I have always been a huge advocate of outdoor learning and outdoor play. I think it stems from my upbringing in rural Canada and I grew up with a close connection to the outdoors and nature. That coupled with the sadness I have felt my entire international teaching career, working in large cities where most of my students had no opportunity to have that same nature connection.
I encourage outdoor learning with my colleagues and I am fortunate enough to have an administrative team who whole-heartedly support it as well.
Outdoor learning isn’t rocket science. Often it is simply tweaking a lesson you would normally do in your classroom and bringing it outside.
Some lessons are more centered on my areas of expertise; entomology, ornithology, botany, and conservation …..yup….bugs, birds, plants and how they all get along together!
Today was all about getting our Math happening outdoors.
Some areas we are covering in our current Grade One Math unit are counting to twenty and odd and even numbers.
I took these activities outside late this afternoon. We started with a counting review. The entire class got into a circle (the most challenging aspect of the lesson) and they counted around the circle to 25. Then they had to do it backward (the true test of understanding and listening).
Then came ODD vs EVEN!
Number cards from 1-20 were placed around half the soccer field. I would then yell out, “Even!” Students would then have to run to any even number. If I yelled, “Odd!” they would run o an odd number. If I yelled “Even” twice in a row, they would have to run to a different even number.
We played this simple, yet effective and fun form of numeracy practice for about 20 minutes. The students reinforced their numeracy skills while running around and improving their health outside the classroom. As you can see in the Twitter videos I posted today, they had FUN!
Take those indoor lessons outside and make your students happier and healthier!
About the Writer:
Kevin O’Shea is a PYP/Nature/Outdoor educator currently based in Beijing, China. He is a father, husband, and avid conservationist. Kevin is an advocate for outdoor play and nature education. He is the host of the long-running Just Japan Podcast and is currently developing the Making Better Teachers Podcast!