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You said…“Yes”! That’s wonderful news! Having a caring adult like you come into your neighborhood school and share your interests, passions, and profession can be such a meaningful experience for the students you visit, and it’s super fun too!

Now, how do you prepare for your classroom visit? Yes, you might know how to keep your children engaged at home, or High-5 the neighborhood kid, but how do you capture and hold the attention of 20 squirmy kiddos?

Well, we’ve got a few tips to point you in the right direction!

Recently, Heather Sawyer, Deering High School’s Ecology teacher, and self-professed “science nerd” joined Sarah Rasmussen’s Longfellow Elementary School classroom in Portland, Maine.

Sarah’s class was studying Maine’s ecology and wanted an expert to come in to share some of what they knew about Maine’s ecology.

Heather jumped at the chance!

We caught up with Heather after the presentation and asked her if she had a few tips for fellow school presenters. Here’s what she said:

Tip #1

Connect with the teacher before the presentation. You should consider your audience and make sure the material is not too easy and not too challenging. Also, students know more than they think they do and when you can activate their prior knowledge, it helps them make a connection to the topic at hand. For example, when teaching the students about various ecosystems in Maine, I asked questions about where they have traveled in Maine and what they remember about how those places looked.

Establishing such a connection is excellent advice! Teachers know their students and how to engage them best; just a little direction from the teacher can make such a difference in hitting a home run with the students.

Tip #2

Hands-on activities are the best. Students are going to get more out of a presentation when they can do more than merely listen. Being able to touch, see, and do is way more fun for them!

What a great line! “Being able to touch, see, and do is way more fun for them!” Moreover, it’s not only fun, but it also helps them retain the information presented. Research shows when you combine activities that require movement, talking, and listening, it activates multiple areas of the brain. Furthermore, the more parts of your mind you use, the more likely students can retain information!

Tip #3

You need to be prepared, excited, and have clear instructions before you engage them (students) with the “cool stuff”! I remember trying to do a water lab with some 2nd graders…and I put them in front of buckets of water with toys and then attempted to give directions, needless to say, it was a disaster!

Oh boy! That’s quite the visual and an excellent point. Great teachers are like captains of ships, and for your presentation, you will be leading the crew! You’re going to do great!

Thanks for the tips Heather!

We hope this is helpful and look forward to hearing about your classroom adventures! Bon Voyage!

If you’re an educator and have some advice you’d like to share to connect teachers and students with your local community better, we’d love to hear from you! You can find us on Facebook or you can email Simon Williams our CEO/Founder at simon@schoolsquare.com

PS – The image for this post was done by a student in Ms. Rasmussen’s class at Longfellow Elementary! It’s awesome, right?!