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Outdoor learning Approaches

outdoor learning and adventure education association and how to build outdoor classroom
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Published Date:03-07-2017
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outdoor learning pack for primary school teachersindex The type of outdoor learning described in this pack is something quite different from ‘outdoor pursuits’. It is not rock-climbing or kayaking. It is about taking your normal everyday curriculum and teaching it outside. The outdoor areas you use could be very close to the school and within walking distance – it might be the school grounds, a local park or a nearby patch of woodland. So, no long bus journey, no cost and no high-risk activity 1 Getting Outside the Classroom 2 Feeling at Home in the Outdoor Classroom 3 Making Outdoor Teaching Easier 4 Longridge Primary School Case Study (Part 1) 5 Longridge Primary School Case Study (Part 2) 6 Starting in the Classroom 7 Starting in the Classroom 8 Getting there... (and back again) 9 Getting there... (and back again) 10 Getting to Know the Trees 11 Animal Homes 12 Minibeasts in Your Trees 13 Numeracy 14 Literacy 15 Art or Science? 16 Wild Art 17 Word Art 18 Evaluation 19 Assessment for Learning 20 Follow-up Opportunities 21 Gaelic & Modern Language Tree Names 22 Outdoor Classroom Resources 23 The Four Capacities in the Outdoor Classroom 24 The Curriculum for Excellence in the Outdoor Classroom (Part 1) 25 The Curriculum for Excellence in the Outdoor Classroom (Part 2) 26 Outdoor Classroom Risk Assessment 27 Daily Hazard Tick List This pack is a result of working closely with primary school teachers in West Lothian who are dedicated to removing barriers to using the outdoor classroom. Thanks go to all the teachers and schools who have contributed to this work through their time, expertise and honesty.Page 1 OUTDOOR LEARNING PACK getting outside the classroom Planning an outdoor lesson is done in the same way as inside the classroom: Introduction (hook): introduce the topic in the classroom with an activity that promotes interest and intrigue in what is to come (see page 6/7) Journey Out (starter): simple, hands-on ambulatory activities create the right mood within the group for learning outdoors, whilst also raising awareness of the natural environment and introducing the main topic (see pages 8/9) Main Activity (development): a ‘hub’ activity is just like a ‘carpet’ activity indoors, where you ask the group to spread out from a central point to do the activity and then return to you at the end (see pages 10 – 19) Reflection/Sharing (evaluation/assessment): give the children a chance to share with others the things they have learned or achieved. It’s also an opportunity to evaluate the learning and challenge any misperception (see page 18/19) Journey Back (plenary): reinforce learning on the walk back to school (see page 8/9) and then follow-up in the classroom (see page 20) Approaches to outdoor learning include Earth Education by Steve Van Matre Flow Learning by Joseph Cornell P Pa a ag g ge e e 1 2 1 O O O OU U U UT T T TD D D DO O O OO O O OR R R R L L L LE E E EA A A AR R R RN N N NI I I IN N N NG G G G P P P PA A A AC C C CK K K K feeling at home in the outdoor classroom “Teaching should be such that what is The beauty of teaching outdoors is that the children often do not perceive it as offered is perceived ‘learning’ and yet they learn some of their most valuable lessons there. The lack as a valuable gift, not as a hard duty” of walls means that they feel less inhibited – both physically and mentally – and it Albert Einstein allows them to join up their thinking by applying it in a real-world context. Indoor vs Outdoor classroom techniques Indoor Outdoor Notes Walls Set clear physical boundaries Plan your route and know where you will have space to stop and circle up the class. Visualise your own ‘boundaries’ and then define the edges of your teaching area verbally or using physical markers (i.e. tie tape around some trees). Emergency Emergency procedures Agree a meeting point and what to do. Ensure all staff and children are aware procedures (i.e. fire) (i.e. missing person) of these. Know where the access points would be for emergency vehicles. Chairs & tables Sit-mats on the ground Stops shuffling feet Prepared paper materials Found natural materials Twigs, fallen leaves, stones, earth, rain… the list is