Capturing and holding onto students’ attention is one of the biggest challenges teachers face. Each day we have to compete with games, videos, apps, and influencers. It can definitely take more than a typical lesson to maintain students’ attention. So we went searching for pop culture lessons filled with the current characters, shows, and movies our students love. The Achievery, created by AT&T, is a free educational platform that wants to provide exactly that. Let’s take a look at what they’re offering.
1. A library of free lesson plans and resources for teachers
The Achievery is a completely free resource for educators and parents. Just sign up with your name and email and you’ll have access to the entire collection of lessons, activities, and videos. The Achievery currently has 60 unique units, each containing two or three individual lessons. The subjects range from writing and public speaking to coding. By featuring content from companies like Cartoon Network, Warner Bros., Young Storytellers, Scratch, and others, we know we’ll be getting great learning material that our students will be excited to engage with.
2. Safe access to the videos used in their pop-culture lessons
Showing online video clips can be risky, but with The Achievery, you can show video clips without worry. The Achievery works directly with the companies and organizations that created the videos. This means teachers can trust that the clips are classroom-safe and high-quality. They’re cut specifically for each lesson, so you won’t have to deal with inappropriate ads or waste time hovering over the keyboard ready to hit pause at just the right moment. Additionally, because the clips are parts of standards-based lesson plans, you can feel confident explaining to a parent or administrator why you’re using pop culture videos in class. Finally, it’s easy to find the perfect clip for your needs, since you can search for units by grade level, academic standard, media type, subject, or collaborator.
3. Popular characters, movies, and TV shows to engage all learners
Once you’re signed in, you’ll really start to get an idea of just how much The Achievery can offer. Wonder Woman clips teach leadership and decision-making skills. Cartoon Network’s Craig of the Creek teaches reading and writing skills. One of the aspects of The Achievery I like most is that there are so many different lesson types to explore. We all know we can’t just show our students movie clips every day and keep them engaged. But Aquaman on one day followed by high-quality lessons featuring content by educational organizations like Young Storytellers or Scratch the next? That sounds just about perfect.
4. Ready-to-go lesson plans with standard-aligned lessons
It’s such a bummer when you discover an awesome resource only to realize you probably won’t be able to use it in your classroom. Sometimes we have to drop a great lesson idea because we can’t find an appropriate video clip to go with it. Other times, we struggle with how to tie it to our standards in a meaningful way. The Achievery’s lesson plans, however, solve these problems beautifully. Every lesson and learning activity on The Achievery is aligned to Common Core or CASEL (Social Emotional Learning) academic standards and reviewed by education experts from ASCD (The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development).
5. Coming soon: activities for all subject areas, grade levels, and topics
Currently, The Achievery has units perfect for English/language arts, social-emotional learning, the arts and technology, and engineering. And even more units are on the horizon. Science, social studies, math, and digital literacy lessons are coming soon. The Achievery continues to grow. They want to develop meaningful units filled with pop culture lessons that will engage all students.