One of the things I love about being a teacher is learning new techniques and going to professional development sessions.
Recently, I went to a PD session that looked at how to incorporate the outdoors in our classes and how to enhance nature literacy in students.
What an amazing experience! And I had the chance to share the experience with a colleague.
We looked at simple techniques. For example, collecting things they find outside in an egg carton and coming up with one word to describe each item. Another group then had to guess what our words were.
How simple is that? What I loved is that it means students have to look at the details in things they find as well as work together on their language skills. It’s an easy activity for all grades, all levels and still gets students outside and learning.
One thing that stuck with me was “How can we expect students to save the planet if they aren’t given the opportunity to love it?”
A botanical garden was the host of our day. We had the opportunity to explore the indoor gardens. It’s places like this that I wish we could take students to more. I wish we weren’t burdened with finances, timelines, etc.
Don’t get me wrong, I love where I teach. But it is in an urban setting which has its difficulties when trying to commune with nature.
Thinking back on the experience, I learned more than I realized. We have to give students meaningful and realistic experiences with the outdoors. A simple activity of going outside, collecting rocks, talking about them, and then journaling their experiences can make all the difference between caring for nature and not.
My love of nature developed from being outside. People today spend less time outside than maximum prison inmates!
Students deserve the chance to love what keeps them alive. I want to share my passion for the outdoors with my students.
How do you share your passion with others?
What other ideas do you have for outdoor activities for students?