endless Warmth Warmth Get a bank of clothing in school – buy waterproofs, wellies and warm gear or ask (radiators) (appropriate clothing) for parents to donate old articles of clothing. First aid kit First aid kit Be aware of any relevant medical information – i.e. tree nut allergies, hayfever etc. Take a rucksack with: First aid kit, water, mobile phone (check reception), emergency contact numbers (inc. all adult helpers mobile numbers in case groups separate), risk assessment and hazard tick list (pages 26 & 27 of this pack). Risk assessed & managed Risk assessed & managed As usual for off-site visits – risk assess site, route and activity beforehand. Complete last minute hazard tick list on the day as a final check. Check your schools child:adult ratio. Planned lessons Planned lessons & routes Good planning is the key. Toilets Bushes (away from water Ensure children are prepared; that they know how long they will be out and that source & working area) there will be NO TOILETS Agreed expectations – Agreed expectations – Setting expectations together beforehand will increase enjoyment for you golden rules & procedures golden rules & procedures and your class. Involve other staff as well as the children. Staff ratios = low Staff ratios = higher Get supportive parents on board – as with the children, this will engage some that indoor teaching doesn’t. As usual, ensure they are checked through Disclosure or PVG Scheme. Evaluation Evaluation See page 18 of this pack for ideas. Assessment Assessment See page 19 of this pack for ideas. Strategies for rewarding Strategies for rewarding Be clear about how you will respond to all behaviours to ensure consistency and managing behaviour and managing behaviour and fairness. Share your strategy with other adults as well the children. Help/phone nearby Mobile phone or Know where you have good signal coverage on site and where emergency 2-way radios vehicle access points are (including street name or grid ref). Closed, predictable Open environment Good planning and pre-visits to site will make things more ‘predictable’. environment Don’t be afraid to let things be child- or nature-led Children’s parents and Children’s parents and Taking the class outdoors may make some parents and other adults feel unsure. teaching assistants teaching assistants Address their fears and reassure them by holding a meeting to explain why feel uncomfortable feel uncomfortable the school feels it is important. ‘Outdoor Learning’ is often confused with ‘Outdoor Pursuits’ so outline some of the activities. Abraham Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs” This theory is often shown as a pyramid, depicting how people cannot achieve ‘higher levels’ needs (self-esteem & personal growth) unless their ‘lower level’ needs have been met first (physiological, social & safety) – for more information visit P Pa a ag g ge e e 1 1 3 O O O OU U U UT T T TD D D DO O O OO O O OR R R R L L L LE E E EA A A AR R R RN N N NI I I IN N N NG G G G P P P PA A A AC C C CK K K K making outdoor teaching easier These suggestions may seem obvious but they will add to your group’s enjoyment and make your role easier too Tip How it can help Set expectations before going out Understanding what is going to happen and how long it takes will help children relax. Keep it positive and emphasise ‘care’ through looking after themselves, each other and the natural environment. Take a rucksack for necessities First aid kit, water, mobile phone, emergency contact details, hazard tick list, sit-mats, 2 whistles – a more gentle one to call group back together (i.e. owl hoot or ocharina) and a sharp-sounding emergency one. Don’t forget any evaluation equipment being used – e.g. Camera (and spare batteries); video camera; post-it notes. And if carrying activity props, pack them in order of use to make your life easier Clothing Ensure children are wearing appropriate clothing and footwear. Suggest zipping up / tucking in/putting on hats BEFORE they start getting too cold (or hot). Be sensitive to fears /perceptions Children may feel woods are dangerous (thanks to many nursery rhymes & fairy tales as well as negative media stories) If these arise try to deal with them in an understanding and non-judgemental way. Keep it simple Children find it hard to listen to someone talking for too long, especially outdoors. Have a clear mental plan of the session before you go out. Visual, Auditory & Kinaesthetic Engage everyone by trying to have