Over 100 great ideas for taking your learning outside from teachers participating in the Take Me Outside for Learning Challenge:
- Our class goes out everyday for a heart smart walk. This takes 20-30 minutes, with a goal of elevating our heart rate the entire time. We take various routes around our village. Sometimes we are challenged with hills or snow. Other times we practice social skills when we walk downtown greeting people with polite words and body language. We discuss the benefits of our time outside and getting our heart rate up daily – not only for our physical health but for our mental health.
- Every morning we go out as a classroom family and do warm up exercises, stretches, play cooperative games. We end our morning meetings with a common growth mindset goal with a sharing circle.
- We take our learning outside every Wednesday for our forest days. We take a bus to Jim Smith Provincial Park and engage in all kinds of outdoor play and learning. This week we had special visitors from the UVIC teaching program at COTR who came and led us through some outdoor activities. We built animal shelters and played forest games. We also had a campfire and lots of free play in the woods. As always it was a wonderful morning!
- We partnered with our older Grade 6 buddies and did a leaf scavenger hunt. We then came back after 10 minutes and created their own leaf bar graph with sidewalk chalk!
- I introduced the activity of building fires with a First Nations story of how the hawk gave fire. This easily lead into a discussion of thoughtful safety concerns as well as ways to respect resources. Then, students were given the task to try starting a fire with flint and steel. Students were given instructions on how to use the flint and steel, what tinder is as well as kindling. We discussed what burns well in fires and what doesn’t. Students worked in groups of 3 or 4 students trying to make fire. It was exciting to see students problem solving and working together in this activity. All the groups were able to start a fire, however it was difficult for students to keep the fire going. I encouraged students to try to solve this challenge on their own. I wanted students to explore and come up with idea on their own such as putting kindling in shapes of tepees, log construction, or coming up with what materials burn most easily. Fire building was successful, but students are eager to try again to keep the fires going. We will revisit this activity again.
- We went out as the rain began to fall to collect leaves for Art projects. We walked down to our local waterfront and collected various leaves and noticed the signs of Fall. We talked about road safety, crossing roads at cross-walks and walking on sidewalks when they are there. We talked about being prepared for all types of weather when we leave our house for the day as many children had thin sweaters and the rain came down for most of our walk!
- Outdoor Learning activities this week included:
– community litter clean-up
– walk to the store to by food for our campfire cook out later in the week
– gathering and making roasting sticks for our campfire cookout
– forest hike
– tarp set up”
- We gathered sticks and used them in a weaving project.
- We sat in the fall leaves did some writing using our senses.
- In pairs, we sketched flowers around the neighbourhood. We figured out how to tell when a plant was fake. We observed flower petals turning brown in the fall.
- On a class walk, we discussed the environmental monitoring systems Teck has erected close to our school.
- Students worked in our local community garden supporting volunteers there with the completion of raised beds and the subsequent filling of them. Students explored the local natural environment on several occasions searching for natural items that matched a particular theme for that day.
- Students enjoyed outdoor PE in natural environments and learned and played outdoor games that use only locally available materials.
- Students are building outside pretty well everyday as we have no woodshop facilities and the outdoor space outside our classroom is where our woodwork project (picnic tables) are being built.
- “Snow! Snow! Snow! Winter came early to the Kootenays and in Rossland the snow was here to stay. Our Outdoor Learning Days focused on snow games, animal tracking and group work challenges. One game that we play is from my childhood in the prairies, called Fox and Goose. The students followed me as I set the track which is a large circle with 6 to 8 spokes of the wheel. When the track is set then it becomes a game of tag. ‘The fox’ is it and everyone else are geese. If tagged then you become the fox and so on. Everyone must stay on the track. We also had a day where we tracked animals in the forest. This was awesome and the winter animals really gave it up for us! The students shared three things: What we noticed, what we wonder and what we think the animals’ stories were.
- This month our grade seven class engaged in a number of weekly outdoor mapping activities with our buddy class of grade two and grade three students. The culminating project had students create a map of their route to school or route to a special place. All representations were created using natural materials in the forest, expressed landmarks the students used to navigate their world and told a story of how they individually know their community neighbourhood.
- Laura Jackman’s Grade 2/3’s and my grade 3/4’s went to Zuckerburg Island on Oct 26th to look at pit houses and to create a broader awareness of our environment through play.
- During the ‘Take Me Outside’ Week we had a field trip to the Alpine Recycling Centre, Landfill, and Return it Depot as part of our Beyond Recycling Program. We were outside all day learning about waste management in our region. Now we are inspired to begin Plastic Container and Plastic Bag recycling at our school!
