After having spoken at the NoVA Outside Educator Social, Pamela Clark, Resource Teacher for the Gifted at Arlington’s Campbell Elementary School, was kind enough to put some of tips down in writing for those who might be taking groups for the first time.
Ms. Clark has taken groups of students to the NoVA Outside Student Environmental Action Showcase (SEAS) for five years. In addition to her helpful tips below, check out her letter to parents and student application, a PDF in English and Spanish that can be adapted for others to use.
1. Read the information about SEAS on the NOVA Outside website to get an overview of what it showcases.
2. Talk to your administrator to explain what SEAS is and how it is a chance for some of your students to serve as school representatives sharing what your school does to help the environment. Also ask them about possible transportation options (is. carpooling of parents or a bus.)
3. Talk to the teachers whose students might be involved to get their buy-in since those kids will miss class for a day and need to participate in some work sessions prior to the event.
4. Select kids to participate based on interest, achievement, or whatever criteria you and your school deem appropriate.
5. Get the approval of the parents of those kids. They have to sign a media release as well as a permission form. Plus, they may need to sign-off to allow another parent to transport their child to the event. Possibly arrange for an additional parent chaperone as well.
6. Meet with the kids to help them brainstorm ideas about what they could share about how their school helps the environment. Set up a few work sessions with the students for them to assemble their presentation. Those sessions could happen during some working lunches, but they will also likely need to be pulled from class for a few sessions.
7. Register for the SEAS Event online so the organizers will know you are bringing students.
8. Send home detailed information to parents about the what, when, where of the event so they understand where their child will be and what they will be doing.
9. Have a great time at the event! It’s more than just standing around their display and talking. It’s seeing other students’ projects and presentations, visiting stations sponsored by local environmental organizations, and being inspired by the work that is going on in their community.