Today’s class was such a wonderful experience and a really awesome example for us to learn from in terms of teaching outdoor education. I feel like I learned an immense amount from Cristina, Christine and Lisa about what I need to be aware of and think about when planning for an alternative environment activity. There are a whole new set of requirements when bringing a group of kids into the outdoors and we have to be aware of all the safety issues and risks. I appreciated being taught what to tell students if they got lost outdoors and also how to organize the activity in ways that quell parent and administrator concerns. We must enlist the help of parents, other teachers, support staff and even older students in order to have a good adult to student ratio. We also need to make sure we are aware of the liabilities and waivers that need to be signed before taking kids for a lesson outside. Furthermore, we must have sufficient knowledge of first-aid or have someone on the excursion who does have this knowledge. Teaching an outdoor education class, or simply teaching any class outside, is such a valuable and worthwhile thing for us to do. I feel much less nervous about doing it after today’s class.
After reading the chapters for this week, there is so much to consider when planning a unit or even a lesson. I think routines, organization, clear communication and relationship building are some of the most important strategies for enhancing the learning environment for students. Especially for the younger grades, routines are so important. They reduce time wasted on classroom management issues or confusion. They get the kids into an activity and learning much faster and more efficiently. This ties in with organization. The ways you organize your students for activities has a huge impact on their comfort levels, feeling of safety and also their engagement in the exercise. The clearer our instructions, the quicker we can start playing and getting active. It reduces confusion and also helps with relationship building between teacher and students. The respect that comes from those clear interactions will help us be effective in engaging our students and keeping them excited about P.E.