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!
One thing I reflected on this week was how PE was taught in my practicum school. This past week I was able to see two different PE classes with two different teachers. Interestingly, both classes played some form of dodgeball. The grade 7 class played a variation of dodgeball called partner dodgeball where they were taking turns hitting their partner. The grade 3 class played “skittles” a game where they had to hit down pins in the back of the opposite territory. Then they played the version of dodgeball where once a student is hit they go to the opposite side and have to hit someone on the opposite team to get back into the game. It is interesting to see so much of a hall of shame game being played in the classroom.
The result of this really made me think about how I would plan a PE lesson. I think my first PE lesson will be one with a variety of activities and one that is inclusive for all students. As I get to know the students I can learn what they enjoy doing and plan inclusive games around their interests.
We looked at alternative environments for lessons. My school is located within a residential area so walking to other environments is limited. However, they have a huge grass field in the back. There is a lot of space to set up fun amazing race, obstacle course type games. Some of the activities we did in this week’s class would work really well in this environment.
I really enjoyed this week’s lesson by Jackie, Lexi, Katy, and Brianna. They had a great lesson and did a wonderful job of not just telling us, but showing us some examples of outdoor environment lessons. Lexi’s station with “mine field” is a great team-building activity that could be done indoors, but moving outside brings a new level of fun and excitement. It’s so important for students to have an opportunity to go outside and be active throughout the day. This encourages both physical and mental health.
I also loved that we learned how to incorporate other curricular areas into alternate environments. Katy’s station with the planes could incorporate science or math, while still allowing children to be outside and active. Jackie’s station was a great way to include art, environmental studies, and physical education within a lesson. We all know that Physical Education classes are important for children…I liked that this week’s lesson focused on the importance of physical activity and being outdoors across all classes. As teachers, we should try to bring classes outdoors as much as we can. I remember as a kid, we were rarely allowed to go outside during class, but I always loved class whenever we did. Moving class to alternative environments is a great way to make students more interested and involved, while also allowing students to include more physical activity in their day.
Wow, you guys. Awesome job this week! I feel like the bar is raised for each group teach we have. It was so inspiring to be outside, and be able to use our bodies and brains out in the fresh air. You guided us through such an interactive and fun lesson where we were able to appreciate and make use of our local, natural environment in new and engaging ways. The balloon activities espoused teamwork and strategy, while the blindfold activity promoted trust and communication. Gathering leaves and natural materials to create art showcased the cross-curricular potential of outdoor education. We are extremely fortunate to have UBC as our playground, there are tons of exciting spaces to explore and utilize. The questions that arose for me, had to do with how to make the most of local environments that are perhaps less immediately inspiring. I was glad to have the opportunity to discuss this in class, and appreciated the input everybody had on the topic. Ideas like painting hop-scotch on the concrete outside urban schools, or using sidewalk chalk to create creative learning spaces outside inspired that this is an approach we can implement across the board. I think the key to this approach is to maintain the holistic and inclusive focus that Jackie, Brianna, Katie and Lexi employed on Friday. To me, that is the advantage of alternative environments – to engage different perspectives and experiences that encompass the whole student. As we saw, if structured appropriately with clearly presented expectations and instructions, these lessons can run just as smoothly as traditional indoor PE classes.
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!
This was my first “practice teach”, and I must say it was a great learning experience. The first thing that struck me was the energy that was generated just by being outside – we were blessed with beautiful sunshine, the fresh air was invigorating, and Meghan’s enthusiasm was contagious! Even though our class was nothing fancy – we didn’t go on a paddleboarding field trip, or go on a hike up at Grouse Mountain – merely being outdoors had a positive impact on our physical and mental well-being.
One thing that I learned from this group teach was the importance of clear, written communication. I can be a bit of an “organization freak”, and throughout the process of planning our lesson, I color coded and made charts to my heart’s content. Our group discussed all of the logistics and felt ready to go. After the lesson however, Steve pointed something out that none of us realized – even though we had discussed and expressed everything in our group teach, not everything was documented in our lesson plan. We did not realize the importance of written communication – if “something” is not written down, those who were not part of our discussions would never know that that “something” ever existed. What if, as a future educator, I was sick and couldn’t deliver the lesson I had planned? What if I did not write my lesson plan clearly, resulting in making the life of my TOC extremely difficult? What if I did not outline the safety precautions properly on the field trip forms, and a student got hurt as a result? As professionals, we must remember that we are being held accountable for all of our actions, so we have to act as diligently and responsibly as we can!
