An important final step in CAP’s project-based learning is to provide students with a culminating activity. It is a form of assessment for the CAP project in which students demonstrate their own civic knowledge, skills, attitudes, and actions. Culminating activities can also be used to highlight student work for the media, school administration, local government, and the community. When introducing CAP to students, be sure to let them know about the culminating activity so they know what is expected at the conclusion of their CAP experience.
In fact, each year that CRF has evaluated CAP students’ civic learning, a clear correlation emerges between students’ participation in a culmination and their increased ability to think about what they learned, what they did, and the impact they made on their chosen issues. It gives students an opportunity to synthesize their civic knowledge, skills, and attitudes beyond the final CAP Report in the Planner.
Ideas for Culminating Activities
Oral presentations are a way for students to present their findings and experiences using supporting evidence, conveying a clear perspective, and using a style that is appropriate to purpose and audience. Students use the CAP Planner documents to outline their presentations, focusing on their CAP issue, the civic actions they took, and any impact they made. Students can use posters, displays, PowerPoint, video, and other media to create presentations that they share with the class, the school, parents, or community members (including policymakers). Teachers and audience members can ask questions at the conclusion of the presentation to assess students’ knowledge, skills, and dispositions. Students can also enter these presentations into the CAPFolio Contest.
A CAP Expo is a kind of “civics fair” for students. They present their CAP issues, civic actions, and any impact they made. Students can use posters, displays, PowerPoint, video, and other media to present their CAP projects. A CAP Expo can take place at school or at other sites in your community (e.g., city hall, school district office, courthouse, or museum). Each group of students who worked together on a CAP project uses a designated space in the room for their presentations.
A CAP Expo should involve interactivity, such as a gallery walk, in which each group presents their project to multiple small audiences. Audience-groups rotate every few minutes to listen to the next presentation. For very large groups, half of the students may present while the other half listen and rotate as audience members. Then, presenters and audience members switch roles, so that everyone has a chance to share their work and learn about others’ projects. CRF has hosted CAP Expos annually with CAP groups from many different schools and where the large-group gallery-walk method allows students from those different schools to learn about the wider CAP community.
2011 Los Angeles Showcase
On June 8, 2011 over 80 CAP students attended the event, along with Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Students had an opportunity to present their issues and policies to the Mayor who also shared his comments and thoughts with the students.
Students can use the Publish feature of CAP Connect as a culminating activity. Students may write an essay, a letter to an official, or another formal writing project.
Teachers can assign students to report their CAP projects in an essay format. The students’ CAP Planner documents (Proposal, Thinking it Through, Civic Action, and CAP Report) will help provide an outline for the essays. The CAP Report Planner document itself can serve as an information organizer.
Student essays should clearly convey their issue and provide supporting evidence of civic actions and how those actions connect to public policy. In addition to documenting their CAP experience, the essay allows students to reflect on what they have learned about their issue, policymaking, effective citizenship, and the impact of their efforts. Students can share their essays with the CAP community by posting them on the Publish page.
Letters to Officials
Some CAP teachers assign students to write a formal letter to an appropriate policymaker about their issue. Teachers can develop criteria for the letters that could be assessed for specific learning, such as persuasive writing, proposing solutions, and knowledge about policymaking.
The Civic Actions Toolkit provides helpful guidelines for students in writing letters to officials. Below are some additional guidelines for assessment-criteria of a letter to an official.
CRF administers the CAPfolio Contest twice yearly, once in the fall and again in the spring. A CAPfolio is a student-created multimedia presentation of a CAP project using video, PowerPoint, photos, and other media. The CAP Youth Board assists in judging the contest entries.
1. Focuses on a specific problem or issue;
2. Explains why it’s important to you and/or your community, and;
3. Illustrates your civic actions to learn about and influence public policy.
For more information about the CAPfolio Contest rules, cash prizes awarded, and previous winners, visit the Contests page.