Guidance on Using Unit Plan Outlines for Out-of-School Time

Making connections

If you're ready to use our Global Learning Unit Plan Outlines, here you'll find details on ways to use these resources.

Unit Plan Outline Components

  1. An overview of the definition and four domains of global competence
  2. An example elementary global learning unit that aligns the four domains of global competence with sample youth and program outcomes
  3. An example secondary global learning unit that aligns the four domains of global competence with sample youth and program outcomes
  4. Content area resources to support global learning activities

A Sample Approach

Since most programs provide literacy activities to reinforce the academic content of the school day, the literacy unit plan outline is used to provide an overview of the purpose and content of these resources. The elementary example is a global literacy unit—not a single activity—focusing on 3rd grade. It will take several weeks to complete, depending on how many times (and for how long) students meet for literacy activities each week. This unit was planned so that global competencies would be developed through sustained learning activities: Each activity builds on or overlaps with the previous one, leading to a final project.

Reading down the unit plan chart, it is clear that during this unit, students will read three folktales, each from a different culture, selected by the group leader. The group leader may decide to select cultures represented by many of the youth participants. As the group reads the folktales, they will identify, document, and discuss the theme, moral, or lesson of the story as well as key values and beliefs of the represented cultures (Investigate the World; Recognize Perspectives). They will reflect on how these values and morals are the same or different from their own (Recognize Perspectives). Students will use the internet or library to research and analyze folktales from their own heritage (Recognize Perspectives). They will do regular writing assignments, such as character sketches or plot outlines, to prepare them to write their own folktale about an important moral or belief from their culture (Communicate Ideas). Students will write and illustrate their own folktales and then share them with other program participants and members of the community to teach them about a specific culture (Take Action). While each activity in the example unit builds on the previous one, this does not mean groups have to work through all four global competence domains in a linear fashion. It is possible, for instance, that students will do some writing activities listed under Communicate Ideas while the group is also Investigating the World. In this way, activities may be concurrent or overlap.

Let's say that this fictional program has decided to support their host school partner with the implementation of the English Language Arts (ELA) Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Reading across the chart, this unit outline clearly shows which standards and global leadership performance outcomes the educator set for the unit’s objectives, which will help determine if students are on track with their learning and developing the knowledge and skills identified for each activity. These outcomes will also help the educator to stay on track while lesson planning, as it can be easy to include too many or too few activities or unrelated activities in the unit, which can confuse the learning goals and impact student engagement. Although the elementary outcomes on the literacy unit reflect a representative sample from the 3rd-grade Common Core ELA standards as well as from the global leadership performance outcomes, they are not a comprehensive list of all the possible outcomes that could be addressed in the learning unit. Rather, there may be different academic and youth development outcomes and standards identified by the educator that reflect the program's mission and stated outcomes.

The goal here is to show a clear example of an intentional unit plan that focuses on outcomes instead of standalone activities. The activities and outcomes are not meant to be prescriptive but to spark ideas. The example secondary literacy unit follows a similar format to illustrate how to globalize a newspaper club.

Because of the variety of out-of-school time program structures and purposes, the example unit plan outlines collectively contain a range of academic and youth development outcomes as well as both traditional and hands-on learning formats. In this way, they are meant to provide representative examples and not a single way to do global learning.

Ways to Use These Resources

There are several ways that programs can use the unit outlines, academic and youth development outcomes and standards list, and unit planning template.

For staff with limited lesson planning experience or who are new to global learning:

  • If staff are unfamiliar with their program’s outcomes, they can practice aligning activities to Asia Society’s global leadership performance outcomes, or eliminate the outcomes column initially and practice developing activities that build on each other across the global competence domains. Gradually, youth and program outcomes can be incorporated as staff become more experienced with lesson planning and/or global learning.
  • Have staff write lesson plans for one of the example units as a way to practice lesson planning with a global framework. During and at the end of the unit implementation, reflect and refine the unit plan based on lessons learned and youth feedback.

For staff with lesson planning or global learning experience:

  • Use the unit planning template to create original unit plans that link the global competence domains with your stated youth and program outcomes. Start with listing youth outcomes related to the program's mission, funder requirements, or relevant program area (e.g., STEM or arts). Brainstorm global learning activities for the selected programming area that relate to your stated outcomes and write the activity ideas in the table on the planning sheet next to the appropriate domain of global competence.
  • Take the unit plan to the next level: Turn original unit plans or those on the example unit plan outlines into project-based learning units by articulating a driving question to guide participants' inquiry toward action projects. Or, create an additional column on the unit planning template to list interdisciplinary connections for the activities as a way to engage community partners, plan field trips, or co-plan learning activities with colleagues.

For staff responsible for training and/or program planning:

  • Use the unit plan outlines as examples when training staff about the importance of developing globally competent youth and designing intentional units and individual lessons to develop desired youth and program outcomes.
  • Provide the outlines as models to help staff generate ideas for sustained, developmentally appropriate global learning unit plans aligned with global competences and your program's youth outcomes.
  • Use the outlines during staff meetings and planning time to review your program's mission and outcomes with staff. Explain how identifying and measuring outcomes relates to program quality and impact.

View the Unit Plan Outlines

Heather Loewecke

Asia Society
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New York, NY 10021

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