Thanks to Facebook, I made a cool discovery about an initiative to take learning outdoors by celebrating national “Outdoor Classroom Day”. After some research and signing up through the link, I realized this site was a great resource for all teachers of all subjects!
Check it out at: https://outdoorclassroomday.com/
GETTING OUTSIDE…We have a fantastic outdoor trail space on our school grounds that our principal has been encouraging teachers to use, so this seemed like a great way to use our outside environment for a fun learning experience.
ADDING A LEARNING COMPONENT…My colleague and I put together a “Photo Scavenger Hunt” for our art classes. We brainstormed some curriculum based “challenges” such as photographing something soft and something rough, which reinforced one of the “Elements of Design”, texture. We encouraged photography skills through the use of light and shadows. Of course, we allowed for creativity by having students take an image from a “bug’s eye view” of the world.
TECHNOLOGY INTEGRATION…Students were permitted to bring their cell phones to art class to take pictures. If a student didn’t have a phone, they could use their Chromebooks or one of the classroom iPads to take pictures. Students were encouraged to put together a slideshow, video or share their best photo with peers using “Google Classroom”. Another benefit to this lesson was having students navigate the various forms of technology and how to get their photos into their “Google Drive” account from their personal devices.
DISCOVERIES…It was really fun to see students partner up between classes and work together to try and get all of the pictures on the scavenger hunt. Unfortunately, there weren’t too many clouds out, so they were a little disappointed that they couldn’t find a “cloud that looked like an animal”. However, they did find a toad!
SUCCESS…The day turned out to be a lot of fun! It sure felt like summer, as it was 90 degrees out and a bit buggy, but the shade on the trail made it bearable for everyone. It was an excellent chance to break up the normal school day, as the year winds down. The students also had an opportunity to use their photography skills and tune into the natural beauty our school is surrounded with.