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Lessons are Authentic

LKSD Best Practice #13

When lessons are interesting, meaningful, culturally relevant, and relate to real-life (authentic), students are given the opportunity to apply the content and make their own connections.   

Teacher Shout-Out:
Alice Fitka, Tuntutuliak

Teacher Alice helps a Yugtun Language Arts story come to life through this engaging and meaningful lesson. After reading the story in the Yugtun Anthology book (Best Practice #6), her students made their own "pancake" and re-enacted the story. Further, both Alice and her students stayed in the language of instruction through the entire activity (Best Practice #11).  

Focus Friday: April 21, 2023

In education, authentic learning is an instructional approach that allows students to explore, discuss and meaningfully construct concepts and relationships in contexts that involve real-world problems and projects that are relevant to the learner.

Donovan, Bransford & Pellegrino, 1999

Key Points of LKSD BP13

  • Higher order thinking and development through intellectual engagement

  • Activated prior knowledge, reflection and personal significance

  • Focus on multiple aspect of student achievement and support students to uphold their cultural identities 

Teacher Showcase
Victoria Inman, Toksook Bay

Structure of Events


Individual work, reading, and mini-lessons, followed by partner discussion and reflective writing

I introduce the 10-15 minute activity that the students will be doing for their warm-up.  In English, I have the students work on the online program Lexia PowerUp or Epic! reading.  This could also be a review activity or even a short introductory mini-lesson that the students are completing.  Once the time finishes, the students will then follow the "Share and Reflect" procedure for their journal writing.  This framework includes a 30-sec prep of their journals while thinking about what they just completed in the warm-up. 


Then, they will turn to their partner and share what they learned to use some sentence prompts set specifically for the activity.  For mine, the sentence stems work for a reading reflection, but they are adaptable to the needs of the activity.


Following this, they will get an opportunity to write in their journals about what they discussed.  The students need to include not only their own responses but their partner's responses as well.

The students need to include not only their own responses but their partner's responses as well. 

  • At the start of of the year, they began with a small goal of a simple, five sentence paragraph in three minutes

  • In this, they focused on their handwriting, sentence clarity, grammar, punctuation, and spelling

  • Each quarter we adjust the goal by adding additional sentences and extending the time by another minute each time

  • The goal for the final quarter is to speak 10 sentences or more in 6 minutes following their reflection guide

At the end of the week, I read their reflections and write down any goals for improvement. Misspelled words in their writing are added to the word wall.  

Victoria's Advice for Differentiation

In math or science, the students could start with any activity that requires deeper analytical thinking or even vocabulary application as the warm-ups, this could include reviews.  Then, they just need time to discuss with their partners and do reflective writing in a journal.  The same could apply to social studies or Yugtun. 


Another approach I've done is to use images and discussion before reflective writing.  Where they use an image or video to discuss a topic with their partners and then follow the same "Share and Reflect" procedure in their journals.


What we see... 

  • student generated (hands-on)

  • project-based learning

  • original thought 

  • real life application of academic content

  • complete sentences

Secondary Math
Credit: Teacher Amparo Faraon

BP 13 Amparo #2.jpg

What we see... 

  • student generated alphabet

  • original thought 

  • real life application of academic content

Secondary Language Arts
Credit: Teacher Tammy Schneidler

BP 13_14 Tammy.jpg


What we see... 

This kindergarten student instinctively used the interactive word wall to support her independent writing 

  • ​authentic & interactive use of the word wall 

  • the word wall is easily accessible to this grade level (easy to reach) 

  • students are surrounded by a print- rich environment

Credit: Teacher Kaymbra Mortensen
M.E. School, Bethel

What we see... 

  • Writing in complete sentences

  • Cooperative grouping 

  • Authentic learning

    • Students taking initiative and ownership over their learning

  • Original thought

2nd Grade
Credit: Teacher Karen Paul

"They expressed their thinking based on their understanding of how Alaska came to be." 

What we see... 

  • LKSD BP 5 & 6 grade level curriculum

    • 4th Grade Social Studies, Unit 8​

  • LKSD BP 7 & 13 Ownership

  • LKSD BP 4 Real-world application

  • LKSD BP 15 Student generated

  • LKSD BP 17 Use of complete sentences 

4th Grade
Credit: Deanna Wassillie

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