- In October our class buddied up with another class and while doing a fitness walk we collected fallen leaves from the trees that grow locally. We then used these leaves to make glass candle holders (using recycled glass jars from home) that had the collected leaves glued to the outside for a lovely fall look.
- For our outdoor day we began with some physical activity. After playing a number of games, we read the anchor book Leaf Man and used the imagery within as inspiration for collaborating with partners on designing our own leaf creatures. We brainstormed as a group a number of local species living in the area that we could attempt to recreate through our leaf art study. Due to the close proximity to Halloween, many students created initial plans with spooky undertones like hunting vampire bats, and zombie bears! We then took a walk as a group collecting natural, fallen materials to utilize for our creations. Students built their creatures as I documented through photos. They then presented their creations to their classmates. Their initial drawn designs were compared to their final products to see how thinking evolved once the new materials were introduced. We culminated our day with a class leaf fight and many songs as we walked back to the school. It was a successful day despite not having time to complete half the activities that I had planned!
- We spent a small amount of time each day in our sit spots around the school yard. On Thursday we spent the whole day outside at Zuckerberg Island learning about pit houses.
- Students were engaged in supporting community and caring for the environment at our local community garden. With support from a volunteer at the garden students built garden beds, created composting piles, and dug trenches for the installation of irrigation pipes at the garden. Students were engaged in group work and learned about the importance of keeping a work environment safe by everyone following safety rules. The new experiences students enjoyed also expanded their skill set and prepared them to consider a wider range of possible future work based on practical experience.
- One experience our class had learning outside this week was a sketching session overlooking the Columbia River. After a brief hike our learning focus was interdisciplinary and varied. We completed sketches using a gray scale then students selectively added colour from the landscape to explore a prevalent theme in our current novel study. Our hike ended with students generating questions about the landscape we were experiencing. This was in aim to support our unit exploring how things change over time, noting visible evidence of climate change and drawing inferences from our observations.
- This week my students and I spent time outside developing our learning community in Nature. We did hikes in Rossland, learning how to stay connected during walking in the woods. We did plat ID in french along the way. We also developed team and learning community competencies playing team sports and games outside.
- Tying in with our novel study of Harry Potter, students collected various twigs, leaves, berries, and flowers to research as the the traditional uses, both practical and medicinal of the collected plants.
- We first started off by having a mindful moment outside. We focused on the sounds of nature and what are the things that we could hear outside. We really tried to be mindful of what our surroundings where, and to show gratitude for the outdoors. We have been looking at biodiversity in science, so we found the perfect opportunities to be biodiversity detectives in nature! We studied different leaves from different trees, we looked for traces of animals living in the area, and explored the wetlands on the school property. The students had a blast getting outside. We ate our lunches outside, and rolled it right into outside play time for lunch.
- We were able to spend half of the day outside! It was truly amazing the learning that occurred outside!
- We had a visit from Oasis Equine Assisted Learning and they brought one of their horses. Students were outside on the soccer field learning about equine assisted learning. They were able to touch the horse and had a better understanding of how horses are able to sense emotions. The trainers explained a lot about working with horses to assist people in coming to terms with their own feelings and experiences. Students spent the morning outside interacting with the horse and trainers. This also tied in with our social studies examination of the domestication of horses and how these animals have changed our world.
- For Science and Biodiversity we studied a unit on Forests and we participated in a forest scavenger hunt. We also did a Science Lesson on the importance of Earthworms in soil and forests etc. The students observed earthworms and studied, experimented with light and water etc.
- We are learning our colours and numbers in French and we made a large 5-pointed etoile (star) on the edge of the forest. We collected sticks for the outline and filled the inside with leaves.
- For an introduction to our Grade 7 Science unit on ECOSYSTEMS, we went out into our school yard, picked a spot, and made observations of our environment. We noted Living and Non-living items and any interactions that were witnessed. We had grassy fields, banks with bushes, trees and rocks to observe; as well as on the ground vs in the air. Students had good discussions when trying to categorize things into non-living or living. A good topic was a pinecone… was it living or non-living? Students were mostly in partners, however a few chose to be alone. The weather conditions were noted, as well as time of day and date. We talked about not altering the environment with our presence, yet able to lift rocks carefully and return them to original locations.
- Our intention is to go out every 2 months to see/note changes in that same environment.
- We received a “local food” grant last year and are using it to build a greenhouse for the school, which will supplement our popular Foods program and school lunches. This week we had some beautiful fall weather and the students helped erect the greenhouse frame, built shelves for it, and began staining the wood. We also built a planter box and students helped fill it with soil that was delivered by truck. Our students tend to be from low socio-economic backgrounds, and as such, nutrition at home can suffer, with lack of whole grains, fruits and vegetables. In teaching our kids how to grow their own food, we hope this learning transfers to home.
