In this set of activities adaptable for grades K-3, parents and educators will find ideas for teaching children about what it’s like to go to school. These activities are designed to complement the BrainPOP Jr. School topic page, which includes a movie, quizzes, online games, printable activities, and more.
Classroom Activities for Teaching About School
Have students pick someone who works in the school and interview them about their job. The interviewee could be a teacher, administrator, office worker, custodian, bus driver, noon aid, school nurse, etc. Help students prepare interview questions. What skills does the person need to do his or her job? What did the person have to study in order to succeed at his or her job? What tasks does the person do in his or her job? What are the best and worst parts of the job?
Students can make presentations about their interviewee and share what they learned with the class. Students may wish to make visual aids, such as posters, or even bring in a snippet of a recording from the interview. Students can also write a quick biography or profile of their subject.
Have students brainstorm ways to improve their school. What problems does the school face? How can they be solved? What can be done better in the school? Have students talk to teachers, principals, or administrators to discuss the school’s problems and how they can be improved. Students may want to start a campaign to raise awareness or funds. Students may want to raise money to get better science or sports equipment or gather donations for the library or beautify the school.
Together as a class, pick a school improvement project. This can be painting a mural, repainting walls, decorating hallways, or reviving the playground with flowers and plants. If funds are needed to complete the project, have your class organize a bake sale, penny harvest, or other fundraiser. What will be the best way to spend the money to make improvements? This activity can help students learn how to maintain a budget.
Turn your classroom into a school museum. Have students gather “artifacts” from different parts of the school. For example, a student may get a menu from the cafeteria, a card catalogue entry or book from the library, a whistle from the gymnasium, or a bandage from the school nurse. Have students write descriptions on small white cards and post them next to their “artifact.” Students can also make a diorama or model of their school, mapping out the principal’s office, classrooms, cafeteria, playground, etc. A “tour guide” can lead patrons through the museum and students can make short presentations of their object.
We’ve Got Spirit, How About You?
One way to get students excited about education is to raise their school spirit. Have students brainstorm ways to get fellow students excited about school. What are the best parts of their school? Have students gather ideas on how to play up the best parts of their school. Start a school colors campaign, design posters to put around the school, and create cheers or songs heralding the school. Encourage students to understand that if they have pride in their school they will be excited about learning and their futures and they will want to improve their surroundings.
Family and Homeschool Activities for Teaching About School
Have your child talk to different family members and friends to learn about the schools they attended. Together with your child, prepare interview questions. What was the person’s elementary, middle, and high school like? How many students went to each school? How many students were in the classes? What was their favorite subject and why? By talking to different people, your child will learn different school experiences and be able to compare them to their own experiences. How was a grandparent’s school experience similar and different to their own? What do people study in college?
Eyes on Education
Create education goals with your child. When will she or he finish elementary, middle, and high school? Where would your child like to go to college or a vocational school? What job would your child like to have when she or he grows up? What skills does your child need to pursue this career? Create a long-term education and career plan with your child. Together draw a timeline that projects these goals and have your child write in his or her notebook to describe how she or he will meet these goals. Over the year, revisit the goals and discuss how they have or have not been met and make new goals.
One of the best ways to learn is to teach. Have your child play the role of the teacher by preparing a lesson plan. Help your child pick a lesson and gather the information and materials he or she needs to teach. For example, your child may want to research on the internet and gather photographs or pictures from magazines and books. Your child can create visual aids and worksheets or organize a fun project about his or her subject. Then gather family members and friends and have your child teach. “Students” can raise their hands and ask questions.