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Targeted Materials

Educational Outreach Toolkits for Partners or Stations

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Educational outreach toolkits include everything your partners or stations need to know to do educational outreach for your project. These toolkits might include any or all of the following, depending upon your subject and budget:

  • Notebook with information about the project, sample press releases, ideas for events and activities, information about partners, logos and graphics, legal and funding information, etc.
  • CD-ROM with graphics, photography, sample video, a PowerPoint presentation teachers can use for their own presentations, templates for local funding proposals, press releases, etc.
  • Print materials, such as teacher's guides, postcards, posters, videos, your trade book, as well as inexpensive giveaways -- anything that would help partners or stations implement educational outreach for your project locally

Materials for After-School Programs

After-school programs are wonderful places to do educational outreach. They target kids (generally only up through middle school) and appreciate good activity ideas and support. Assume that staff in informal educational settings may not have formal teaching experience or background in your subject area. Therefore, your print materials need to include more background than those for formal classrooms, and they should also offer ideas for easy-to-implement activities that use readily available materials. You don't want your activities to feel like "school," but you may be able to reach (and teach) kids who feel alienated in a more formal school setting.

Materials for Museums

Museums can be valuable educational outreach partners, particularly when their collections are in sync with content from your project, or when you share a target audience (for example, children's museums). Museums train teachers (or can host a training you facilitate), and also run programming directly with kids and families. As with after-school programs, the experience and background of the activity leaders will vary. You can provide activity guides for them to use (developed with advisors pulled from the museum educator world). You can also partner with museums to create other resources that support museum programs, such as curricula for overnight museum "camp-ins," demonstrations for the museum floor, and even hands-on exhibits.

Materials for Libraries

Libraries are an excellent venue for reaching children and families. Most libraries hold free programs and events. Materials that would be useful to libraries include activity ideas related to your project, particularly if it's book-based; suggestions for book displays; posters with literacy-related messages (not too big); and giveaways, like bookmarks.

Materials for Families

Parents play an important educational role in children's lives, and you can create valuable materials to support them. The key to making family activity guides and other materials work as educational outreach is to make sure your educational goals are clear and your activities and information are educationally sound. Distribution can be a challenge. You need to identify where the families that you want to target are located, and find a distribution partner. Partners could include local public television stations, faith-based organizations, teachers, or specific educational or community-based organizations.

Materials for Youth

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Creating materials specifically for students can be cost-prohibitive because of the sheer numbers involved. Student materials are still possible, though, particularly if you research low-cost production or distribution strategies, such as printing on newsprint, distributing materials electronically for kids to print out on their own, or only giving materials to your model sites.

Here are just a few of the possible low-cost strategies:

  • Include reproducible materials in a teacher's guide.
  • Create a 60-page booklet made up of 30 copies of the same four pages packaged together, and send to teachers.
  • Partner with a magazine targeting youth, and provide content that fits its editorial structure.
  • Publish content for students, such as primary sources or readings, on your Web site, and point to it in your teacher's guide.
  • Create PDF files of student materials that teachers can download and print out from your Web site.
  • Work with the Newspaper in Education (NIE) departments at newspapers. To increase their paper's circulation, NIE departments sell subscriptions to schools, often by offering free educational supplement sections. You could create a supplement based on your program (it needs to include newspaper-based activities) and provide it to newspapers as camera-ready art for them to print and distribute. Unfortunately, you have to approach each newspaper individually, which can be time-consuming.

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