When you are comfortable taking your students outside for activities on your existing site, your ideas for curriculum connections grow. If adding something to enhance your site will help student learning, go for it! Site enhancements can be done as needs arrive or while you are Developing Your Site.
Enhancing your site can be as easy as setting out a bench or picking up litter!
D. C. Everest Middle School’s prairie restoration provides more than just beauty. It provides a great opportunity to teach outside the school building. Janis Krueger and Cindy Damrow attended the RESTORE Institute with the Earth Partnership for Schools Program at the UW Arboretum in Madison. With inspiration from the training and a vision for what could be, a native prairie began to take shape outside the DC Everest Middle School. The approximately 900 square foot area contains plant species that students investigated, grew, and planted!
You can see ideas will grow quickly. Before you get too far, take the time to answer a few questions.
Before you start enhancing your site, step back and gather some information from teachers, administrators, custodians, students, community members, and parents. These Needs Assessments are an important part of Developing Your Site and will be a good starting point for Enhancing Your Site as well. The assessments will help you answer some important questions.
We’ve created example needs assessments that you may want to use for gathering information. Remember, there are free online tools to help you conduct your survey as well that make it easier to administer and tabulate the results.
Remember to take a look at what the site has to offer. If you choose to go on and “Develop Your Site,” the site assessment will be very important. You’ll get great information to consider and a head-start on a potential future project if you take the time now to do a site assessment.