Mapping Out Community Resources

March 9, 2012
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There’s a world of valuable resources waiting just outside your school door–local people, places, and things that can bring real life into your classroom and your curriculum. INSTRUCTOR asked teachers from across the country to tell us about their most useful community resources. Here are a few of their favorites, plus tips for finding and using resources in your community.

Teachers at an Elementary School in Tri Cities, Washington, say they can’t name just one favorite community resource–they work in multiples Physical education teacher Anne Kretzing organized her second annual Wellness Day on a “budget of nothing,” with the help of local health professionals. Anne recruited a dietitian, several doctors, an operating-room nurse, and aerobics instructors. She also arranged for a blood pressure station and exhibits by the state health department and other organizations. The volunteers kept the Wellness Day running until 7 P.M., so parents could attend.

Meanwhile, a fifth-grade teacher is making connections with the YWCA in nearby Walla Walla, Washington to partner with her for needed programs. Marie’s students recently participated in an assertiveness training workshop offered by the Y. “Children really do need this,” she says. And that’s important to YWCA staff members, who advises teachers to make their needs known to their local Y. “If someone wants a program, we can often go out and find the funding,” she says.

TIPS FOR TAPPING INTO COMMUNITY RESOURCES

* Your local Chamber of Commerce may be the best starting point for locating businesses and organizations in your community that might be eager to serve as classroom resources.

* When you invite community guests to address your class, be sure to meet with them beforehand to gauge their comfort level with kids and offer a few pointers about your particular class. This is especially important if you teach the younger grades.

* Consider pooling your community resource ideas with other teachers in your school or district to compile a local directory.

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