What (Some) Teachers Do on Their Summer Vacation
Summer fun and sun is in full-swing for many children across the United States, and while students are getting a brain-break from the classroom, school's not exactly "out for summer" for some teachers. However, for six teachers sponsored by Georgia-Pacific, summer school has never been this fun.
GP has given teachers from communities where it operates in New York, Michigan and Mississippi, a unique opportunity to attend The Keystone Center's 2012 Key Issues Institute: Bringing Environmental Issues to the Classroom. At this week-long workshop in Keystone, Colo., educators are introduced to exciting and relevant environmental lessons for their students, while furthering their own skills and knowledge.
"I've been teaching for almost 20 years and have been to many developmental programs, but my experience at Keystone was a real highlight," said John Oliver, a teacher from Willsboro Central School in Willsboro, N.Y., who attended the program July 10-15. "Not only was the program highly engaging, but working through real-life environmental scenarios will in turn help my students' critical thinking skills in the classroom."
Key Issues Institute is a national training program that provides middle-level educators with the processes, skills and confidence to investigate current environmental issues in a non-biased manner with their students. Past session participants have addressed diverse environmental topics such as solid waste management and water quality.
Within the context of a scientific investigation, teachers spend the week participating in traditional classroom lessons and field activities designed to explore environmental issues. Afterward, participants receive curriculum, instructional materials and lab kits to help introduce new methods and techniques learned at the institute into their own classrooms. The institute also coordinates ongoing online support from other educators and instructors.
Four GP-sponsored teachers attended sessions in June and July, and two additional teachers will be attending the program the week of July 24. Readers can get a glimpse of the program in action through blogger Russell McLendon of Mother Nature Network, who will also participate in next week's training: www.mnn.com/featured-blogs/rmclendon.
Since 1997, GP has sponsored more than 130 teachers from its facility communities to attend the summer institute.