- Our class went to our local community garden and spent an afternoon weeding beds and moving rocks. We also learned about which plants were weeds and which were not. Overall, a productive and fun afternoon.
- Our grade 3/4 class went on a walk to a local park where each student adopted a tree in the ecosystem to “adopt”.
- The students did a K-W-L writing assignment that focused on using their senses to describe and document their tree and environment. The plan is to return to these trees on each of our Take Me Outside days and observe the changes to the environment and trees. The extension at the end will be to come up with a class project that can help our park and ecosystem.
- We did a scavenger hunt outside to find letters and unscramble them to spell “”Get outside and explore.”
- We created an obstacle course on the playground.
- We looked an animal prints and tried to identify them.
- Each Thursday we spend the entire school day out of the classroom. In November we did some riparian zone planting on some private land, we toured our local Interfor mill, did 2 long hikes and visited a local lake/bird sanctuary.
- We have been using our outside time to do self regulatory yogic (Sp?) breathing. We also use some of that time to draw inspiration from nature for our writing program using the 6+1 traits of writing. We extend our senses to try to show our audience in our writing what is happening around us, rather than telling.
- November had a mixture of weather at our school. The last vestiges of Fall led my class out to the forest beside our school to hunt for sit spots before the snow carpeted our area. Sit Spots, for my class, was a place within the forest that students felt comfortable visiting again throughout the year. Many choose sit spots that had comfortable, large lichen encrusted boulders. Some enjoyed a fallen log or building their own spot to sit against a tree. As we explored the Sit Spots students were encouraged to generate a list of questions that they would ask the vegetation or rocks around their sit spot.
- Our plan is to re-visit the Sit Spots throughout the school year to see how it changes with the Seasons and explore Environmental Science in context.
- This month we went outside several times to get ideas and then write about them. We also went out to find things we like in nature and survey each student, make a tally and graph their information about what part of nature is the favourite.
- My favourite activity was when we went out side to colour some material that students had placed a few strips of masking tape on so the spaces were defined. I then asked them what we should take outside to colour them. They had many suggestions, of course, and I told them we wouldn’t be taking anything. We then walked around and found leaves, grass, berries, wilted flowers, etc and then rubbed them on their material. It was very fun and they loved the finished product. We are going to this again in the Spring so they can compare it with their Fall one.
- We did some art by transferring textures outside (such as tree bark) using crayons and paper.
- We walked to the park and looked at the leaves and talked about the seasons.
- Wonderful experience rotating around a provincial park. My students were engaged the whole day and loved being outside learning from others and of different things. We enjoyed the groups and we actually had a chance to get together with 2 other classes and it became a social and learning event that was rich.
- We had a great week that started on October 26. Our school of 27 students were joined by 14 WKTEP student teachers for the day. We rode bikes right into downtown Greenwood and students and their assigned student teachers carried out a historical scavenger hunt of the town. We spent all day outside . . . even in the rain which came near the end of the day. Other activities that got us outside during the following week were . . . a walk down the Trans Canada trail with the purpose of using their senses to observe sights, sounds, smells and touches that are natural, planting daffodil bulbs from the “Planting a Promise” program through BC Agriculture in the classroom, playing a school-wide game of Capture the Flag and then finishing up our Harvest Lunch with an outside game with parents, students and siblings.
- We spent our entire Thursday at our local ski hill, Phoenix Mountain. The manager gave us a tour of the lifts and explained their operation. We also got to look at the snow cats and snowmobiles. We also helped out with some work which included moving, sanding and staining some picnic tables and painting a fence. After lunch we went on an amazing nature walk and experienced a moist and cool cedar forest which we do not get to see in Grand Forks. After the walk we did some “ski hill math” outside in the sun and finished up with a 15 minute quiet sit to write down some thoughts and reflections about the day. The weather was fantastic as was the experience.
- In social studies 9, I attempted two different activities for “”take me outside”” week. The first was an outdoor setting (picnic tables at the front of the school) with a typical indoor activity: a short reading in groups followed by a written response/questions. The second was an outdoor activity to practice strategy in a mock-war game of capture the flag (with Napoleon Bonaparte as our connection to the curriculum.
- We took a trip to the river to collect rocks for building and talked about the changes of season etc. We also went outside to do an observations checklist. In addition, we had our physical ed classes outside all week.
We are working on observations and using our senses in science. Last week, we took the colours of the rainbow and went outside to our local wilderness area and hunted to find objects in nature that matched the colours ROY G BIV. After bringing them back to class we made a large rainbow of the objects. Our observation skills are greatly improving as we tune in to the wonders of fall.
