One of the best weeks during the Green-Schools Summer term is the Teacher Training course. Teachers and Green-Schools Coordinators have an opportunity to immerse themselves in a week long workshop programme, which covers each of the Green-Schools An Taisce themes.
Some teachers are new to Green-Schools, taking the course to gain an insight into the programme. Others will be long-standing Green-Schools Coordinators looking for refreshing new ideas and approaches to the programme.
Over the five days teachers were given an Introduction to the course and the various themes of the Green-Schools Programme from Green-Schools Officers.
Day 1 started with waste characterisation, practical litter and waste activities for use in the classroom. This was followed by a #2minutestreetclean looking at Litter Black spot grading in the local area. Our Neat Streets Officer presented a dynamic talk on Communications and student engagement tactics.
Day 2 focused on Energy and Global Citizenship with an Introduction to the Energy theme; looking at typical energy usage in schools and how to make reductions. This was followed by a presentation from the Climate Ambassador Programme on Climate Change and Ireland. The group then traveled by foot to the Irish Aid offices on Clonmel St. for an inspirational workshop and a tour of the agency.
Day 3 was spent exploring both the Water and Marine Environment theme. Irish Water representative, Annabel Fitzgerald, delivered a talk on the water treatment process, the work of Irish water and the imperative value of water. Green-Schools Water theme officer conducted an experiments-based workshop on water activities in the classroom. After lunch the group took the second half of the sunny day into the outdoors, traveling by bus to Bull Island. After a beach picnic a talk on ‘all things seaweed’ was enjoyed by all. To finish off a jam-packed day, the group participated in marine litter activities on the beach with the Green-Schools Marine Environment staff.
Day 4 is always a favourite of the week where the course spends the entire day outdoors immersed in a Biodiversity education session. Set within Phoenix Park the group gained an insight into the Biodiversity theme and flow learning methodology in practice. Teachers are challenged to interactive classroom games and activities including the Pollinator Game, Nature Palette building and a bumblebee ID challenge.
The 5th final day is an active day focusing on the Travel theme. Meeting again at Dublin’s Phoenix Park the group availed of hired bikes as their introduction to the Green-Schools Travel theme. Practical tips on preforming helmet checks, the M check of bike and road safety will equip teachers to carry out the Travel theme with students during the year. Teachers participated in cycling game demos and gained further highlights of the Travel theme during a Bike tour of the park . Together the group developed classroom Action plans for Travel.
Keep an eye out for upcoming courses offered by the Green-Schools An Taisce team. Coming up early in the next school year term will be the Teacher Training Seminars. Each year our local authority partners organise seminars to introduce teachers to the new themes they’ll be working on during the academic year. The seminars will be delivered by Green-Schools staff and will present all aspects of the new themes and answer any questions participants of the programme might have. They’re a great way to meet fellow teachers and exchange ideas!