Earth Day ♥
Earth Day is a wonderful celebration, and perhaps your school is extending activities for more than one day. But, we all want every day to be Earth Day! That’s why extending Earth Day into a “teach-in” is a great way to end the year.
What’s a Teach-In…Sounds Hippy-ish
Get out your love beads, fringe vest, headband, and hop into the wayback machine! Teach-ins were part of the 60s protest movements that also included sit-ins. Started in university settings, the teach-in provided a way for people to learn about issues.
The first Earth Day in 1970 (dig out the platform shoes and bell bottoms) was designed after a teach-in. It was a way to get communities to discuss and learn about the environmental issues of their town, region, or state. It brought the problems to a local level — grassroots at its best.
That Sounds Groovy! How Do I Get Started?
- Get started by enlisting your students to generate a list of topics — environmental issues that are important to your students, school, and community.
The intent of a teach-in is just that — to teach. Though they probably will come up with some suggestions, students don’t necessarily have to come up with a solution to the issue. Their goal is to learn about an issue and teach others about it.
2. Allow students to work with a partner or in a small group. Each group should have a different topic, question, or issue to research and
3. Follow the questions! Before researching, students should create a list of questions about their topic. Encourage students to share questions and add to their list as they begin learning.
Since students are learning about current issues, they may find they need to do primary research. Encourage them to interview community leaders, the school principal, even the lunch lady to gain first-hand insight into the local environmental issue they are researching.
4. How will they teach it? Unless you want to have your students write a research paper, an oral presentation, public service announcement, poster, tri-fold, prezi, powerpoint, skit, puppet show, or song will be a perfect way for students to teach what they’ve learned.
If you want to invite parents, other classes, and community members to your teach-in, you will need to have it on one day. Be sure to provide each group with a time-slot for when they are teaching. If students are creating a display, have tables and a good flow so the audience can move around the displays.
The teach-in could also take place over several days. Depending on your school, you may want to have a “traveling teach-in” where your students visit a different class each day and a teach what they’ve learned.
Groups can also provide a daily public service announcement to the whole school during morning or afternoon announcements.
- It can be (and is!) a real challenge to keep students engaged at the end of the school year. A project-based learning activity can help students stay excited about learning and creates purpose for their work in class each day.
- Students practice generating questions for research.
- Reinforce fact checking, bias, and author intent in both researching information and presenting it.
- Oral presentations provide extra public speaking practice that is always so difficult to squeeze into our lessons.
- Students choose topics that they want to learn more about.
- When you can teach it, you KNOW it!
If you’d like your students to learn more about Earth Day, you might be interested in this Earth Day resource in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store.
Happiness always and happy Earth Day,