Quick Tips

Be calm and
don't panic!

Students like to be
involved not lectured to.

The younger the students the more movement and activities are needed.

Discuss activity ideas with the teacher before the visit and enlist her help in control and implementation.

Get them involved in the visit by:

  • Having them touch or hold objects that are part of your visit

  • Have students play roles in the activities you are speaking about

Be yourself and relax; students respond best to "real" people

Tips for Speaking to Young Students

Keep in mind the age and experience of the students and try not to talk "above their heads." It's a good idea to ask the teacher what the students have already learned about the subject.

Honor the time limit given by the teacher. He or she knows the length of the students' attention span.

Bring items the students can see and touch, especially when meeting with very young children. Good attention grabbers include hats, gavels, flags, library cards, street signs, traffic cones, and other objects that relate to municipal government.

Take a memento to hand out to each of the students (at the end of your presentation) so they will remember your visit to school that day. The memento may remind them to talk to their parents about what they learned from you. Pencils, buttons, stickers, pamphlets, etc. are appropriate.

Make your message personal for students, something they can relate to. Ask them questions about their parents or themselves that relate to your topic.

When you ask questions, say, "Raise your hand . . ." so the students will not all start talking and shouting at once. And it is okay to say, "I think I will wait until it is quiet before I go on (or before I call on someone)." Then be sure to wait for quiet, so the students will know you expect them to listen to you and to their classmates.

Try not to let one or two students dominate the discussion. Say "I think I will call on someone who hasn't had a turn (or is sifting quietly, or is remembering to raise his or her hand)."

Give the students your address so they can contact you if they have a concern or need. Write it on the board at the end of your presentation.

Have fun! Enjoy yourself! Children will usually follow suit.

Adapted from "Back to the Classroom" by the North Carolina City and County Management Association