Last week’s outdoor P.E class was fantastic!! It will definitely be a class that I will always remember. I thought that Jackie, Lexi, Brianna and Katy did such a wonderful job of leading the class. They were very organized, and everything flowed and transitioned very nicely.
I really enjoyed the different stations that the group had set up, and that each station had a different focus. This shows that outdoor education is holistic, and does not necessarily mean it has to always be active. For instance, I really enjoyed the art station where we created images out of natural materials. This could also transition into a math class where you have students looking at patterns, or perhaps even ratios (how many pine cones to leaves does your image have?) !
I think that many teachers are a bit hesitant to take their students outside for fear of not being able to control the students, or for not being able to keep track of where all the students are. However, if the expectations are clearly stated before the students go outside, then taking the class outside, should be a beneficial experience for both the students and the teachers. Plus, I think that the more going outside becomes a routine, the more likely students will respect and understand the teachers expectations.
Outdoor education is definitely something I would really like to incorporate into my teaching style, so this was such a wonderful way to feel inspired!
Awesome job Jackie, Lexi, Brianna and Katy!!
I use to work at an Outdoor Camp for children and from that experience I learned there’s so much value in teaching alternative environment/outdoor education. The outdoors doesn’t just offer an alternative space, but it provides students the ability to develop independence and self-reliance. In the outdoors, students can learn how to adapt, face new challenges, and overcome fears or apprehensions they otherwise wouldn’t face indoors. Active learning in the outdoors also introduces young people to the environment in a way in which they can develop understanding and appreciation for nature. They can build a connection to nature and therefore understand the contexts of today’s issues of sustainability. We live in a complex world where we continue to exploit the environment and all it’s natural resources, if children are aware of these growing issues then perhaps they can become stewards of change in helping protect it.
I would think for many of us school was the first place where we learned or first participated in outdoor education. I’m glad that schools today understand the value of outdoor education, just not the activity aspect of it, but also its impact on someone’s physical development and mental well-being. We live in a digital world where kids are recorded spending more time in front of screens than outside. I’m afraid that the growing immersion of technology in almost every aspects of our daily life could potentially disconnect younger generations from the outdoors. As an educator, I want to ensure this doesn’t happen. I want to integrate the natural environment just not in PE class but in other subjects. For example, teaching environmental issues/concepts in depth (and preferably outside) during subjects like Science or Social Studies.
I really enjoyed our class last week, as I’m sure most of us did! I think we could all collectively agree that we enjoy being outside, whether it’s just for a walk or rigorous exercise or sitting quietly and reading. One thing that always stands out for me when I was in school (both elementary and secondary) was when we got to go outside. Sometimes we even got to go outside for our silent reading block, which was awesome.
I really liked how the group teach mixed it up a bit and implemented a scavenger hunt (my favorite)! I appreciated that they incorporated a range of values/aspects into the scavenger hunt. For instance, they covered nutrition, teamwork, motivation and even looking after the environment (picking up a piece of garbage) within the hunt. On top of that, I loved that we continued walking to the beautiful forest AND even did our teaching summaries out in the sun at WesBrook Village. Thank you Steve!
It’s important to find times throughout the day where you can bring your students outside. Over the last 2 visits at practicum I have noticed two different occasions where teachers implement this. One teacher told the class that they were going to head outside and they voted on whether they wanted to either sit in the forest to be silent and reflect or head out to a viewpoint where they could see the ocean. AMAZING! The other example was a teacher taking her class out for 5 minutes to grab some fresh air and run a couple of laps around the field. I loved this because it allowed the kids to get up and move and get some fresh air. I think its healthy for children to clear their head a bit, especially if they have been sitting working hard at something for a long period of time. It’s a nice way to break up the day.
Being active and being outside is a huge priority of mine and as a future educator I will most definitely get my students outside at any opportunity I can.
See you Wednesday!
First of all, hats off to the Outdoor Education Team Teach last week. What a great job at taking our learning outside and having lots of fun getting active in the fresh air and sunshine!
I have been thinking a lot about outdoor activity lately. I have my practicum at an elementary school in West Vancouver and have been assigned to the kindergarten class. As the “little ones” at the school they have an assigned playground where there are several swings and climbing structures and such traditional items. However, I have noticed that every time they are excused for recess and lunch they run off to the area of the playground that borders a natural forest. It has lots of trees and a more rugged terrain and the students always spend their free play time there collecting rocks and swinging from tree branches. No one seems to be interested in playing in the structured playground area.
It led me to think about how much kids just love to be outside! Rain or shine they want to naturally explore and engage with others and the environment. So, I have been thinking about others ways that I could engage the kindergarten class in outdoor learning. What first came to mind was group mini hikes, as West Vancouver has lots of beautiful easy nearby trails, that would be good for younger children. There are also beaches and small lakes and waterfalls too. What a great way to also incorporate some learning about ecosystems and sustainability. But, while these ideas seem fun I am still unsure how I can organize transport and extra adult supervision and what types of legal formalities I am required to complete. As this task seems a little daunting, I will require clarification from my school advisor. Perhaps, these types of hurdles are what inhibit some teachers from planning outdoor education excursions?
Therefore, I thought I would start small. We have a beautiful field at my practicum school where I thought we could do some fun activities, but also perhaps some lessons. What about literacy outdoors? Reading and drawing outside incorporated into some type of physical activity that pertains to the literacy might work. For example, reading a story about the environment and then finding leaves and flowers from a scavenger hunt around the field that the students can then draw or paste into scrapbooks. I also thought that in an effort to support the inquiry learner a community garden outside the classroom might be a fun project which marries physical components with lesson plan initiatives. Of course, as the weather worsens with the arrival of winter this might become a little tricker, but I think more simplistic outdoor concepts might be a good place to start.
I look forward to working towards these outdoor initiatives and engaging my students in finding out what they would like to do and what they would like to learn. I think there are many ways in which we can incorporate outdoor learning into our classroom teachings and I hope to do lots of it soon!