by Sarah Gilbert
With a vision for what could be and a WEEB grant, teacher Susie Hobart and the staff of Lake View Elementary
in Madison are off to a great start in using their school site to
teach. The school sits in a residential area of Madison and has a wooded
area with old oaks along with mixed hardwood trees right outside their
doors. The teachers are already using the site, but a WEEB grant allows them to improve the site and provide professional development for teachers. That’s where LEAF comes in. LEAF
is lucky enough to be included in the grant to provide guidance for
their curriculum planning and knowledge of teaching outdoors. We’re
excited to be involved!
Last week LEAF staffers Gretchen Marshall and Sarah
Gilbert conducted a short in-service to get the teachers familiar with
their site. The weather wasn’t on board with the plan, however, so our
walk through the woods to observe and journal turned into a one minute
observation from the window and three minutes to journal about what they
saw. After sharing those observations we did a “telephone”
hike in the school. We began in a single-file line. Each teacher was
given information about something in the hall that they could share with
the rest of the group as they walked by. With just a quick walk down
the hall, a forest products and values lesson was at our fingertips.
Either of these techniques can be used in any setting – a forest, a
small woods, a school yard with only grass and a few trees, and even the
school itself! These might even be great activities to get a group that
isn’t used to being outside in practice for a field trip by doing them
first in the school building they are comfortable with.