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Perspectives Resources for Educators

KQED Perspectives connects student voices to the community.

Get started with our classroom resources where you’ll find:

  • Models of youth-written Perspectives that have been on the air
  • A graphic organizer to help students analyze youth-written Perspectives
  • Submission guidelines and tips for Bay Area and Sacramento teachers

Take a deeper dive into Perspective unit planning with this 11-lesson sample unit from San Francisco teacher Ruth Corley, who incorporated Perspectives into a unit on the five-paragraph essay. She has shared lesson plans from her curriculum in hopes that other teachers will give students the opportunity to participate in the Perspectives series. Below you will find Corley’s unit on writing and recording Perspectives, a how-to video and information about KQED’s other resources for educators

Unit Overview

All too often students are asked to write essays solely for the purpose of writing an essay, usually an arduous and formulaic process with little joy or creativity. Young people come to see writing as a task that is done for the teacher, or for a grade. Only when writing about a meaningful topic for an authentic audience does writing have power. As a teacher, I want my sixth graders to experience the impact their writing can have, on themselves, their peers, and their community. With this goal in mind, I asked them to each write a KQED Perspective.

In the next few paragraphs, I outline the curriculum for our unit. Lesson summaries are attached as PDFs, including essay and peer conferencing rubrics. Feel free to adapt these to suit your needs and style.

Writing Perspectives transformed my class. They explored challenging personal topics, formed connections with each other, and came to see themselves as writers who can make a difference in the world. As one student wrote, “Perspectives are like getting to share a piece of your soul with the outside world.” Enjoy the process. You will be amazed with the results.



Ruth Corley
Sixth Grade Humanities Teacher, The San Francisco School

Grade Level: This curriculum is geared for fifth to eighth grades, but can easily be adapted for high school.

Unit Length: Depending on how often you have writing in your schedule and how much time you give your students to work in class, the unit should take three to six weeks. I have attached descriptions of 11 fifty-minute lessons, including a class period for a publishing party. I recommend adding three to five class periods dedicated to in-class writing and individual conferences with students.

Class Time: I structure my writing periods using a workshop approach based on the following writing process: Prewriting, Drafting, Revising and Editing, and Publishing.
50 minute classes are generally structured as follows:

15 minutes: Mini Lesson
Introduces or reviews an element of process, writing craft, genre, or conventions.

30 minutes: In-class writing

During this time I circulate the class and conference with individual students. Occasionally, I interrupt the class to showcase students’ work to serve as inspiration or to ask students a question to help focus their writing.

5 minutes: Share

Students share their work with a partner, small group, or the class as a whole.

Models: To introduce each lesson, I played an example of a Perspective produced by a young person.The Youth Radio archive is a great source for examples. To frame their listening, I asked students to think about the following questions:

What is the author’s thesis or perspective?
What was it about their piece that made you care?

What connections do you have?

Standards:This unit aligns with the California English Language Arts Content Standards 1.0 Writing Strategies (1.1-1.3, 1.5, 1.6) and 1.0 Listening and Speaking Strategies (1.1 1.2. 1.4. 1.5. 1.7).

Lesson Plan and Resource PDFs
Recording Audio

You can expand your lesson on writing Perspectives to include recording them. The audio makes a great addition to student blogs or class webpages. The screencast below will show you how to record in Audacity, a free audio recording and editing program.

More from KQED Education

KQED supports teachers and students in building media literacy skills through KQED Teach and KQED Learn. We serve educators in schools, colleges, universities and informal learning environments. 

KQED Learn: A free, online space for middle and high school classrooms where students can discuss current issues and research important topics with peers from different schools and regions. Students sign on to KQED Learn using a code from their teacher. Find out more about how to sign up your students.

KQED Teach: Free, online professional learning for educators who want to improve their own media literacy and media production. Self-paced courses on KQED Teach focus on hands-on activities designed to build skills that are transferable to any learning environment. See a full list of courses.

PBS LearningMedia: An extensive free library of PBS educational resources in all subject areas and grade levels. Find video clips, lesson plans, graphic organizers and other material produced by PBS member stations throughout the country. PBS Learning Media resources are standards-aligned and can be connected to Google Classroom. Explore the PBSLM library.

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