a visual focal point (i.e. stand near or hold the thing you are talking about) and, if you can, demonstrate it too. Circle-up Get the whole group, including adults, into a circle when introducing and ending activities as this means you will have everyone’s attention and hopefully only have to say things once. Invent different ways to do this to make it fun (i.e. ‘sticking’ elbows, knees or toes to neighbours.) Weather affects ability to learn Try to stand facing the sun when talking to your group so they won’t have to squint. Attention span decreases in windy, wet or cold weather so adjust your expectations accordingly. Meeting dogs off the lead Ask children to fold their arms and look away from dogs if you meet them off the lead – the dog will quickly get bored and leave. Evaluate outside Sharing the learning experience whilst still outside will provide more valuable feedback because it is done in context. Further Guidance “Health & Safety on Educational Excursions: A Good Practice Guide” – Scottish Executive “Outdoors Issues and Matters” from Scottish Outdoor Access Code Claire Anthony P P Pa a ag g ge e e 4 1 1 O O O OU U U UT T T TD D D DO O O OO O O OR R R R L L L LE E E EA A A AR R R RN N N NI I I IN N N NG G G G P P P PA A A AC C C CK K K K Case Study of The EnchantedWoodland Longridge Primary School,West Lothian (Part1) 1 Using the framework from the ‘Joyning the Learning’ series, a teacher at Longridge Primary School in West Lothian developed a topic for her class called The Enchanted Woodland. She pointed out that this type of thematic teaching links very well with the new Curriculum for Excellence and is being used across West Lothian. The topic started when the children arrived one morning to find a paper trail of animal tracks leading into the classroom. At the end of them a toy fox and its cub were sitting in the centre of the floor with a letter next to them. The letter explained how the foxes’ home – the enchanted woodland – had been destroyed and so they no longer had anywhere to live. It asked the children if they could help them create a new home. From this they started to investigate and develop their ideas about woodlands and wildlife – both real and ‘enchanted’. Although she had planned for the whole topic, the teacher was careful to allow the children to lead the sessions and was prepared to be flexible if the children’s interests and ideas required it – which they did The class then planned together and decided upon their course of action. Mind-map of the topic with the class From this, the class explored their topic through a wide variety of activities and across numerous areas of the curriculum. They visited their local woodland, used the internet and the school library for research. They studied woodland through relevant novels, poetry, drama, sound and art. They planted trees with the Woodland Trust Scotland, researched the local Woodland Action Plan (WAP) and used resources from organisations like the Forestry Commission and the Woodland Trust to help inform a debate about why woodlands are felled and what impact that has. Finally they turned their own classroom into an ‘Enchanted Woodland’ by making papier-mâché trees, flowers and animals. The animals and trees were given a voice through the children, allowing them to explore speech and literary techniques within the topic. It is easy to see how a project like this can stimulate the imagination but there were so many other skills in use as well; co-operation, collaboration, enquiry, investigation, writing for a purpose – the list goes on. 1 “Joyning the Learning... the story so far: developing a curriculum for excellence”, 2008, Learning Unlimited Claire Anthony P P Pa a ag g ge e e 5 1 1 O O O OU U U UT T T TD D D DO O O OO O O OR R R R L L L LE E E EA A A AR R R RN N N NI I I IN N N NG G G G P P P PA A A AC C C CK K K K Case Study of The EnchantedWoodland Longridge Primary School,West Lothian (Part2) Clockwise from left: An Enchanted Tree; the Wildflower Meadow; some Po-e-trees At the end of the topic, parents were sent invitations to come into school for the ‘Grand Opening’ of the forest where they were given a guided tour by the children. The parents were greeted into the ‘forest’ by the voice of the trees (all spoken and recorded by the pupils) and all their work was on display for their parents to see. Expectation and excitement was high... and the experience did not disappoint. Parents were thrilled by the standard the children’s