What’s on Your 2015–2016 Humane Education Bucket List?

You’re officially back in the classroom, with the year in full swing, and it probably feels like summer break never even happened, right? As you get in the groove of a new school year and settle in with your new group of students, you also have the opportunity to set some goals for yourself for humane education. Whether you just want to start small by incorporating animal rights into a lesson plan or have big plans to take on the school district in an effort to stop field trips to the roadside zoo, any steps you take toward educating students on important animal issues can make a huge difference—and there’s no better time to start than now.

Need some inspiration for what to put on your humane-education bucket list this year? We’ve got it! Check out the following ideas:

Put an animal rights twist on a lesson plan.

Teacher-Spotlight

Whether you grab a free lesson plan off our website, order free materials to supplement a class discussion, or simply emphasize animal rights in one of your own lesson plans, pledge to include at least one lesson plan on an animal rights issue this school year (and more if you can). For teachers who are new to humane education, this is a great way to start.

Hold a fundraiser for animals.

Rose McCoy Holds PETA Bake Sale at Clinton School for Writers and Artists

Service-learning projects are important for all students—and they can really help animals, too. Raise money for a local open-admission animal shelter by having a vegan bake sale, or host a drive to collect helpful supplies like old blankets, towels, leashes, and dog and cat toys. You can also have students improve the lives of chained “backyard dogs” through TeachKind’s free, all-inclusive Change for Chained Dogs fundraising pack.

Get a vegan option in your school’s cafeteria.

Veggie Burger

Every student should be able to enjoy a delicious and nutritious animal-free meal at lunch, so if your school doesn’t already have a vegan option, take action. Sometimes it’s as easy as simply calling the issue to the attention of your principal or cafeteria director. We’re happy to help provide you with a list of bulk recipes or food-service providers that offer vegan meals.

Start an animal rights club.

Jessica Kocin

Animal rights clubs are a great platform through which you can tackle all different animal-related campaigns, plus have the freedom to educate your students about issues that you couldn’t work into your daytime curriculum.

Campaign against classroom dissection.

There’s no excuse to hurt an animal, and science class is no exception. Studies show that students who use humane alternatives to dissection (like virtual-dissection software) learn biology better than students who dissect animals. Work with your science department to replace dissection using TeachKind’s many free humane science resources.

Speak up for classroom “pets.”

hamster in cageFreeImages.com/Heilig Szabolcs

Some teachers mistakenly believe that having animals in their classrooms is a good way to teach students about responsibility, animal care, and science. Although these teachers undoubtedly have good intentions, a classroom simply isn’t a suitable home for an animal. Make it a point to speak up in behalf of animals and talk to fellow teachers about why animals don’t belong in the classroom.

Ensure that your school hosts field trips and fundraisers that don’t support cruelty to animals.

Ballerina-Led Ringling Bros. ProtestPhoto by Cynthia King

By taking kids to places such as roadside zoos and circuses for field trips or sponsoring inhumane “donkey basketball” games to raise funds, schools send students a dangerous message: that it’s OK to take advantage of, bully, and even abuse those who are weaker than they are. Talk to your colleagues about why we should never use animals for entertainment—or even better, work with your school or district to ban field trips or fundraisers that involve using animals.

 

Now that you’ve got some ideas, we want to know: What’s going on YOUR humane-education bucket list for this school year? Let us know below, and we’ll follow up with you once next semester rolls around to check in on your progress, send you some words of encouragement, and see if there’s anything we can do to help make sure that you reach your goals for animals.

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We can’t wait to hear about your goals and help you turn them into reality!

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind