It’s back-to-school season! Which means educators everywhere are looking for new teaching strategies and classroom resources to add to their upcoming fall curriculums. There are a myriad of tools out there and in the age of smart phones and social media it can be difficult to keep students engaged and on-track. This means that finding resources that fit within your teaching approach and captivates students in the classroom can be a challenge. Good news! In addition to great curriculum-based resources and products, Discovery Education partners with like-minded corporations and organizations to bring the real world into your classroom – even at the start of the school year. Below are our top 5 programs to set the stage for a great school year and ease your students back into learning!
#1: Set expectations for a positive classroom experience with Soar with Wings (Grades K–5)
Getting back to school ready isn’t just hard on the teachers: it can be difficult for students as well. Easing back into the mindset of school, homework, and studying can be difficult after three months of summer vacation. Soar with Wings has the social and emotional learning resources that highlight strategies to ensure your students start the new year off right.
Some of our favorite resources include:
- Professional Development Video: If you are new to incorporating social and emotional learning (SEL) in the classroom, this program features a comprehensive video that is easy to navigate and provides a number of useful strategies and tactics to support introducing these resources to your students.
- Soar with Wings Digital Lesson Bundles are great resources that utilize role-play and storytelling to help students explore self-awareness, self-management, and empathy. These lesson bundles are SO easy to use and come with a step-by-step instructor guide and ready-made PowerPoint lessons!
You can further extend your students’ opportunity to explore this program with the launch of the Soar with Wings Virtual Field Trip on September 26!
#2: Build Curiosity with Science Fair Central (Grades 6–12)
Science Fair Central has resources that are all about making, creating and exploring, which can be a fun way to ease students back into a school environment. Hands-on activities help show students how they can make a concrete and tangible impact on the world and expand curiosity for how they can create and innovate for the future. These easy-to-implement activities are a great way to add some variety to the first days of school while still creating hands-on, STEM-focused learning experiences.
Here are some of our favorite Science Fair Central resources:
- Classroom Activities: The maker spirit is all about “learning-through-doing.” You can infuse this same spirit into your secondary classrooms with these standards-aligned, hands-on activities designed to encourage exploration and spark curiosity with your students.
- Family Activities: Excited to encourage parent participation in a new ways this school year? Science Fair Central’s parent resources provide great, easy-to-implement thought starters to extend STEM lessons at home in a fun, but meaningful way.
#3: Encourage Sustainable Happiness with Experience Happiness (Grades 6–12)
Help older students learn to manage the stress of a new school year! Stress is a natural aspect of being human, but too much of it can lead to poor performance in school, unhealthy behaviors, and ultimately, unhappiness. How do we help students de-stress and experience happiness when they are arguably one of the most stressed demographics in our population? LG’s Experience Happiness has some of the most robust and comprehensive resources geared towards teens that helps them manage stress, practice mindfulness, and understand the importance of a positive outlook and human connection.
Here are some of our favorite resources:
- Six Sustainable Happiness Skills: Experience Happiness has worked with the Greater Good Science Center to identify six skills of sustainable happiness: mindfulness, human connection, positive outlook, purpose, generosity, and gratitude. Encourage your students to practice these skills every day and start on a journey towards a happier, healthier, and stress-free life!
- This Is Your Brain on Happiness Activity: Happiness is an essential aspect of what it means to be human. Students will explore the science behind happiness and how happiness can affect our sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.
#4: Encourage students to have a major impact on their world this year with Conservation Station (Grade 6–9)
Humans have caused changes to our natural environment and sometimes it can feel like we are helpless in the face of new statistics, natural disasters, and sustainability crises. However, Conservation Station has incredible resources that can help students feel empowered to take action and create positive change across the world.
Here are some of our favorite resources:
- Harnessing Energy in Your School Activity: In this activity, students will discover how they can harvest energy at their school from the simple act of walking, sharpening their pencil, or running around the gym and come up with a design sketch of an energy-harvesting product!
- Virtual Field Trip: Students will tour the Itron Innovation Center in this no-permission-slip-necessary Virtual Field Trip! Students will see smart city technology in action and learn how conserving energy and water can lead to widespread positive global impact.
#5: Hungry to learn? Explore Super Healthy, Super You! (Grade 3–5)
Kick off the new school year by helping your students develop healthy habits that will last a lifetime! Getting students on a healthy trajectory early is the best method to ensure long-lasting healthy habits and Super Healthy, Super You has some great resources to get students interested in health both inside and outside of the classroom.
- Community Challenge: What’s a better way to start of the new school year than a student challenge with a $10,000 grand prize? Encourage your students to enter the Super Healthy, Super You Challenge and work together to come up with a solution for a health-related issue in their school or community!
- Finding the Energy Lesson Plan: Finding the energy to get back into the school spirit after summer vacation won’t be difficult with this lesson plan! Students will learn about the energy they gain from carbohydrates – including where they come from, where they’re found, and what they do.
Getting back into the school groove doesn’t have to be a drag! Each of these programs offers exciting educator resources to bring the ‘Cool’ into ‘School’, and provides real-world, hands-on learning experiences that show students the impact they can have both inside and outside of the classroom! Start the new year off right and check out these resources today!
Theresa Duncan, Discovery Education