Teaching teachers about nature education!

July 15, 2010

Field trip at KOP, spring 2010

It’s summer time and school’s IN! But now the teachers are the students!

What better way to spread the joy of nature than to teach teachers how to teach their students about nature? Environmental Education and Volunteer Director Laura Childers is conducting several teacher trainings this month to equip Visalia-area teachers with ideas and tools that will engage their students with the infinite lessons that nature has to teach us all.

This week, Laura gave her first teacher training of the summer season and engaged a diverse mix of about 30 teachers in the giggly fun of making new discoveries about nature. “We laughed about the way lizards try to have the bluest belly to attract their mates,” said Laura. “We also cooed at cute kit foxes, marveled at the wisdom of ravens [did you know that ravens are the smartest birds around?] and acted out the life of a ground squirrel.”

Laura presented all the teachers with a solid week of nature curriculum that can be used in the classroom. Each day of the “Nature Week” has a theme: plants, birds, mammals, recycling and a planned field trip to KOP (hopefully!). What’s really great is that all the lesson plans are based on standards needed to pass the California STAR test. For instance, one of the science lessons teaches kids about solar energy and uses a “solar cooker” made from a shoe box, foil and cellophane to cook up delicious nachos.

So far, surveys indicate that 100% of the teachers plan to use the “Nature Week” lesson plans. No doubt, students have some exciting (and tasty) lesson plans in store for them when school starts in August!

These teacher training seminars are being conducted by ProYouth/HEART as part of their required Summer Training seminar series. By the end of July, about 200 afterschool teachers will have completed the training, including the “Nature Week” seminar. Anyone is invited and encouraged to attend these seminars, not just ProYouth/HEART teachers. Attendees can earn also earn COS credit. Visit http://www.proyouthheart.org/ for more information, or call Laura at 559-738-0211, ext. 103 (or email: laura@sequoiariverlands.org).