- I teach a couple of Gr. 8 P.E. classes and we try to take our classes outside during as many double blocks as we can either hiking, golfing, snowshoeing… The double blocks allow extra time as we go over the lunch period so we have them from 11:00-2:00. On Oct. 23rd one of my classes was joined by an Art 11/12 class and we hiked up Fisherman Creek Rd. to the Trans Canada Trail where we walked up to the tunnel. It was a glorious fall day and the students all enjoyed the look-out points along the way. I think the highlight of the day was walking through the tunnel.
- As a school, we spent the day outdoors at Kettle River Park participating in a number of activities that used the setting as our medium. Our classes created prints using fallen leaves, listened to a reading by author Darcy O’Hearne and learned about different types of trees, were videotaped orally presenting a Fall poem that they either wrote or appreciated from a published author, and participated in a drumming session along the bank of the Kettle River with a Metis elder. Personally, the strongest moments in my class’ day were those unmanaged times when they made a discovery of wildlife, an nature artifact, expressed appreciation for what they were seeing, or had questions that were related to their encounters with nature.
- With my kindergarten class, on a bright sunny fall day we built a leaf maze. At first it started with me showing a few students how to build the walls of the maze with leaves. Eventually over time the kids started working on their own and building their own paths. The kids talked about the width of the path, the length of the path and how to conntect the path to other path ways. The students also learn to ocopperntiely move throughout the tunnel. The kids even delighted jobs to each other… builders, leaf collectors and path designers. By the end we had a large maze that everyone enjoyed. Some kids walked or ran through the maze, some kids crawled like animals and other students made sure the walls of the maze were strong. “
- The Kindergarten and Grade 1s along with the rest of WBES were bussed to the Kettle Rover Prov Park. We spent the day drumming and making bird feeders and going on a nature walk where we threw rocks into the river.
- We have started every day this school year with our little buddy classic grade 1s doing yoga breathing and poses in our outdoor class. Our school wide goals this year focus specifically on SEL and self regulation, and so we are able to meet many aspects of the renewed curriculum.
This past week I took my grade two/three class outside for journal writing. They could choose to write on a clipboard and sit where they liked or at a picnic table.
- Every week when my drama 8 class has a double block we spend the second block outdoors doing drama in Nature.
- Snow, Snow, Snow!! The first two weeks of November were fantastic outside days as we had a dump of snow! Throughout the month, we continued to stay outside for 15 minutes after recess and explore the neighbourhood. With so much snow, we would walk through alleys and find places where there was a snow hill and we would try to be as active as possible!
- All of a sudden, it warmed up and we had rain, rain, rain…wahhhh. But we explored the ice formations and what the rain did to the snow. We also found many natural items that had been hidden in the snow. We discovered that the leaves and needles that had not fallen off the trees did so when it snowed and it made an interesting layer in between the snow layers!
- Once a week we spent an hour and a half outside. During November, we were challenged to create sled runs in the heavy fresh snow. We took our magnifying glasses out and looked at snowflakes, after we had learned about the characteristics of them. We walked over to Cominco Gardens and checked out our garden plot, where we planted daffodils and garlic in the fall. We discussed why Dan surrounds the gardens with old skis and we checked out all of the different animal tracks that were in the gardens. Twice, we went for long walks (over an hour), exploring the different street names in our community (many are named after Kootenay towns and villages) and we found a HUGE inukshuk! We walked to the Elko Street entrance and explored a bit of the Lois Creek trails, learning about the snow shoeing and skiing signs and symbols. WE are learning about all of the areas in our immediate community by the school that offer us great nature explorations!!”
- We spent time in our special spots doing observations during science.
- We go out every day for a 20min walk to look at the wetlands or our community to see what changes have happened this fall. We built inquiry questions as a group and individuals and worked to answer them as a group. We have been lucky enough to observe a buck pursue a doe, watch ice flows on the river that look like floating ice lily pads join up into solid ice and learn that garbage left on the play ground can go into the river and enter the ocean.
- We spent regular time outside with a couple of other classes, building tiny animal homes, finding hiding places and just hanging out in nature, noticing things. We adopted some particular community trees and have been acquainting ourselves with them and their special markings, features, and scars. We also spent time walking to places, mapping the community verbally and in our heads, taking small short cuts and practicing describing the directions for them. We compared the local rivers with what they were like at the beginning of the school year, and when the Kokanee were spawning, and now.
