Questions
Materials and Resources

Lesson Outline 

Day One: Introduction

Educators will begin by introducing students to the data at this link encouraging them to think about their peers throughout communities across the world. The goal is for educators to introduce the fact that millions of children around the world do not attend school, and for students to engage in discussion, story sharing, and begin to learn about advocacy. 

Next, educators will introduce children to the UN Convention on the Rights Of The Child, asking them if they know about their rights as children. Students will learn specifically about Right 28 & 29 and will be asked to think about whether they believe that these rights are being realized for all children around the world.

Introductory Activity

As a part of a “minds on” community circle, educators will ask students to brainstorm the things that they appreciate about being at school. Educators will record these thoughts onto chart paper, chalkboard, SMART Board, etc. Educators should remind students that this is an inclusive learning space, where all ideas that are not harmful to others are valued.

The purpose of this activity is to get students thinking about all of the small things that they like about going to school each day, whether it be reading buddies, gym, or music. The idea is to get children engaged in the thinking process specifically thinking about the positive or supportive elements of school.

Once this activity is complete, educators will review all of the ideas generated from this brainstorming session with students and ask them to think how they would feel if they did not have access to school, or at least the parts of school they appreciate the most. Through discussion, educators will remind students about their peers out of school across the globe. Educators will explain some of the reasons why children are not attending school throughout the world, they might mention gender, war, poverty, and geographic placement in the world. 

Educators will leave students with the thought that they can make a difference and ask them to think about what they could do to bring attention to these issues, thereby encouraging a local to global mentality. 

Day Two: Picture Books

On day two, educators will extend the learning from day one by reading students the picture book Malala’s Magic Pencil by Malala Yousafzai, through a digital read aloud option found here or with a copy of the book. 

Next, teachers ask students to discuss their feelings after listening to Malala’s story. As a classroom community, they will discuss both how their lives are similar and how they are different. The educators will bring back the chart paper with the list of the things that students appreciate about school that they generated on day one. 

Educators will prompt students to discuss one of the introductory topics in the book, which is whether or not the reader(s) believe in magic but also to reflect on what they would do to help others if they had a magic pencil like Malala. 

Combining both activities will allow children to reflect on their place in the world, while offering a safe space for sharing of lived experiences and possible solutions.

Bringing Our Learning Together

Educators will share this article over the SMART Board with students and ask them to imagine the difficulties that children across the world face just to get to school each day. Students will combine their learning from the UN Convention on the Rights of The Child, Malala’s Magic Pencil, and the article above to increase their knowledge of the inequitable access to education that children around the world face. Educators should encourage students to wonder what they can do individually, as a class and as a community to lead change and then document this on chart paper or on a digital notekeeper.

Day Two: Right to Education and Community Involvement

Educators will introduce students to this video:

Educators will ask students to discuss what they have learned about what UNESCO does to fight inequitable access to education and then will engage in a discussion about what steps they have learned are being taken to promote education for all, and what more they think can be done. Now that students see what is being done by UNESCO, they will be asked to use their voices to help in UNESCO’s mission.

As a class community, they will create open letters to send to Canadian government officials asking them to stand up for the right to education for all children. Educators will work with students to brainstorm ideas that could be used in their letters onto chart paper or the SMART Board.  Educators will also discuss letter writing expectations, asking students to create an opening sentence, at least three main points and a concluding sentence, along with their signature(s).

Educators will then place students in small groups and give them time in class to create drafts of their letters. Educators will work with students to edit letters, while ensuring that they remain authentic. This type of letter writing campaign promotes advocacy, teaches children that their voices matter, and also improves collaboration and literacy skills for our students. 

Educators will introduce students to the #RightToEducation Campaign by modeling the current contributions to the digital awareness campaign on their SMART Board through UNESCO’s page found here, or through other social media platforms such as “X”, found here. The purpose is to encourage the use of social media to promote the #RightToEducation Campaign. With parental support and permission, educators will ask students and their families to spread the word about the #RightToEducation using their own digital platforms at home and beyond thereby bringing attention to this important issue.

Assessment of Learning

Educators can use or adapt the following rubric to assess their students’ letter writing work. This rubric will offer primary students a clear outline of how they can successfully write a letter supporting other children across the globe.

Evaluation Rubric

Access-to-Education-Letter-Writing-RubricDownload
Summary of Learning

Our students come to our classrooms from all over the world: some are fleeing war, persecution, poverty, inequitable access to healthcare and education, and many are dealing with a variety of family-related issues. As a part of inclusive education, activities like the ones above show our students that we value and respect the individual, cultural, and lived experiences of all. Our hope is to inspire the next generation of thinkers to be ones that understand their place in the world and seek to inspire change in the right to education for all.