work and the enthusiasm it had generated both at home and for school. Many expressed regret that their own education had not been like this As a final touch, the children were sent another letter from the fox, thanking them for their help and acknowledging their ability to care for other living creatures. The class was then presented with a gift of a butterfly farm so that they could continue to apply their new knowledge and skills. The teacher reflected that she had noticed how much the children had remained engaged with the learning during their entire project – something that was very obvious when talking to the class. She commented that: “This type of project had a very positive impact on the children; you were able to see their enthusiasm which was evident throughout the topic. The pupils were also very motivated to improve the quality of their work.” Many thanks go to Claire Anthony and all at Longridge Primary School for sharing their fantastic ideas, inspiration and planning for the purpose of this resource pack. 6 O O O OU U U UT T T TD D D DO O O OO O O OR R R R L L L LE E E EA A A AR R R RN N N NI I I IN N N NG G G G P P P PA A A AC C C CK K K K Activity Type Curriculum areas All Length 45 – 60 mins starting in the classroom Learning is a journey. You can stimulate interest, intrigue and imagination in your new outdoor learning topic from the start by using varied approaches to introducing it. Surprise invitation or parcel Send an invitation letter (or email) to the class asking them to visit their local woodland or asking for their help to investigate an environmental issue. Arrange for a surprise package to be delivered, addressed to the class. Fill it with items that will spark discussion about the new topic. Share a story Find a good story that illustrates the topic and gives you an opportunity to talk around the subject with your class before going outdoors. The children could bring sections of it to life for one another using natural materials to stimulate the senses – or write their own story to share. Fictional characters Bringing in a recognisable toy from a relevant book can provide a great stimulus for your outdoor topic. For example an Eeyore (or even a homemade ‘Stick Man’) with a Paddington-style “Please look after this...” label. Inspiration... “It is not what we do to the child or for the child that educates him,but what we enable him to do for himself,to see and learn and feel and understand for himself. The child grows by his own efforts and his own real experience.” Susan Issacs,quoted in “First Hand Experience –What Matters to Children” by Diane Rich et al. Like to start with a story? These books are good to share Weather Little Cloud by Eric Carle Adaptation Harris Finds His Feet by Catherine Rayner Uses of Sticks Stick Man by Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler Outdoor Activities You and Me, Little Bear by Martin Waddell & Barbara Firth Natural Environment We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen & Helen Oxenbury InformationPhotos: Kate Walters P P Pa a ag g ge e e 1 7 1 O O O OU U U UT T T TD D D DO O O OO O O OR R R R L L L LE E E EA A A AR R R RN N N NI I I IN N N NG G G G P P P PA A A AC C C CK K K K Activity Type Curriculum areas All Length starting in 45 – 60 mins the classroom Simple engagement methods can be used to ‘hook’ the children into a topic or any outdoor session. The sense of ‘mystery’ will heighten their enthusiasm whatever’s coming next A ‘secret’ diary Write a short nature diary from a fictional character describing the walk you would like to share with your class (including brief summaries of the activities you’d like to include too). Leave it to be ‘found’ with an invitation for it to be shared with the class whilst following the route described within Interesting maps Create a map of your local woodland area stylised to look like a very old map, a treasure map or one found in a book that is familiar to the children (i.e. Winnie the Pooh). Use intriguingly enigmatic names for features they will find there (old trees, hills, mossy stumps) and clues as to what they might do in particular spots. Hang it on the classroom wall for a week or two before visiting the outdoor area to help build a sense of expectation and excitement. More mystery... The class arrive back after break to find the room darkened and a slideshow of photographs showing familiar local places taken from unusual angles.Play some suitable music or woodland sounds to create a calm atmosphere.The children will be looking forward to their walk with anticipation but will now be focused on trying to guess exactly where the photos were taken. If you found these ideas inspiring try... “Acclimatizing” by Steve Van Matre, for more. Nature Detectives resources are free from InformationPhotos: Kate Walters P P Pa a ag g ge e e 1 1 8 O O O OU U U UT T T TD D D DO O O OO O O OR R R R L L L LE E E EA A A AR R R RN N N NI I I IN N N NG G G G P P P PA A A AC C C CK K K K Activity Type Curriculum areas All, including Health and Wellbeing Length getting there... 