Lastly, I want to take this time to thank the class for all of your enthusiasm and participation! Without it, our lesson would never have been able to take form. Thanks for giving us such a wonderful learning experience : )
Well done Brianna, Jackie, Katy and Lexi! It was a nice change of environment to be outside. I really enjoyed the instant activity. It reminded me of the amazing race. Our cohort is energetic so it was nice to have the chance to run around outside!
This week we are learning about Outdoor Education and how we should incorporate our environment and setting in our lesson plan. I have always thought outdoor education was like going on a tour or a field trip. But that isn’t the case. We can take indoor activity and played them outside. This is great in many ways. Most students enjoy being placed in a different setting, we love being in the sun when it is sunny and most importantly, it gives students ideas how to play outside while teaching physical literacy. For example, passing a balloon teaches a lot. We had to work as a team, we had to think of a strategy and also, manage our strength so we won’t pop the balloon. It was a lot of fun.
I liked the discussion question Lexi proposed to our group in regards to the characteristic of our own PE teacher. I had a really great connection with my PE teachers and they are my role model. I would not be where I am right now without them. I can only hope I can do the same to my future students.
This week’s outdoor ed focus was a really great experience. I was surprised by the completely different feel it gave to the lesson. Being outside was also really energizing, and I felt engaged with the UBC community. I also felt connected to the locale, seeing the ocean off in the distance, learning about the upside-down tree, and seeing other landmarks of UBC I hadn’t viewed yet. I imagine that students would also have this positive experience, were they to engage in PE class outdoors in their communities.
I appreciate how Outdoor Ed nicely connects to the Aboriginal Ways of Knowing by focusing on a sense of place. Being outside also supports the wellbeing of the self, the community and the land. Western education doesn’t often make enough space for children to be outside, which is so important to health. For example, getting vitamin D from being outside has important implications for serious health issues like depression and hormonal regulation. Being outside can connect us to the wider community, and knowing the outdoors fosters a sense of place. I am really excited to incorporate the outdoor element of PE into my future practice.
Being part of the BEd program has provided me with a lot of new experiences, although I think being a hedgehog and a polar bear are an absolute first for me! But the lesson on Wednesday was fun and engaging, and we managed to work up a sweat while we were at it. So great job ladies!
I love doing and planning scavenger hunts (I’ve done a few for birthdays & bachelorette parties), but I also think they are an ideal activity for encouraging students to experience the outdoors. There is a healthy dose of competition, and allows for students to practice their thinking, creative and team-working skills, as well as encouraging them to experience new things. In thinking about my own experience growing up, we very rarely experienced outdoor education or alternate environments for either P.E. or regular classes… I only remember one occasion of going outside to a nearby field in the last week of the year as a treat (although this may have something to do with the horrendous Scottish weather!). It was still a time where we spent a lot of time playing outdoors outside of school and I was lucky enough to come from a family who came from more rural communities and who enjoyed this. We would spend every summer up in the islands, playing on tractors and in the moors helping to collect peat.
So it’s scary when just 20 years later, the majority of play occurs indoors. I remember going out for dinner a month or two ago and seeing a family sitting nearby and all three of the kids were straight away sitting on their devices playing games. We are so lucky to be living in British Columbia where there is nearby access to so many varied environments. Yesterday it was a 5-10 minute walk until we were in the middle of a forest. We could have gone 10 minutes in the opposite direction and been at Wreck Beach. So as educators we really need to instill this outdoor mindset from the start. I saw a couple of videos on Youtube of teenage gamers and the impact on their social skills and their understanding of society is clearly evident. I know Steve mentioned this in class previously, but the David Suzuki Foundation has some really great resources and ideas for implementing an outdoor mindset within the classroom, and this is something I will definitely be incorporating if I’m lucky enough to have my own classroom one day. It even has some benefits for teachers too… (http://www.davidsuzuki.org/blogs/science-matters/2014/09/learning-in-nature-is-good-for-teachers-and-students/)
Through the literature about physical literacy, I have learned to change my perceptions of simply seeing this course as a way to do plain exercise. I have realized that a physical literacy is taken from a standpoint of mind and body being the same. Such an analysis I feel is important because often the mind is ignored and the focus is just on meeting fundamental movement skills. Therefore, I feel that as I teacher I should incorporate social emotional learning within the curriculum in a way a child will understand. The goal of using social emotional learning in PE is to see the child as a whole, rather than someone who needs to meet skills in a check box fashion.
I also feel that learners would benefit tremendously from alternative activities outside the classroom as suggested in our reading. However, I question how many lessons would be optimal in case the change of venue becomes too distracting for the children. I think that I would allow time for a reflection about physical education experiences after the students returned to the classroom as a transition activity. I wonder what the best approach would be to encourage a child who refuses to take part in basketball lesson because he/she fears she will get hit by the ball?