The Importance of “Using People”

I have to brutally honest.  I despise field trips.  Not because I don’t think they are valuable–I most certainly do.  It’s just that I am a worrier.  It will be ME that forgets to order the bus . . . MY kid who throws up at the state capitol (yes, it happened) . . . MY student who gets stung by a bee.

So–I can’t lie.  I dread them.  What I DO love is bringing people in to the school to expose our students to things they otherwise would not have access to . . . and I need to do it more.  This week the students have had 4 different opportunities to interact with adults at school in a totally different context.

* Yesterday the 4th grade hosted its “career day” organized by our guidance counselor who brings in parents to talk to students about their jobs.  Each student gets to go with small group (8-10) of students to hear FIVE different speakers.  Yesterday the group I hosted saw two different engineers, a fiscal planner, an Apple computer rep, and a limnologist.  (Yes, it’s a real job!)  Other students saw a karate school owner, a nurse, and several other careers.  It’s a really neat way to talk about how important their work as students is–and how it all leads to what they want to do in the future!

* Today we saw TWO different speakers.  Two of my students had been hooked up by the GT/Enrichment teacher with a local professor who is a BIG deal with NASA and is second in command of one of the cameras on the Mars Rover.  The boys corresponded with her, researched, and then shared their findings with the class. Today she came to talk to the students and was FANTASTIC!  The kids hung on her every word and every photo!  She even admitted that she was not “math smart” and had to work SO hard–but that she knew she wanted to be a space scientist so she worked super hard.  What a great lesson!  Check it out!

* Believe it or not, we had a SECOND speaker today–I would not typically do that, but schedules are tricky this time of year.  This speaker is associated with the Wisconsin Dairy Industry and came in and talked about agriculture in Wisconsin and all the wonderful products we grow here.  Most students did not know cherries grow on trees or that cranberries grow in bogs . . . and we learned a lot about nutrition along the way.  Free!  I’m sure that other states have similar programs that can be accessed!

* After school today we had our school wide enrichment day.  Students can choose to attend two different one hour sessions run by teachers, parents, and community members on a variety of topic ranging from cupcake decorating to golf to martial arts  to friendship bracelet making to “ooey gooey science”!  Approximately 75% of our students attend and get to try something new at school.

* Coming up in a few weeks, the fourth grade is bringing in a “Trunk Show” program from our local historical society.  A representative comes in and brings artifacts from a certain period in time and turns our activity room into a mini museum for an hour!  Again–free!

So . . . what kinds of people do you “use” in your school?  Let’s share some ideas–and as budgets get tighter and tighter, we are going to have to get even better at capitalizing on local resources.  Hope you all had a great day!