- We were lucky enough to begin piloting a new Wildsight program called Nature through the Seasons with Monica Nissen in October. Inspired by the many signs of fall on our school ground and surrounding forest, we set out to find a special place to be our “nature classroom”. Since her initial visit, we have been spending an afternoon in our nature classroom each week on “Wilderness Wednesdays”. In November, we spent time getting to know our special place better. We explored through scavenger hunts, creating nature wands out of sticks and fallen leaves, and we learned fun new games to play outdoors – including wave wanted and a made up game about squirrels gathering nuts to prepare for winter. We also spent time reflecting in our sit spots, being present, and practicing mindful breathing. The more time we spend outside, the more we notice. We have noticed that our special tree no longer has leaves, the ground is covered in snow, we can see our breath. The children are beginning to wonder and question about what animals do in winter, as they notice that it is getting colder and our trips outdoors take a bit more planning in order to be prepared for the cooler temperatures. We have also started thinking about “how nature makes pathways”, as we notice that there are some natural passageways in the forest.
- With the new snow fall I took my students outside to listen to the “sounds of snow.” As it fell, how our feet crunched in it, swish, slide etc. We then reviewed onomatopoeia and the students wrote poems about their experiences outdoors.
- We went outside for PE a few times and we went for a field trip to Fairmont for the day this month. I found going outside this month challenging because of the pressure to get projects completed before report cards. I will try to think of creative ways I can take my students outside more often in January.
- Each Wednesday afternoon, my school’s grade 6 teacher and I took our classes out into the Cranbrook Community Forest for the afternoon. One afternoon we built winter survival shelters with a 45 minute time limit, one afternoon we played predator-prey games, one afternoon we played camouflage style games, and one afternoon we went for an hour and a half nature walk.
- We went on several outdoor “snow” adventures last week. Our activities included looking for signs of animals (tracks, rubbings on trees…), making mouse houses (creating small protective hollows under the snow and/or in the forest), and we went sledding on our sledding hill.
Our class is engaged in developing soil for our school garden. We’ve added leaves to our compost and on October 25 we discussed how leaf mold decomposes the leaves into soil. I showed the students images of leaf mold and sent them outside to the forest to find leaf mold. Students were provided with hand rakes to dig under the leaves on the ground and place bits of leaf mold into a small bucket. Students were very excited to find the white webs in the top soil. We brought the samples into the garden and dumped them into the compost. We’ll check on the leaves in late February to see if it spread and the leaves have changed.
On Thursday October 26th I took my grade one class outside along with two other classes for the entire day. We did a nature hike, played games from the Coyote Mentoring Handbook such as “Fire in the Forest”, finding sounds in the forest, and going on a “natural” vs “unnatural” scavenger hunt. We then walked down to the campground, made a fire, sang songs and had a sit-spot. It was a rich outdoor experience and a beautiful day. The following day, as a school, we spent the whole afternoon outside, with each teacher running different outdoor themed stations while the children were free to drift from station to station.
- We did a few outside activities this week, trying to enjoy the last of the fall weather before the snow hits. We spent one afternoon going for a hike up Pulpit Rock, playing a variety of outdoor games up on top of the mountain. We also learned about different ways of making dyes and pigments out of plants. We harvested some plants, leaves and berries from our school garden and made paint out of them, painting in leaf tracings that the children made in their sketch books.
- The Grade 5/6 J.A. L arid class went outside with our Grade 1/2 E.M.P. (Mrs.Casey) buddies to explore the outdoors. We started our adventure by picking up the Grade 1/2 class and meeting in a community circle. The Grade 5/6 class came with a “Key to Identifying Trees”, a box of samples and the willingness to share. Ready with new knowledge and eager to explore, we walked through a bunch of trees on our way to Able Creek to explore the Kokanee salmon spawning location. The conversation was rich and inquisitive. They identified various need types, bunches and textures while identifying trees. Once we reached our destination, Mrs. Casey’s Grade 1/2, shared their knowledge of the Kokanee Salmons Spawning cylce as we asked the question “Why have the salmon not made it to the spawning location? Why don’t the salmon make it to the ocean? What makes a good spot? How do we impact the salmon’s cycle?” The questions were rich and the conversations were priceless!
- On Friday, October 26th, I took my students on a walking field trip all morning (8:30 to 12:00). For the first half hour, I went over the plan for the field trip and behavior expectations, so that my grade 4, 5, & 6 students were all aware. I also talked about how some people in the community are trying to get enough signatures and letters of support to turn the land into a protected park.
- We walked from the school about 45 minutes on trails and the side of a street to a wetland with walking trails. Once there I asked them to look for signs of the changing seasons. I gave students iPads to share to take a few photos of these signs of fall.
- I encouraged students to explore and find interesting things. They found ant eggs under a stump, about 27 ducks and loons on a pond, a muskrat, tall grass perfect for hiding in during games of Camouflage, and a sandy beach by the lake.
