Beyond the Chalkboard

Hundreds of Free Activities to Teach in Your Afterschool

Search by Category

Four Steps to an Effective Learning Experience

  1. 1

    Make it Matter

    In order for children to understand why an experience matters to them, it is helpful to first present it in a real-world context.

  2. 2

    Make it Happen

    After you have set the context, present the challenge and materials and send the children off to engage in the activity for 10–20 minutes.

  3. 3

    Make it Click

    It is at this moment, when many children are starting to have success but are not finished, that you should break to share experiences.

  4. 4

    Make it Better

    After sharing with their peers and gathering some new ideas for their own project, send children back to complete the challenge.

Learn More

“What I find very helpful with your curriculum are the 4 steps that really could help even a novice staff lead a very successful and meaningful learning experience. I love the connections and use of questions to help with 'sense-making' that engage youth in thinking about what they are doing and learning – it's all about the process!”

Sheryl Godsy Professional Development Specialist, Coach and Afterschool Regional Educator (ARE), Francis Institute for Child and Youth Development, Kansas City, Missouri

“This website has completely changed the way I design and deliver my after-school program curriculum. I have found that my students remain much more engaged and have shown an increased desire to verbally explain 'what' they are seeing. I will continue to use this website and look forward to sharing it with as many educators as I can. It has become my top resource for curriculum!”

Lauren DuBois SET Adventures, Springfield, Massachusetts