Outdoor Education

As part of the year I have gained an elective for 6th grade students. It's titled Outdoor Education. Basically the school is small enough that nearly all teachers need to teach an elective; well I am certified in PE and Health, but didn't want to teach PE full time so I got this course.

With the return to school as is always I received the surprise that this class which was supposed to be trimester rotation based would be year round. So good luck finding curriculum already developed and I was left re-writing my trimester plans since I couldn't reuse it over and over.

Needless to say so far I am surviving.  Number one challenge has been finding material to keep them engaged for a warm up and yes I've done all the usual's.

But two projects that have gone particularly well include:

1) Nature Books - Students created a small booklet that we use to monitor certain areas around the school.  We take them outside draw what we see and comment on what it looks like. (Ideally they will see the season change through their pictures and words.

2) Plant Identification - Students were placed in groups and given a zip lock bag with some leaves from my garden. The bag contained a maple leaf, rosemary stem, rose leaf, strawberry leaf, and some type of vine noxious weed (I am hoping they ID it for me).  Within the bag they are to use the internet to determine what each one is and answer a series of questions about it such as scientific name, 3 facts, etc. and these are all to be presented on a poster.   We are on day 4 of the project and all students are still very engaged.  It even surprises me!   I am working slightly with a local community organization and when I was speaking of the project she even suggested branching to veggie seeds and see if they can name those as well.

This may very well be a project we do a couple times a year!
Both of these activities came from OSU library collection of ideas.

Example of Nature Book


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