- The main focus of the field trip was a sensory writing activity. I asked each student to walk around a little until they found a spot that felt special to them. Once there, I asked them to sit down and get comfortable and begin to really notice what is around them, using all their senses. I provided a graphic organizer and asked students to write about what they are seeing, hearing, smelling, and feeling, using descriptive words. I walked around and checked in with each of them and after about 20 minutes we wrapped up the activity and played a game of Tag on the sandy beach before walking back to the school.
- We are learning about rose hips. How do we identify them? How can we use them? Who eats them? We have been outside harvesting them and learning to identify other local plants. We have also been talking about bear attractants and how we can help our community not invite bears to town. We learned how to identify apple trees and harvest apples on trees that were not on peoples property.
- We went outside and collected rocks from the local river. We then welcomed teachings of the medicine wheel and painted the rocks we collected. The following day we enjoyed a beautiful sunny autumn day and practiced casting techniques with our class set of fishing rods. We used a tennis ball cut in half as our weight and practicing casting into the middle of the field at targets.
- Each student brought in a “loose piece” as a ticket to their take me outside day… Items ranged from tarps, to pool hoses, massive Christmas decorations, buckets ropes, boxes… It was great. We went outside 45 minutes before recess. Students looked at all of the items and I said go… create! In the end students formed 4 different groups, once they figured out what they wanted to make… students made, benches, a pulley system (we are doing simple machines in science) telescope, kite, sled, robot and rocket ship. Students worked straight for 45 minutes taking pieces apart, putting them together, making all different creations. They were all so proud of their items as well. It was amazing to watch 28 students work so confidently together. Once we were done, students had brought their creations in, and enjoyed recess. After recess groups talked about what they built, why and how much they enjoyed it.
- Two of our kindergarten classes partnered to spend the entire day outside. Our students walked a total distance of over 3 km from our school to the confluence, where the Kicking Horse and Columbia Rivers meet. On our walk along the path, we placed the rocks that the three kindergarten classes in our school had decorated. We had a variety of activities throughout the day, from Leaf Hide and Seek to building bear dens.
- My class and the grade six class at our school went for a nature walk in the afternoon (1:00 – 2:40) in the Cranbrook Community Forest behind our school. While on our walk, we did some basic tree identification, looked for evidence of animals, and played “Camouflage” where students attempt to hide and move through the bush without being seen by the teacher.
- Planted garlic-fertilized, dug our holes, marked the post the bulbs were placed, planted and mulched the bulbs
- We went outside to do our Art for the afternoon. We were learning about pumpkins this week and were doing a directed drawing of a pumpkin. So we figured, why not go outside and enjoy the fall day and take our canvases outside? The kids had a blast and enjoyed being in nature to draw. They were super calm and focused…what a great place to learn as there seemed to be very little distractions even though they were surrounded by natural distractions.
- My Grade One students explored with shadows using our bodies…e.g. facing sun, turning away from sun, making poses still like statues, in motion, making shadow disappear, running away from shadows, making shadow poses with a partner, tracing shadows with a partner.
- We also read outdoors for Book Time at our school gathering place.”
We enjoyed taking our learning outside very much, and due to the nature of scheduling, stayed fairly close to school while covering a lot of ground. To name some activities, we played outdoor games, explored a new forested area with our senses, participated in an action-packed scavenger hunt, and appreciated putting the Coyote Mentoring Resource into action. We all valued our time outside and will continue to be outside regularly!
- Math in the morning with a ‘find your match to make ten’ and I hid plastic Easter eggs with different numbers around the playground. Then in the afternoon it was science and we combined a solid and a liquid to make a gas.
- My grade 7 science classes are learning about how the earth and climate have changed over time. They had been researching inquiry questions on this topic and I had them present their findings to small groups outside. I chose to have them preseent their ideas outside, as it was a beautiful day, and then we looked around us, at Baker Park, and had some discusions about how Cranbrook has probably changed over time. We talked about the mountains, the creeks, how many trees must have been here before it became a settlement. They were also very curious about the “”big rock”” came to be there. Which lead us to a discussion about glaciers.
It was so nice to have this conversation and be able to physically look around us to see possible changes.
- We learned outdoor skills with the grade 11 at south star. We are currently working on a weekly project: What makes Cranbrook special? We have been visiting places in the community, exploring directions and map making. We have individual sits spots that we visit at least once a week.
- We went into the Kimberley Nature park and did orienteering and map work. The day was warm and sunny and the students loved running around trying to find all the flags. There was 6 different relays set up and most students were able to complete all six. It gave them a chance to work on their map reading, getting connected to north and team building as they had to work with someone they haven’t worked with before.
