One World Education
Can student understanding of world issues, like the lack of fresh water in sub-Saharan Africa, promote global literacy? The team at One World Education (OWEd) thinks so. Originating as a classroom project in 2006, OWEd was started by two teachers at the SEED Charter School in Washington, D.C., who asked students to write about issues that were important to them. Their writing was then used as the foundation for lesson plans to engage the class with youth perspectives on diversity, culture, and global topics.
OWEd transitioned into a nonprofit organization in 2007, with two programs that responded to clear needs in District of Columbia schools. The Culture & Global Issues Reflection Writing Program provides students with meaningful writing opportunities to improve their literacy skills, publish, and learn from other students' writing. The One World Curriculum is a growing database of curricula built around this student writing, responding to teachers' need for a standards-based curriculum. By using student writing as the content source for all its curricula, the One World Curriculum has guided increased engagement, critical thinking, improved writing, and deeper understanding of culture and global issues across the D.C. area.
OWEd has now worked with over 1,000 local student writers and 325 teacher members. As its base of student writers continues to grow, so will the topics of the One World Curriculum. New One World Units, which are aligned to the Common Core State Standards, are published monthly and are freely available online. Recent unit topics include human rights in Haiti, messages of rap music, cyberbullying, Muslim identity and media, and the deforestation of the Amazon.
Laura Varlas is the project manager for ASCD's Inservice blog.
ASCD Express, Vol. 7, No. 14. Copyright 2012 by ASCD. All rights reserved. Visit www.ascd.org/ascdexpress.