PTSG – Outdoor Learning Opportunities

Posted on: April 9th, 2020 by jnovakowski

The Richmond School District’s primary teachers study group is continuing to connect, share and collaborate during this time of in-school instruction. We are meeting during our regular “afterschool” time through the use of technology. On this page, we are sharing some of our ideas and resources for learning opportunities outdoors, whether that outdoor space is looking through a window, in a backyard, on a trail, on a balcony or in a school park. Our school playgrounds are closed and we need to be mindful of physical distancing and not being in groups beyond our immediate families, but there are still lots of ways children and their families can learn together outdoors.

“I think it’s important for us to get out to be with our family, our households and experience the fresh air. It’s important during a time like this when we have so much anxiety, when people are cooped up, particularly children, to have those opportunities to go outside.”

~ Dr. Bonnie Henry, BC’s Public Health Officer, April 11, 2020

The organization Outdoor Play Canada has compiled resources and research around the topic of Pandemic Play: Child-Centred Policy in a Global Crisis. This information can inform and inspire us as well provide information to share with our student’s families. You can link to their site HERE.

The following are some of the ideas we have compiled.

Take care, Janice and Jess

The following are a series of mini-posters to share with families to explore mathematics outdoors, in their community and at home:

Sarah and Megan have put together a calendar of ideas for the families at Homma where they teach in an outdoor classroom/garden:

Anne-Marie has shared some scavenger hunts, including those from the City of Richmond:

Jess has shared a lesson focusing on the core competencies and connecting to our community:

Lisa from Anderson shared the prompts she provided for her students for the first week’s learning opportunities:

“How does nature tell us spring is here”?

– What growth do you notice in spring? What changes do you see?

– Can you use your five senses to notice the world around you?

–  ​Can you talk about what you noticed? (I see, I smell, I touch, I hear, I taste)​

– Can you tell a spring story?

Michelle from Blair shares the following ideas that are part of her weekly plans for students – scavenger hunts, Photo Friday (inspired by Paula Jamieson, a NZ educator) or a focused investigation.

  • Some ideas for the Photo Friday Challenge include: 
    • “A Snail’s Eye View” (looking along something and getting low to the ground like a snail). Below is one student’s photo.
    • “A Squirrel’s Eye View” (looking up something like a squirrel). Below is an example I have for my students this week.
    • “A Giant’s Eye View” (looking down at things outside like a giant)

During my first week, I had a “Dandelion Discovery” as their outdoor learning portion.

Erin from Cook shared the Up Close Photo Challenge she has been doing with her students each week. Many of her students are not able to get outside at this time so she is finding ways to bring the outdoors in to them.

For each photo, she asks them to consider these questions:

What do you notice? 

What do you see?

Can you guess what this is? 

How do you know? 

And then after discussion and sharing on the portal, she shares the photos of what the up close photos were taken of.

The students are going to start submitting their own up close photos for their classmates to discuss.

At our Zoom gathering on April 23, our discussion focused on connecting and communicating with families. Here are some of the quotes from the BC Early Learning Framework we discussed:

And the following is an infographic sharing the ways the teachers in the study group are connecting and communicating with families during this time:

Sarah and Megan from Homma share their May calendar for Outdoor Time in both English and French:

Megan from Homma shared this Canadian website that leads you through a tree identification process:

TreeBee tree identification website

Jess Eguia shared this Core Competency lesson that she developed with Briana Adams based on an idea that Faye Brownlie shared at our district pro-d day on May 15:

And our group decided together that our May 21 Zoom session would be our last scheduled meeting for the year, as we all prepare for another shift to our teaching schedules on June 1.

It has been a wonderful year learning together and sharing ideas,

Janice & Jess