- On Thursday October 26 we spent the whole day outside with the other two Grade 1 classes from our school. Myself, Irene Holy, and Caren Nagao left school right after the first bell and went for a nature hike. First we walked to a local park where the children had some free play. We continued our guided hike until around 10:30 where we stopped for a snack. Next we played a large group game called Fire in the Forest. Afterwards we each set up a station and the classes rotated through the 3 stations (unnature walk, free play, and sound hunt). We ate lunch in the Golden Municipal Campground. We finished off our day with a sit spot and a campfire.
- With one Grade 7 Art (Visual) class we went outside to the nearby woods to collect leaves and grasses. Students used leaves for studying proportions and drawing from observation. Additionally, we used the organic forms for the frottage technique (wax crayons on paper). By gluing the leaves on card-stock learners could easily create a natural texture which was later varnished. This short outing allowed us also to create a tin foil relief art (we applied shoe polish to the areas where the leaves where glued).
- The other Grade 7 Art (Visual) class had a challenge to go outside to find a twig that will be used as a base for their mobile sculptures. This lesson was inspired by Alexander Calder’s mobile sculpture, although we focused more on the natural environment and the beauty of organic forms. We will continue building this mobiles during out future classes.
The goal of these lessons was to show the students that:
– natural environment is a great source of art supplies (nature can inspire us)
– we can enjoy the beautiful surroundings, weather and each other’s company while we are outside
– we can collect garbage (pieces of metal or glass) and turn it into art (being environmentally friendly)
– we learn not only inside the classroom but also outside (many artists went outside to get inspired, create art or collect unique organic forms that were used later on in their works)
- One afternoon, i took my whiteboard outside and my students gathered on the rocks in our outdoor classroom space and taught my regular French lesson, in the fresh air beside the creek. Another day, we did a mindfulness lesson on a walk through the changing leaves beside our creek. Another day, we gathered a variety of leaves, and created artwork. Students created animals out of their leaves. It was a great week!
- As a class, we looked determined what criteria make up a community. Exploring the topic of community, we talked about how a community can come together during a crisis and work together towards a common goal. We linked this to the extreme wild fire crisis BC faced this year and the toll it took on nature. When we took our learning outside to connect it to what we had been learning this is the sequence of events we followed:
1. We gathered in a beautiful, open circular space and began with a gratitude song to say the things in nature or our lives that we are thankful for – this helped to ground us and make ourselves feel calm and peaceful in the environment we were in.
2. The students sat in silence in the circle while I read them an article about the fire season BC faced this year – we then talked about how communities were affected
3. We then talked about what the forest animals face during a forest fire and the traits that each animal has that may allow it to survive or escape the fire
4. With those animals in mind, we moved into our next activity to tie it into PE for the day. We played a game called “”Escape the Fire”” where one student started as the “”fire”” and the students (as the animals) had to run to the other side within the designated playing area without being tagged. The first student tagged became the fire with the original student (so there are 2 fires) all other students tagged afterwards became burning bushes that had to remain in their tagged spot but could tag other students running by.
5. After completion of several rounds of this activity, which my students loved and begged to keep playing, we moved on to a final activity to bring us back to nature.
6. After exploring the idea that fires can be destructive and a scary force of nature, they are also a necessary part of life as they bring forth new growth and life. We moved into an activity called “”Plant Concentration.”” For this activity, I had previously collected items (leaves, grass, twigs, rocks, wood, etc) from around the area. I created an image with these items. I revealed this image to the students who worked in groups of 3, for a max. time of 60seconds. Their objective, was to search the area, collect these items, and replicate this image as a kind of final challenge to our outside day.
7. In closing, we again calmed our minds and grounded ourselves back in nature with a community circle to talk about our learning and experiences that day as well as close with a song. “
- We got our new Notebooks (bound journal with pencils attached by string) and learned that science happens in the lab (classroom) and in the field (outside). We classified conifer and deciduous trees in our school garden and school yard. From there we discovered that many trees in the garden have their bark stripped and peeled. We are wondering what will happen to these trees and are investigating further.
- We went to the forest on our school property with our buddy class to explore the local biodiversity. We did a hula hoop activity to see how many different species we could find in a small area. Students looked for evidence of consumers and identified if anything was a producer or decomposer.
- Our Kindergarten Crew visited Tip Top Knook for the first time! High winds really hampered our week outside, but we were happy to discover our new wild space has climbing trees, places to balance, and berries.
- Our school is a “Wild School” and we have designated areas to explore with our grade levels. I choose to take my grade 4’s to our “Wild Place” to discovery direction (North, South, East and West) and draw a map of the area from a bird’s eye view incorporation direction.