10 – 20 mins (and backagain) Ambulatory activities are ones that can be done whilst walking. They give children a focus during the journey to (or from) your natural area and enable them to engage more fully with the main topic when they arrive. Immersing activities Give each child a simple cardboard tube to help them focus on things up close or far away as they are walking. This works whatever your focus: living things, animal homes, patterns, numbers of... things beginning with the letter... – the list is endless Being creative will stimulate interest and imagination. Collecting things is much more engaging when using interesting collecting pots or bags. You can stick things to a shaped-card with a strip of double-sided tape if it’s windy They will make a beautiful reminder of your walk and help to ‘bring the outside in’. Journey or Story sticks Use wool to tie found natural objects to a stick in the order they were found. Then use it to help retell the story of your journey. Liked those? The inspiration for them and many like them was... ‘Earthwalks’ from FEI Learning Resources from InformationPhoto: Meriel Young P P Pa a ag g ge e e 1 1 9 O O O OU U U UT T T TD D D DO O O OO O O OR R R R L L L LE E E EA A A AR R R RN N N NI I I IN N N NG G G G P P P PA A A AC C C CK K K K Activity Type Curriculum areas All, including Health and Wellbeing Length getting there... 10 – 20 mins (and backagain) Raising awareness of the things that are around them will help to immerse your class in the natural environment. Leave a trail One group goes ahead and leaves an obvious trail using natural materials or chalk to show the other group where to go. (agree your symbols first) Slow, quiet walking Moving slowly and quietly increases awareness and appreciation of the natural world. Taking shorter strides than normal, place one foot down carefully in front of you without putting any weight on it. Slowly shift the centre of gravity from the back foot to the front one. Practise this technique by asking the class to walk across the woodland to reach one member of the class (who has their eyes closed) without being heard by them Varied vision Encourage children to view the world around them in different ways. Try to think of interesting perspectives on your route each time you do it – overhead, under leaves, backwards, through strips of coloured plastic. Focus in on the very smallor the very TALL Using fingers to make a frame, imagine you are a camera and the variety of shots you could view – landscape, macro (close up), wide-angle. Liked those? Try these “Nature and Survival for Children” from Tom Brown’s Field Guides “Sharing Nature with Children – Parts I & II” by Joseph Cornell InformationPhoto 2: Helen Pugh Photography Photo 3: Kate Walters Photo 4: Niall Benvie P P Pa a ag g ge e e 1 1 10 O O O OU U U UT T T TD D D DO O O OO O O OR R R R L L L LE E E EA A A AR R R RN N N NI I I IN N N NG G G G P P P PA A A AC C C CK K K K Activity Type Curriculum areas Science, Maths, Languages, Expressive Arts gettingtoknow Length 15 – 25 mins your trees There’s more to tree identification than just learning a name. The senses can be used to really explore what makes each one unique. Shape Leaf shapes can distinguish one tree from another as can the tree’s profile. Surface Twigs, leaves, bark on the trunk – each species has its own range of textures. Explore them thoroughly with your class and then see if they can tell different trees apart with their eyes closed. Scent Scratch the surface of some leaves and you’ll smell the difference... Sound Sitting and listening under different trees (when in leaf) will give another perspective on your trees and their ‘music’. Record your findings The needles of Douglas Fir trees smell like spicy oranges; beech tree trunks look like elephant legs; aspen leaves sound like the sea. Your children can invent their own ‘tricks’ to help recognise different tree species. Explore different ways to describe the sensory experiences you’ve had of your trees and use it to write poems to hang on a Po-e-tree. More things to do with trees “Meet aTree” activity available from Joseph Cornell’s Sharing Nature website “Tree Seeds” from Forest Education Initiative’s (FEI) resource library – Once you really know your trees,the names will be easier to remember – in many languages. (see the Gaelic and Modern Language tree-name sheets on page 21) These might help too... Craigmillar Wildlife Web activities – WildPlay Kitbag activities – InformationPhotos: Kate Walters P P Pa a ag g ge e e 1 1 11 O O OU U UT T TD D DO O OO O OR R R L L LE E EA A AR R RN N NI I IN N NG G G P P PA A AC C CK K K Activity Type Curriculum areas Sciences, Expressive arts, Technology Length animal homes 30 – 45 mins What are the features that make somewhere a good home? Sheltered, warm, dry, near water and food-sources – plus fresh-air provided by all the green plants of course. Which natural materials could be used to build one if you were a native animal living in the local woods? Which have the best properties for building? Which are best for warmth? Decide which native mammal each small group is going to make. Make your mammal from clay 1 and natural materials. Gather some more natural materials and build a shelter in a suitable place (i.e. on the ground for a 2 hedgehog, in a tree for a squirrel). Put each mammal in its new home and allow an opportunity for the children to visit each other’s 3 shelters. Discuss the different techniques, materials and positions of each shelter. Extend the activity into thermal properties of materials by using bottles filled with hot-water as the 4 ‘animals’. Take each animal’s temperature at the start, leave them in their homes for a set time and then return later to retake temperatures. Inspiration A wonderfully colourful collection of activities,crafts and games which encourage children to get outdoors can be found in “Nature’s Playground” and “Make itWild”, by Fiona Danks & Jo Schofield. Homes stories to tell to get children started... “Do Lions Live on Lily Pads?” by Melanie Walsh “A House is Built at Pooh Corner for Eeyore” by A. A. Milne InformationPhotos: Kate Walters P P Pa a ag g ge e e 1 1 12 O O OU U UT T TD D DO O OO O OR R R L L LE E EA A AR R RN N NI I IN N NG G G P P PA A AC C CK K K Activity Type Curriculum areas Sciences, Maths Length 30 – 45 mins minibeasts in the trees Safely looking for minibeasts can be tricky in urban woods so if you don’t want to encourage hunting at ground level, why not look in the trees? Working in small groups ask two children to stretch out a sheet of white cloth (not fluffy material or your beasties will 1 stick to it) beneath a tree branch. When choosing their tree, remind children to be aware of any thorns or prickly leaves. Another child in the group then gives the tree branch a few firm shakes without damaging the 2 tree. Anything living there will be a bit surprised when it falls onto the sheet so you may have to wait for a moment for them to start to move Use a paint-brush to gently scoop minibeasts into the pot (the winged ones will fly away fairly quickly) ready for the child with 3 the ID sheet to see what they might have found. Comparing the variety of life found on different tree species will help to assess their biodiversity value. Other minibeast hunting Ideas • Look under the leaves of the trees and bushes nearby. • Check out the bark – lots of things live there If you have trees in your school grounds,tie some strips of corrugated card around the trunk and check back in a few days to see what’s taken shelter under them. • Dead wood (fallen logs or branches) offer an excellent habitat for lots of different minibeasts from the ones found on living trees. Liked those? You’ll love these Northern Ireland Environment Agency – go to teachers_and_pupils.htm and select “factsheets”. InformationPhotos: Kate Walters P P Pa a ag g ge e e 1 1 13 O O OU U UT T TD D DO O OO O OR R R L L LE E EA A AR R RN N NI I IN N NG G G P P PA A AC C CK K K Activity Type Curriculum areas Maths, Sciences Length 30 – 45 mins numeracy Measuring, recording and aging trees offers numerous opportunities to explore numbers and shape. Height Try to see the top of a tree whilst looking upside-down between your legs When you can see the top, ask someone to measure the distance between you and the tree. Add your leg