Teacher tips for helping to organize and inspire kids.
- Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8
We're beginning our study of our town, New Milford, by reading Roxaboxen by Alice McLerran. We are searching our town for a special area that needs caring for. Perhaps we'll find it right on the school grounds.
I'm looking for a way to connect kids with patients in elderly care. I think a one-on-one situation would be best, where the kids would meet face-to-face with a senior citizen, and hopefully develop a relationship. I could see interviews, autobiographies, and narratives resulting from these encounters. I teach seventh and eighth graders.
In our school, we have weekly gardening duty. Families are assigned once a month in the fall, spring, and summer to work in the garden with other families and community members. Our garden is the focus of our school. It used to be an empty lot. Hence, the name of our school, Garden Preschool Cooperative. We grow all sorts of flowers, plants and vegetables. Because the children are involved with their families in gardening duty, they love to take care of the garden. It is our other "classroom." This work has led our families to revive and plant in the park down the street as well.
We are in a very small school district and I travel to four schools. We have made a partnership with the local library. Each one of my (50!) students takes home a six pack of books each week, reads the books, and exchanges them for a new set the following week. The kids love this. It has the kids excited about reading and inspiring their parents to go to the library. Learning how to read becomes easier when a child wants to read. My students and their parents helped build a playground at the city park. Since they helped with the project, the kids now take much better care of the equipment. By the way, my students are 3, 4, and 5 years old, most with special needs. The tip is to get excited about doing a project and the children will follow!
Recently, I started a pen pal program with an elderly home nearby. My students love it. Every other week we write our pen pals a letter, and we usually receive a few, too. It is an exciting way to get the students involved in a community project. It is also a good way for the generations to understand each other a little better. During the holiday season, we will finally meet our pen pals and have a holiday sing with them. Try it! I think you will be happy with the results.