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7 Must-Haves for The Great American Teach-In

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Great American Teach-in is a day local businesses introduce children to the variety of jobs and careers. The Teach-in started off for parents of the classroom students to present their career and what they did on their job. Participation was inadequate so the school system started reaching out to local businesses.

Great American Teach-in is a day local businesses introduce children to the variety of job opportunities. Sometimes opening a young child’s mind to a different and various career options can spark an idea or invention that changes the world. Everyone can’t be a doctor, lawyer, nurse, teacher or police officer.

Here are a few things you must have when presenting at the Great American Teach-In.

1.  You must have the information about your audience. Great American Teach-in can be from grades first one through twelve, but most are in elementary school & junior high. There is a lot of differences in ages, You must know your audience to be an effective speaker. Find out before you go. The first time I was asked to take part, I thought I was speaking to second graders and it ended up to be fifth graders. I did not pull out my cute puppets.

2.  You must have props. Depending on the age of your audience, props are a must. Children of all ages are very visual. ‘Seeing is believing’. It’s true. Nothing is more boring to a child than someone standing there lecturing.

3. You must have a camera. A camera phone will do. You want to have a camera to take pictures of the classroom and, when permitted, the children.  I always put pictures on Facebook and other social platforms. Everyone likes to see their face on the computer, including me. I use my company Facebook page as a journal. That way, I always have a record our activity in chronological order. I have some great pictures and memories of Teach-ins.

4. You must have a slide show or video or pictures, if you don’t have props. Back to the visual component. Hearing is one thing, but being able to use more than one sensory organ, i.e., hearing and seeing, will make your visit extra memorable. Visuals will also help a person keep organized.

5. You must have something to hand out. Today I visited Westshore Elementary for my Great American Teach-in. I spoke to third graders and fourth graders. I handed out stickers that say, “I Recycle Electronics” with our logo and website on it. Before I handed them out, I had the class raise their right hand and repeat after me; “I promise to recycle computers with a responsible recycler.” It’s funny how ten and eleven year olds will do things for a sticker. Suggestions: a coloring book/page, keychain, sticker, or any trinket with your information. 

6. You must have questions for your audience. You will get a lot of ridiculous feedback, especially from the younger ones. But that is just part of the fun. I usually bring obsolete electronics like old car phones and floppy disks. I ask them what they are and how they might have gotten their name. Also, I bring circuit boards from different items. It’s fun to let them guess what they came out of. These days lots of things have computers, e.g. cars, mobile phones, smoke detectors, etc.

7. You must have patience and understanding. The first class of third graders, I handed out postcards. One young lady was fanning herself, and asked ‘why, when she fans herself, does cold air come to her face?’ I told her I had to think about that one, and went to another question. 

Thinking about that last question. The fanned air isn’t actually cooler, but it is just moving fast so it feels cooler; yet a fan can bring the temperature down in a room. I honestly don’t know the answer. Do you?

Here is some old videos I made of some teach-in we did.

P.S. The best part of Great American Teach In is the thank you notes we. get weeks after with hand drawn pictures.


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