Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Hike Through the Guide Items to Cover

Take time to thoroughly cover the guide. Ensure that participants understand the mission, goals and teaching strategies that undergird PLT, and be sure they are familiar with the guide and know how to find information in it quickly.

Following is a list of items to cover. Those in bold will be asked on the "Hike Through the Guide" quiz, so make a special effort to cover them:

1. Point out the information on the inside of the front cover. Be sure to point out that The American Forest Foundation holds the copyright and the e-mail address for PLT.

2. Cover the themes used in the book on pages ii and iii. Illustrate that all activities in the same theme have the same background color, and each themes is separated by a divider of the same color as the background used throughout the theme. (Look at the edge of the book and you can see the edges of the different colored divider pages.)

3. Cover the introduction. Point out the Mission and goals (page iv and Methods (page vi).

4. (Skip "Activity Components" for now.) Cover "Storylines." Don't try to read all the storylines, just point out that each theme has a definition sentence just under it, then several storylines. Each storyline groups similar activities that address the statement of that storyline.

5. Page xii and xiii -- The national associate sponsors are listed on page xii. Page xiii lists the people involved in writing and testing this book (emphasize that "real" teachers and natural resource professionals -- not just academics -- are involved in constructing this material. That's why it is so realistic and teacher friendly.

6. Activity construction -- pick an activity you modeled during the workshop and point out the following components:
Title -- The title is "catchy" and is designed to pique the reader's interest
Overview -- The overview is a brief synopsis of the activity.
Background Information -- This is one thing that makes the activities "teacher friendly." Using just this information, busy teachers can conduct the activity. It saves time. Of course, some teachers might want to do additional research to prepare to present the activity.
Getting Ready -- Tells you exactly how to prepare to present the activity.
Doing the Activity -- Step-by-step instruction for conducting the activity. Point out that some activities have multiple parts and/or variations.
Enrichment -- An addition to the activity for more advanced students.
Sidebars -- All activities have sidebars that enable users to determine the following at a glance:
1. Grade Levels
2. Subjects
3. Concepts
4. Skills
5. Objectives
6. Materials Needed
7. Time considerations to prepare and present
(End Notes, sidebar on last page of each activity)
8. Assessment Opportunities
9. Related Activities
10. References

7. Glossary on page 371. Explain that each profession has its own "language" and jargon. The education profession does, and so do the biological sciences. If teachers come across an unfamiliar word, it is probably defined here.

8. Appendixes. Point out that Appendix 1 has teaching suggestions, including teaching strategies. Explain that we recognize teachers are experts in their field, and we would not dare try to tell them how to do their jobs, but this appendix gives some suggestions for teaching PLT ACTIVITIES. Just read over the titles of the other appendixes, but spend a bit of time on Appendix 7. It has suggestions for starting an environmental club and constructing an outdoor classroom -- even how to make your own weather station. Outdoor classrooms are becoming very popular, and they are great places to conduct PLT activities. PLT has a grant program called GreenWorks! Teachers might be able to get funds to construct an outdoor classroom. For more information, check the PLT website -- Point out that environmental issues can be controversial, so this guide includes suggestions for teaching controversial issues (Appendix 3, page 378.)

9. Appendix 10 -- point out that this is a list of organizations glad to supply teachers with free or low-cost educational material. Don't be shy -- just ask!

10. Bibliography (page 388)

11. Topic Index (page 388) -- Explain that nearly every topic covered in today's classroom is listed here, along with PLT activities that teach that topic.

12. Subject Index (page 392) -- The subjects are listed across the top; the PLT activities are listed on the left. If a boy and girl icon is printed at the intersection of the two, that activity covers that subject.

13. Grade Index (page 395) -- same construction

14. Time Consideration Index (page 398) -- This is a combined time (left half) and site (right half) index. A teacher can determine the length of time necessary to conduct an activity, and if it is an indoor or outdoor (or both) activity. Construction is the same as those listed above.

15. Skills Index (page 401)

16. Alphabetical Index -- Point out that the activity number is given in blue to the left of the activity title, and the page number is given in b lack to the right.

17. This is not in the Activity Guide, but it is information teachers need, so cover it here: Project Learning Tree Activities are correlated to the State Curriculum Framework. The correlation document is available on the Mississippi PLT website --