Curriculum updates, which began in 2014, are now complete. A number of exciting new changes are being implemented this fall.
The curriculum has different levels to accommodate students with varying levels of experience with the program or knowledge of civics. According to Julie Schaul, a designer and developer for the program, “OAV was redesigned as a spiral curriculum, which allows for similar topics to be repeated over time with increasing complexity.” Schaul further explained that each individual lesson in the curriculum can be “implemented in one of three levels: emergent, foundational, and operational,” allowing students to retain and build upon knowledge as they progress. As a result, students can participate in the program time after time, becoming more and more civically engaged.
All new activities are hands-on and inquiry-based, explained Pam McGreer, OAV facilitator. “The facilitator really steps back and encourages kids to ask questions,” McGreer said. “The kids have to really analyze and think more deeply about what they’re seeing and the possible bias that’s involved in it.”
In addition, OAV space, the program’s online homebase, has a more integral, engaged role in the curriculum. Assessments, handouts, lesson plans, facilitator guides, and more can now be accessed there.
The OAV program curriculum, according to Schaul, “has students consider citizenship and their roles as citizens, how individuals and communities work together for the common good, the relevance of the founding documents today, and how to work through the structure of our government to affect change.” The curriculum updates were developed with these concepts in mind. Ultimately, the goal is to teach so that participants carry OAV’s core principles with them, in a sense allowing them to be participants even after they have left the program.