Well, I must admit, a post on our classroom blog is long overdue! I discovered Instagram this year and with its convenient and fast way of sharing photos and info, it became my social media of choice this school year. However, I realize that I do not want to let our blog fall to the wayside all together as this is also a great platform for sharing our learning adventures. In Room 10 we recently experienced a unique and inspiring learning experience that I am so excited to share!
This month, our classroom (along with several others across our school division!) had the opportunity to bring our learning outdoors and benefit from the fresh air and use of natural materials. Research (Cooper, G.(1997) How Outdoor Education Contributes to Sustainabiltiy, Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Leadership, 14-1, 23-27) shows that beyond the obvious physical benefits of outdoor learning, outdoor education increases student motivation, utilizes multiple intelligences, promotes cooperation, reconnection with nature and develops critical and problem-solving skills. I can say, from first-hand experience, the research is spot on!
Our grade one class, along with Mme Laura’s grade two class, challenged ourselves to spend two weeks in the the ‘outdoor classroom’, rain or shine! And quite the challenge it proved to be with all the rain we had! Mme Laura and I collaborated and planned how to meet the curricular outcomes while taking a more experiential, inquiry and land-based approach to our teaching. Making use of many natural elements and bringing our books, journals and pencils outside, we worked on mathematics, literacy, science, social studies and art outdoors. We are lucky to have such a beautiful naturescape school yard that by its design provides stimulation for creative learning. We also were fortunate to be able to make use of the community beyond the school yard and went on several walking field trips to close by grassland and forest areas. We even had an impromptu presentation at the neighbourhood fire station while exploring the community! Rain and all, the challenge was a success; the students were engaged 100% of the time and especially loved the opportunity to work alongside another grade group. Thank-you to Mrs. Lowe at Stevenson School for sharing some great ideas and getting us started along our outdoor journey.
These were just a few snapshots of our time outdoors. It was a memorable learning experience that we will keep with us. Here’s what our class had to say:
“I liked all the walks”- Andrew and Adriaan
“I loved the outdoor space”- Cayden
“I liked spending time in the shelter we made”- Jaxon
“I liked walking through the forest at the Living Prairie Museum”- Carson
“I liked when we built the fort together”- Olivia
“I liked exploring the forest”- Madden
“I loved the outside time and all the fresh air” Ethan
” I loved the exploration centers”- Norah and Kacy
“I loved working in our journals”- Aszaria
“I liked reading outside” -Hannah
“I liked when we went to the fire station”- Zade
“I liked learning about insects”- Sophie
“The experience outdoors was a great success!”- Jack
“I enjoyed everything about the Outdoor Challenge!”- Vince
“I liked finding worms and bugs”- Violet
“I liked finding caterpillars!”- Diora
“The outdoor challenge was fun!”-Sam