length for a good approximate height of the tree – it’s just trigonometry really Age/Girth You can age a tree by counting its rings of growth. But that’s not very easy unless it has been cut down Fortunately, the approximate age of a tree can be estimated from the girth (circumference) of the trunk at 1.5m above the ground. Although each tree grows at a slightly different rate (just like us), on average the new growth on its girth is 2.5cm per year. Dividing the tree girth (in cm) by 2.5 = age in years. Can the children find a tree their age? Which is the oldest and fattest? Other things to do with trees,leaves and seeds Count the number of paces between one tree and another – how close do they grow to each other? Plot them onto a map or grid-squared paper. Compare shape or area of leaves or seeds. Find the largest,tallest,furthest,widest... Count the number of edges on leaves of different species. Liked those? You could try these... “Ancient Tree Hunt” resources are available from the Woodland Trust. Record fat, old trees or ones with an interesting history Find out more at InformationTop Photo: Kate Walters P P Pa a ag g ge e e 1 1 14 O O OU U UT T TD D DO O OO O OR R R L L LE E EA A AR R RN N NI I IN N NG G G P P PA A AC C CK K K Activity Type Curriculum areas Languages, Sciences Length 30 – 45 mins literacy The natural world is a wonderful source of inspiration for both written and spoken language. Visits to your local green space will give children a shared real-life experience to be recorded or discussed in class. Recipe for a Woodland Sitting outside, give each child a pencil and a piece of paper and ask them to write a recipe for their own woodland. Encourage the children to be as creative as they can. Which ingredients would they add? How would they make sure it was sustainable? Think about biodiversity and external influences like the weather. Oxymorons Writing up a journey using specific literacy techniques, “Walking through that barren greenspace in the deafening silence was such sweet sorrow...” Collective noun faking A parliament of owls; a storytelling of rooks; an army of frogs; a glint of goldfish; a prickle of hedgehogs. These are all real names for groups of animals that reflect their characteristics. You couldn’t make them up, could you? Or could you...? Other Ideas Word games,word groups,adjectives,nouns,onomatopoeia. Poems like Haiku, Acrostic,Lyric or Shape. Traditional stories,fairy tales,mythology & folklore – often set in the natural world they can be used to challenge popular misconceptions about woods.Encourage children to read books outside. Set up a storytelling or quiet reading space to enable this to happen. Liked those? Try these for more great ideas... “Jumpstart Literacy – games and activities for 7 – 14 years” by Pie Corbett “Recipe for a Woodland” is one of Joseph Cornell’s “Sharing Nature” activities which are available for free from InformationPhotos: Kate Walters P P Pa a ag g ge e e 1 1 15 O O O OU U U UT T T TD D D DO O O OO O O OR R R R L L L LE E E EA A A AR R R RN N N NI I I IN N N NG G G G P P P PA A A AC C C CK K K K Activity Type Curriculum areas Sciences, Expressive Arts Length 30 – 45 mins art or science? Art and science often overlap – in the real world as well as the curriculum. From beautiful scientific images of natural history to the artistic creativity & imagination required for scientific progress, the line has been blurred. Woodland sounds Wind rustling leaves, branches creaking, people walking, birds singing or moving in the undergrowth. What direction are the sounds coming from? How far away do they originate from? Vibrations created by sharply tapping on living and dead wood produce a variety of sounds. Do all tree species sound the same? How can you tell the difference between living and dead wood other than sound? Shadow drawing Observing the passing of time and the movement of the sun can be achieved together by putting a stick in the ground, marking the shadow and then returning after a short while to see how far the shadow has moved. Make it more artistic by attaching a piece of white card to the stick, carefully trace the shadow of a plant and then come back to redraw it when it has moved. Use charcoal or soft pencils to give the drawings a ‘shadowy’ effect. Other ideas Move like a minibeast – it may take more than one person to get the correct number of legs though... Make up a dance about a tree,a pigeon or some grass. Set up a woodland