As the National Park Service is celebrating their 100th birthday, we are just getting back to school. I can't think of a better way to kick off the new year with a grand celebration to open the door to new learning for my young students. We enjoyed S'More style birthday cupcakes to compliment the Junior Rangers we made in class.
Youtube is such a wonderful addition to the classroom as we were able to enjoy the very creative birthday song as well as an overview by Finley Holiday. Many of the students were familiar with some of the more prominent National Parks, which led to a very engaging conversation about the parks. One of my students even brought in her collection of Junior Ranger badges (I had mine to show off as well).
Over the years, I have grown to LOVE the National Parks (my husband thinks I am crazy for the Park Rangers). I was not exposed to the NPS as a child and feel like I am making up for it now. The diversity of the system leads to learning about science and social studies and can be differentiated for any grade level. Many of the parks have well developed lesson plans online that can be used for extended learning. My biggest challenge is going to be to limit the number of parks that I share with my students. I want to create a balance between the beauty and conservation efforts of the National Parks with the historic value of the memorials, battlefields and monuments. It is impossible to go wrong with any of my choices.
I am looking forward to the new year for many reasons. It excites me to bring the NPS into my classroom as an educational tool and I am looking forward to more travels to National Parks that I have yet to enjoy. Our studies will be a fun-filled adventure that I am excited to embark upon! More updates down the road!
It was so much fun to spend time with a great colleague planning for the NPS's Centennial Celebration. I am really looking forward to Thursday and the beginning of the activities for the next several weeks in conjunction with the 100th birthday.
It is hard to decide which parks to highlight and share with the students as the choices are so exciting. I am thankful for the collection of NPS brochures that I have collected over the years to share with the students. I do think that is important to highlight the diversity of the park system and the many sites that the NPS protects.
The stories that come from the NPS are inspiring for students of all ages. These stories and the wealth of online resources are going to be an inspiration for learning in our classroom for the upcoming year. Because of the diversity of the park system, the cross-curricular opportunities are a teacher's dream. In my grade, I focus on the social studies and my teammate focuses on the science. The diversity of the NPS offers a fantastic umbrella to focus on both subjects, not to mention art and writing opportunities.
If you have not already seen the NPS WebRangers Program online, please take the time to explore the website. This site offers a great variety fun learning activities applicable to all ages and abilities.
Can't wait until Thursday!!!