The weather is getting warmer and your students are spending more time outdoors where they can. You might be looking for ways to suggest meaningful learning activities into their outdoor excursions. Here are three Stenhouse books that are packed with nature-based learning ideas that you can use now and when you get back to school next year. Take a look!
In Schoolyard-Enhanced Learning , author Herbert W. Broda blends theory and practice to give readers practical suggestions and teacher-tested activities for using the most powerful audio-visual tool available—the outdoors. You'll not only learn how the school grounds—regardless of whether it is in an urban, suburban, or rural setting—can become an enriching extension of the classroom, but you'll also discover ideas about how to incorporate learning strategies into outdoor activities beyond the schoolyard.
Wouldn't it be nice if children came home from school refreshed? Instead of the "What did you do in school today? Nothing." conversation, the response would be, "We followed the stream down to the river today, and learned all sorts of river words!" In Childhood and Nature: Design Principles for Educators, author David Sobel makes the case that meaningful connections with the natural world don't begin in the rainforest or arctic, but in our own backyards and communities. Based on his observations of recurrent play themes around the world, Sobel gives you seven design principles that can guide you in structuring learning experiences for children through place-based education projects.
Whether it's a trickling stream, a grassy slope, or an abandoned rail line, the natural world offers teachers a wonderful resource around which to center creative, inquiry-based learning throughout the year. Nobody knows this better than veteran teacher Laurie Rubin. In To Look Closely: Science and Literacy in the Natural World, she demonstrates how nature study can help students become careful, intentional observers of all they see, growing into stronger readers, writers, mathematicians, and scientists in the process.