What is it?
By observing the birds that visit their school grounds, pupils and teachers help monitor UK bird numbers between January 19 and 30.
If the whole school is taking part in the birdwatch, running an assembly on it is an excellent way to start.
There are plenty of useful resources on the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds site www.rspb.org.ukschoolswatch, but the best prop for an assembly could be the PowerPoint presentation of British birds, which can be found on the resources section of the TES website (see below).
You could start by playing the pupils some birdsong as they enter the hall, and ask for the names of birds they know. What birds do they see regularly? What would the landscape be like without them? What factors might affect their survival?
Emphasise that the birdwatch is an excellent way to find out what is happening to birds around the country over the years, and whether a changing climate is also having an effect on our wildlife.
You could explain that the school is taking part in a proper scientific study and that the results build up to some important evidence.
Help, I've no time to prepare
This PowerPoint presentation of birds on the TES resource bank is a useful start. Visit www.tes.co.ukSEOHandler.ashx?storycode=3001168pageType=ResourceDetailtitle=Garden+Birds+of+Great+Britain.
Where can I go for more information?
The RSPB has a special website devoted to the Big Schools' Birdwatch, which is packed with resources. www.rspb.org.ukschoolswatchaboutindex.asp.