theatre:string up a tarpaulin between some trees for a roof and there you have your natural stage – just as Shakespeare would have done Help make your school grounds more interactive... “Growing School Garden Teachers Resource Pack” activities are available free online from InformationPhotos 1 & 2: Kate Walters Photo 3: Meriel Young P P Pa a ag g ge e e 1 1 16 O O OU U UT T TD D DO O OO O OR R R L L LE E EA A AR R RN N NI I IN N NG G G P P PA A AC C CK K K Activity Type Curriculum areas Expressive Arts, Technology, Sciences Length 30 – 45 mins wildart Andy Goldsworthy – British artist living in Scotland known for being an ‘environmental or land artist’. His ethos is to create both temporary and permanent sculptures, using natural and found objects, which draw out the character of their environment. Wild Art is a very versatile way to explore many different things. It can be used as a form of personal expression or be more focused. Why not look at identifying patterns, highlighting colours or shapes in nature. You could explore ways to view the natural world differently, to spark imagination for a later art session. It doesn’t just have to be 2-dimensional. 3-D structures and sculptures can be a great way to explore the properties of different materials Comprehension of abstract concepts can be assessed through the use of natural art. This picture shows one group’s understanding of ‘The Water Cycle’. Taking a photograph of it provides a permanent record whilst the transient art just blows away... Other art ideas using natural materials Puppets Masks or Hats Dreamcatchers “Talking to the Earth” by Gordon MacLellan Environmental artists from the U.K. Andy Goldsworthy Antony Gormley InformationPhotos: Helen Pugh Photography P P Pa a ag g ge e e 1 1 17 O O OU U UT T TD D DO O OO O OR R R L L LE E EA A AR R RN N NI I IN N NG G G P P PA A AC C CK K K Activity Type Curriculum areas Languages, Maths, Expressive Arts, Technology, Social Studies Length 45 – 60 mins wordart Richard Long – English artist who is one of the best known ‘land artists’. Many of his works are based around walks that he has made and he uses the mediums of photography, text and maps to record the landscape he has walked over. Using “walking as art” as the basis of his work, Richard Long chooses a unique route for each of his walks. These may be: • a force of nature – such as always going with /against gravity or the wind • exploring a fixed area on a map – for example, drawing ever-decreasing circles and walking only with that boundary for a set period of time. The areas Richard Long covered range from a few metres to many miles – but yours don’t have to • a concept – such as ‘One Hour’ and ‘White Light’ (see below) ONE HOUR Textworks by Richard Long This approach is an excellent way to provide structure for word-gathering exercises or reinforcing abstract concepts. The words could be collected individually or as a group and then used to create poems or as a stimulus for creative writing. Land & Concept art... Richard Long particularly the text works at Alec Finlay – especially the animations Chris Drury for mushrooms,maps and clouds InformationPhotos: Kate Walters P P Pa a ag g ge e e 1 1 18 O O OU U UT T TD D DO O OO O OR R R L L LE E EA A AR R RN N NI I IN N NG G G P P PA A AC C CK K K evaluation All evaluation should take place outside to ensure it is as relevant as possible. A ‘Post-it’ pad and pencil in the pocket are very handy for jotting down notes Behaviour “Observing children is simply the best way there is of knowing where they are, where they have been and where they will go next.” Mary Jane Drummond, teacher and researcher in primary education Art & craft Using a ‘wild art’ activity as a reviewing tool at the end of a session will give you an opportunity to assess understanding of a topic or concept (this picture shows the Four Seasons). Sharing Giving children time to share their achievements with the class gives them a chance to raise their self-esteem. It also helps you to explore the thinking and reasoning behind their work and reward the results. Speaking and listening skills will be practised as well. Group review Working in small groups, children can feedback their findings on one element of the topic to the rest of the class. Books forAssessing Learning “Assessing Children’s Learning:Primary” by Mary Jane Drummond “Dialogues with Children” by Gareth Matthews “Listening toYoung Children: The MosaicApproach” byAlison Clark and Peter Moss