Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning


College2Career Forums, a series of focused, career-specific explorations, will be planned for the top requested careers. In these day-long experiences, students will travel to a PSE to explore a common aspect of the career through hands-on activities. Armed with these experiences, students will be transported to a business and have the opportunity for job shadowing and mentoring with a practicing professional. Each school will be invited to identify students who are interested in the targeted career and transport them to a local partnering PSE, where they will engage in a hands-on activity that exemplifies the career. Equipped with these experiences, students then have an opportunity to visit an actual business, shadow a practicing professional, and engage in a short mentoring session with that professional.

Essential Questions

  1. What steps do I need to take to reach my future goals? 

  2. How can I apply the career information to my current post-secondary plans and academic opportunities?

Learning Goals

  1. Explore a career option in a post-secondary environment (PSE).

  2. Interact with PSE staff and career-specific professionals.







Materials List


As your students are arriving at the site, make sure to welcome them with a smile! Using the attached Lesson Slides display slide 2 to introduce the College2Career Forum. Move to slide 3 and share some housekeeping norms and procedures with your students. During a visit, it is good to go over expectations for the day, as they are representatives of both their school and the K20 Center. Share the norms as necessary with your students and include any others that you believe would be relevant.

Display slide 4 and slide 5 which have the lesson’s essential questions and learning objectives. Review these with your students to the extent that you see fit.

Move to slide 6 and share the instructional strategy, First Word/Last Word, with your students. Pass out a sheet of paper and something to write with and have them write one word that comes to mind about the career they are learning more about or you can choose a word for them.  This becomes the "first word."  Instruct your students to write the first word vertically on the left side of their paper and complete an acrostic poem using that word. Encourage them to use full sentences in their responses, rather than single words.  Collect the acrostics and save them for later.


Move to slide 7 and pass out the second sheet of paper. Have your students write down what they believe are the three (3) most important benefits of a College2Career Forum.

Next, display slide 8 and share the instructional strategy, Stand Up, Sit Down, with your students. Have them all stand up and go around sharing one (1) thing at a time from their list with the group.  Once they have shared an item from their list, or if another student shares it, they cross that benefit off their list, once all of their items have been crossed off (i.e. shared) they sit back down.  As your students are sharing out, you should be writing their benefits down on the board, or chart paper.  Once they have all been shared out, review the comprehensive list with your students. Circle or highlight anything on the list that is also supported in the research you read and share this with your students to reinforce these with them.


Display slide 9 and share the instructional strategy, Magnetic Statements, with your students. Invite your students to walk around the room and read each of the statements. Tell them that they should choose the statement that they are most attracted to. Once all of the students have settled on a statement they should discuss their reasons for being attracted to the statement with the others there. Slides 10-14 have each of the statements on them. Display one slide at a time and have the group who is strongly attracted to the statement displayed share out with the group why they chose it.

Slide 10

By making resources and support accessible to students at school, teachers can lessen the future wage and job opportunity gaps for the generation of students they teach. (Turner & Conkel, 2010)

Slide 11

A very effective way to assist students with career development skills is by partnering with the community to provide students with internship and mentorship opportunities. (Murakami, 2009)

Slide 12

Work placements lead to increased social competence through active learning. (Murakami, 2009)

Slide 13

Connecting students’ coursework to their future goals makes learning feel more personal and important and heightens its utility value. (Bridgeland, Bilulio, & Morison, 2006; Rumberger et al., 2017)

Slide 14

Teachers should offer classes that have clear connections to specific careers or college majors so that students have a pathway for their future. (Rumberger et al., 2017)

At this point, depending on time, you may choose to repeat the activity, only this time instruct your students to choose the statement that they are most repelled by. Use slides 15-20 for this round.


During this time your students will get an opportunity to interact with the PSE staff and career-specific professionals. Remind them of the norms before they move to work with their professionals.

Once your students have completed the activity with their career-specific professionals display slide 22 and share the instructional strategy, Surprising, Interesting, Troubling (S-I-T), with them. Pass out the attached Surprising, Interesting, Troubling (S-I-T) handout and have your students reflect on what they found surprising, interesting, and maybe something that troubles them.  This will be a good opportunity to clarify any misconceptions or address areas that may worry them before they leave the site.


Move to slide 23 and tell your students that this is their opportunity to reflect on how their knowledge of the career has changed or grown. Pass back their First Word/Last Word paper from the engage.  Instruct your students to write the same work vertically down a new sheet of paper and create a new poem, this time referring back to their first word papers to examine the acrostic to see if it aligns with their current thinking. This page is considered the "last word."  Have your students revise their prior statements to include more detail, complexity, and appropriate terminology, correcting misunderstandings if necessary. If their ideas have not changed, they repeat what they stated before.

Research Rationale