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- Keep the Engagement Alive: Start the Year with Purpose - August 5, 2018
- It's Our Fault: A Teacher's Confession - March 18, 2018
- Keeping Your Teaching Real: A Teacher's Role - March 11, 2018
- Sketch Notes in the Elementary Classroom - February 15, 2017
- Teach From the Heart - February 9, 2017
- Who is the Teacher: School or Family? - January 11, 2017
- Dear President Elect Trump, From Your Teachers - November 17, 2016
- Let them Be Children - October 21, 2016
- Print Resources: Great Tools for Kids - October 17, 2016
Today there are many ways to expand your classroom walls. Field trips, virtual trips, Skype conversations, and traveling trunks can all provide your students with experiences and expertise that help their learning. As an educator you need to be able to match your objectives with resources near you. Inviting visitors into the classroom is another great way to bring the world in.
Mentor Teacher: Lori Rice--Each year when we do our presentations on electricity we invite the local cooperative in to talk with kids. Many companies have classroom connections and they will come into your room to present. Know how the presentation matches your objectives and tell the presenter what you would like to be covered. It is also important to ask a few questions when setting up your visit.
- How many students can you do a presentation for?
- What supplies will the school need to provide?
- Is there a fee? How much?
- What topics will you cover?
- What grade levels is this appropriate for?
Student Intern: Lauren Laudan-- I invited Bluestem Electric to come speak to my fourth graders about electric energy. I planned for them to come after I had given students an introductory lesson on electricity. We discussed how we use electric energy all the time; whether it’s to light our houses or power our televisions. Students also read about lightning and transmission wires, because I knew they would touch on electrical safety as well. The kids were very engaged in the topic, especially once they learned that lightning is approximately 54,000 degrees Fahrenheit! This helped with engagement during the presentation.
This was one of the highlights of my unit and I am so glad I invited Bluestem to come to our class. The students were so fascinated and loved the movie they played, the demonstrations with mini power lines (and fire!), and the plasma lamp they all got an opportunity to touch on their way out the door. “This is so cool” was the whisper heard throughout the room as they were watching the presentation. Since the company works with electric energy for a living, this was a knowledge source for student questions and made them even more interested in the topic. I would not have been able to answer all the questions my students asked, so it was neat to see their engagement and how one question would lead to another student building off it. I would not be surprised if a few of our students thought about this as a career choice.
Expectations are important when going on field trips or bringing resources into the classroom. Be sure to set up clear expectations for how the event will work and what students should do during the presentation. The teacher has a role to watch for discipline and engagement to help the presenter. Remember, you are the expert educator and they are the content expert. Building relationships to bring content into the classroom and bring the world to your children is an important part of their learning.