Help! I'm going to be talking with some elementary school classes...

Hi, All!

I've been invited to speak to a couple of elementary school classes about the idea of connecting with nature.  Any advice on the best approach, and key points?  I'm great when I'm hanging with kids outside, but in a classroom, it might seem like just another lesson being taught to them.  I am co-presenting with a teenager who is an arctic ambassador, who will be sharing her experiences in the arctic, and about the plight of polar bears.  My role is to pique their interests in connecting with the earth.  I thought I'd start with asking them what they like to do outside, and where they like to go (and maybe how they feel/what they think about nature?).  Would appreciate any other thoughts!

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Hi Jodi.
We "met" yesterday on the conference call - I'm Janice from San Diego.
Before getting into too much, can I ask the grades you'll be addressing and how long you have?
Thanks!
Hi, Janice! Unfortunately, I don't know what ages I'll be addressing. I think I'll have somewhere around 20-30 minutes to talk.

Janice Swaisgood said:
Hi Jodi.
We "met" yesterday on the conference call - I'm Janice from San Diego.
Before getting into too much, can I ask the grades you'll be addressing and how long you have?
Thanks!
Hi Jodi,
I had the privilege last spring of speaking to a group of 50 local 3rd - 6th graders about the importance of getting outdoors and loved the experience! It was a refreshing change from speaking to adult groups on this issue. I developed a PowerPoint slide show to introduce nature-deficit disorder, its associated health costs and benefits of reversing it, and local wild zones to explore...but I spent much of the hour discussing with them outdoor activities they felt they had a right to participate in. At the time, our community was in the process of developing a Homer Children's Outdoor Bill of Rights and we wanted input from the kids themselves. It was so much fun. And the teacher followed up on my visit by assigning the kids to make Outdoor Bill of Rights posters, with each student illustrating (and writing across the top) their favorite outdoor activity. I have all the originals and when I have a chance to scan some, I'll post them here...they're priceless. I later heard from several of the kids' parents that they went home and promptly told their parents they needed to go outside (and some of the reasons why), rather than do chores or homework. Gotta love empowered children! The kids you speak to will most likely love hearing they should spend more time outdoors...hopefully they have the means to make it happen or you can give them some great ideas :o)
Cheers,
Carmen
Carmen - thank you for your great ideas! I love the idea of talking with them about what kinds of outdoor activities they feel they have a right to. And I will certainly share some ideas of local places they can go, and also help them begin noticing what their own nearby nature looks like. I look forward to seeing your kids' drawings. What a wonderful thing, that the kids went right home to demand outside time! :) Best of luck to you on your continued efforts there.

Carmen Field said:
Hi Jodi,
I had the privilege last spring of speaking to a group of 50 local 3rd - 6th graders about the importance of getting outdoors and loved the experience! It was a refreshing change from speaking to adult groups on this issue. I developed a PowerPoint slide show to introduce nature-deficit disorder, its associated health costs and benefits of reversing it, and local wild zones to explore...but I spent much of the hour discussing with them outdoor activities they felt they had a right to participate in. At the time, our community was in the process of developing a Homer Children's Outdoor Bill of Rights and we wanted input from the kids themselves. It was so much fun. And the teacher followed up on my visit by assigning the kids to make Outdoor Bill of Rights posters, with each student illustrating (and writing across the top) their favorite outdoor activity. I have all the originals and when I have a chance to scan some, I'll post them here...they're priceless. I later heard from several of the kids' parents that they went home and promptly told their parents they needed to go outside (and some of the reasons why), rather than do chores or homework. Gotta love empowered children! The kids you speak to will most likely love hearing they should spend more time outdoors...hopefully they have the means to make it happen or you can give them some great ideas :o)
Cheers,
Carmen
Take questions at the end...if you open the door with classrooms, the kids will take over with their stories.

I love their stories, just remember...

Most of our guests make that mistake. A good idea is to jot their ideas down on the board, or have the kids write it down This will really get them connected. This might also help engage them if you take their suggestions first - What does outdoors mean to you in 10 words.., etc.

I love learning from the kids in my class this way. Let your wonderful smile and enthusiam shine the way!
Great advice from someone who would know! Thanks, Chip, for the great tips. I hope my "smiley enthusiasm" will carry it all off. :)

Chip Donahue said:
Take questions at the end...if you open the door with classrooms, the kids will take over with their stories.

I love their stories, just remember...

Most of our guests make that mistake. A good idea is to jot their ideas down on the board, or have the kids write it down This will really get them connected. This might also help engage them if you take their suggestions first - What does outdoors mean to you in 10 words.., etc.

I love learning from the kids in my class this way. Let your wonderful smile and enthusiam shine the way!

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