There’s no better time to bust outside the four walls of the classroom to instigate student learning. Think outside the box — literally! It’s time to get outside the four walls you call your classroom and add vitamin D to student learning. With winter weather long gone and Arizona sunshine on-tap,Mar 20, 2018
There’s no better time to bust outside the four walls of the classroom to instigate student learning.
Think outside the box — literally! It’s time to get outside the four walls you call your classroom and add vitamin D to student learning. With winter weather long gone and Arizona sunshine on-tap, it would behoove educators to get creative with lesson planning.
These helpful hints from Bethany Dean, a first-grade teacher at Acacia Elementary School in the Washington Elementary School District, will help you engage learners outdoors. Whether you plan to do team building or academic activities, students will be thrilled to change up the pace and get away from their desks.
When it comes to team building tasks, Dean utilizes Kagan’s Silly Sports and Goofy Games. “They have a ton of options for class building activities that the kids are obsessed with. They’re so fun,” Dean exclaims. “I spy them playing the games at recess all the time.”
Leave the technology inside and put your memory to use. The Arizona native says she utilizes GoNoodle with her students, which is an online website for brain breaks. “The kids have many of the videos memorized so we can do them outside,” Dean says. “This is especially good for those activities that require the kids to be noisy so we don’t disrupt our friendly class neighbors.”
Do you need a way to break up the day during testing week? Brain Gym is a whole-brain learning system of brain exercises. “It has a lot of different exercises that are quick that the kids can do to trigger and warm up different parts of the brain. It can be easily done outside and you don’t need a whole lot of space,” she says.
To move academic activities outside, the first-grade teacher says chalk is a great tool. “Chalk is the best way to get your kids outside for academics. They can write and draw for any subject or lesson,” she explains. Another idea: “We’ve done chalk clocks outside so the kids can act as the hour and minute hands. Chalking is also really easy for math fact review. I’ll have math facts written in chalk on the basketball court and they go around to each and answer the questions in their journals.”
Dean says she uses Kagan cooperative-learning strategies outside, noting, “It’s actually a lot easier to do them outside since there is so much space.”
Lastly, Dean creates exploration walks for science and social studies to connect what’s learned inside the classroom to the outdoors. She says, “We went on a field trip to the park to do an ‘Arizona Exploration’ activity where the kids used Arizona symbols and elements to participate in a scavenger hunt.”