teacher with student

Alma Project

The Alma Project is a program that provides multicultural curriculum for early childhood education (ECE) through twelfth grade. We are committed to supporting the cultural infusion of standards-based lessons into the daily curriculum. Our exciting collection of units broadens the teacher’s ability to teach a more inclusive and accurate curriculum through a literacy-based approach. More importantly, it honors the cultural and historical contributions of various ethnicities represented in Denver Public Schools—which is 80 percent minority.

When teachers check out Alma curriculum units, they receive a teacher’s guide; sets of books for each student as appropriate; support books and materials for the teacher; and other resources such as videos, cassettes, CDs, posters, maps, and musical instruments.

If you would like to check out one of the units from the catalog, please send an email to and include the following information:

  • Your full name
  • Your school
  • Your phone number
  • The title of the unit
  • Whether you want the standard 5 books or a full classroom set
  • The date you want the unit

(Please Note: if you are from outside Denver Public Schools, delivery is unavailable and you will need to arrange pickup of the unit.)

View Unit Catalog

The Alma instructional units are not to be used in isolation, but rather to be infused or integrated into the adopted scope and sequence for your specific grade level. Units at the high school level can be integrated into the recommended courses for a more in-depth, broader based scope of the topic. All Alma units can be translated into Spanish upon request.

The framework for the instructional units was provided by Dr. Diane Paynter with the Denver-based Mid- Continental Regional Educational Laboratory (McREL).

The individual lesson components contain the following:

  • Content Knowledge :  The standard/benchmark information students should understand within a specified content domain and the skills or processes they should be able to do within that domain.
  • Specifics :  Identification of relevant supporting knowledge that will help students understand the information.
  • Instructional Strategies :  Any instructional strategy to be used by the teacher based on what students already know and how students can make sense of the new information and the learning patterns and relationships.
  • Preteaching :  Concepts or skills that may need review or introduction.
  • Preliminary Lesson Preparation :  Concepts and/or skills that the teacher should reinforce before beginning.
  • Student Activities :  The activities in which students will be involved and that will help them process new content knowledge. They should be purposeful activities that are a means to an end, which is that students attain an understanding of the information they are learning.
  • Vocabulary :  Definitions and translations of specialized words and concepts in English and Spanish that may be unfamiliar to the students and even to teachers are provided in this section. This is your opportunity to focus attention on Vocabulary development and on the understanding of critical concepts you want the students to learn.
  • Resources/Materials :  Required or suggested sources such as textbooks, audio and videotapes, guest speakers, lectures, field trips, CDs and laser discs, software sources, newspapers, magazines, brochures, encyclopedias, trade books and literature, charts, exhibits, TV programs, community Resources, murals, advertisements, journals, and filmstrips to be used to provide students with information related to the identified content knowledge.
  • Performance Task :  A rigorous task that asks students to apply the content knowledge they have been learning within a highly contextualized, real-world setting.
  • Scoring Rubric :  A set of criteria that describes levels of expected performance or understanding that includes four levels of performance.
  • Additional Evidence :  Pieces of any other assessments or evidence that can be used to determine the degree to which students have mastered the identified knowledge.

Each lesson contains a set of key components listed below:

What will students be learning?

  • Standards
  • Benchmarks
  • Instructional Objectives
  • Specifics

What will be done to help students learn this?

  • Instructional Strategies
  • Preteaching (optional)
  • Preliminary Lesson Preparation (optional)
  • Activities
  • Vocabulary (optional)
  • Resources/materials for specific lesson
  • Assessment
  • Extensions

The Alma instructional units can be integrated into the regular course of study at a particular grade level according to content Standards. Each unit is specific to either primary, intermediate, middle, or high school. The basic premise for the integration of the Alma instructional units is that a more accurate, more diversified perspective can be taught, given the content and resources to support a particular topic. The instructional units are available on the Internet to teachers who wish to preview the study guides and check out materials for integration into their curriculums.

Click here for the unit evaluation questionnaire.

Click here to see the list of Alma Project contributors.