Travels with Herb Broda

February 2nd, 2009

Herb Broda, the author of Schoolyard-Enhanced Learning, is taking a sabbatical from teaching at Ashland University in Ohio this spring to visit schools that are using the outdoors as part of their curriculum. He will be stopping by the Stenhouse Blog to tell us about his visits and share some of his experiences at various schools. He will also share student work, along with strategies used by teachers to weave the school grounds into the curriculum. If you know of a school that is doing a great job of integrating the outdoors into learning, contact Herb at

Recently I was a guest at Brookside Elementary School in Columbus, Ohio. Principal Fritz Monroe was a great host and shared many examples of how his school is using the outdoors as a springboard for teaching. I’ll be sharing more about Brookside in later posts.

Often the outdoors can be included in instruction without doing a complex or lengthy outdoor activity. Decorating one of the hallways at Brookside was some unique student artwork that utilized nature in a social studies lesson about ancient civilizations. Mr. Monroe described how the sixth grade students went outside and found small sticks that were sturdy enough to work as brush handles. They then took small bunches of pine needles and fastened them to the sticks with string. To create a neat ambience, teachers had the students take their natural brushes into the gym and turn out the lights. By the glow of flashlights (much safer than candles!) students used paint and the pine brushes to create “cave art” on large sheets of brown paper.


Please share your unique activities that incorporate nature into the curriculum. Winter can be a wonderful time for outdoor learning!

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