- We walked 5 blocks down to a community garden where we talked about what animals do in the fall – migrate, adapt, hibernate. Then we discussed what some plants and bugs do – go dormant. We then planted tulip bulbs, sketched the fall garden with plans to sketch it in all seasons, and caught bugs.
- We participated in the Idlewild Planting Project this week. We learned about ecosystems, biodiversity, food chains and forestry. The kids had a blast!
- My grade 12 OE class paired with a 4/5 class and taught them nature-based lessons at South Star trails.
- This week our class went outside to look for a unique rock to add to our rock tumbler. We are studying landforms in science and we are learning about how landforms change overtime due to erosion. To speed up the process, students selected a rock, identified its unique characteristics, recorded them, and placed their rock in our class tumbler. Can’t wait to see how they will change!
- I teach English so in my senior classes, who are studying poetry, we took a nature walk & students had to take pictures of different scenes. Upon return they had to build metaphors for their scenes to a particular life event & emotion.
- My junior classes are taking part in a persuasive writing unit so we went on an outdoor treasure hunt & students had to create an invention from their findings & write/perform a commercial.
- Our class has been taking part in Walking Wednesdays where they have each adopted a tree to observe. We went for a walk, found our tree, made observations, shared our findings with each other and then continued on a walk in the woods.
- My Leadership 8-9 class went outside and we worked on communication skills and teamwork. We did two activities (find my tree and silent walk) to work on these skills. I also took my Grade 7 French Immersion class out to play some games in French and enjoy the beautiful day we were having!”
- As a PE teacher, I took all of my students outside for our activities.
- Walked around the neighbourhood for our fitness break and used our senses with a nature focus.
- Went to McDougall Park to explore the leaves, doing the Looking at Leaves lesson from Growing Up Wild (Project Wild BC)
- Take Me Outside Day – spent 2 and a half hours outside on the field and down in the gully doing different activities with the Outdoor Education class from Selkirk High School and the Alternate school students.
- Walked around the neighbourhood for our fitness break and went to the local park to play.
- Went to Cominco Gardens for 1 and a half hours. Shared our gratitude for the gardens, sat in a special spot where we used all of our senses to explore our spot, wrote in our Nature journals and played Camouflage.
- We walked to Kimberley Nature Park where we spent over 2 hours doing different activities starting with a gratitude circle, then the games ‘Lynx and Snowshoe Hare’, ‘Fire in the Forest’, and ‘Listening Hide and Seek’. We ended with storytelling and a walk back. It was a beautiful fall day and we had tons of fun!
- We took part in a variety of activities at Idlewild park including planting trees and a nature scavenger hunt.
- This week we were lucky enough to be included in the Idlewild revitalization project. The students were at the lake all day planting indigenous species, removing invasive species, and learning about the importance and benefits of biodiversity. They also had an awesome time exploring the forest and using all their senses to experience nature in new and exciting ways (some tree licking happened…).
- For Science we took a walk to a local trail, and made observations of the changing season. We were able to write or draw about what we observed and then discussed it as a class while sitting on the grass.
We rotated around to different stations outside. The stations were run by students from Selkirk High School and the alternative school.
- We’ve been studying various sports and activities in my French classes and learning how to explain them in French. To model the use of language, I took my class outside on the school field and taught them the Mauri game of Ki-O-Rahi from New Zealand. In doing so, they experienced the game first hand and applied the instructions and rules on how to play to be successful. The lesson, game, and chance to go outside was well received by students with many of them reporting on self-assessments that it’s been their favorite part of class this year.
- Our grade 6/7 class went for a walk along the Kicking Horse river in Golden. Our goal was to develop our group leadership skills, so we took turns leading the group, watching for traffic or other hazards as we stayed together. We had people who were in charge of road crossings, in charge of controlling where and when the group stopped and waited, and people who were in charge of counting to see that everyone was there. We know that in order to go on other field trips, we have to demonstrate good listening skills and self-control when we are released into the wild. It’s sometime harder than it looks to keep a group of students together! It was nice to get some exercise and fresh air, and we noticed how the river and trees had changed since the last time we went for a walk along the river, which was at the end of September. This area is one that we will visit several times this year, and we’re keeping an eye on the way it changes and stays the same.
- Students in their french elective class spent time playing, learning and reflecting in the nearby forest. We engaged in an active game of ‘deer hunter’ where students not only familiarized themselves with the nearby environment, but ‘dug in’ and . A debrief on what they noticed and felt, and what they felt they could learn while engaging outdoors followed.
The following day we engaged in a calmer ‘sound map’ activity in a similar area, challenging students to tune in to a variety of their senses to ‘observe’ what was going on.
- Our senior French language class went outside to practice using french directions to navigate the nearby forest.