2017 Abstract for “Exploring Cross-Curricular Outdoor Learning Methods and Activities.”
The overarching goal of the class is to encourage a multi-disciplinary approach to accomplishing curriculum goals in an outdoor setting. Participants will be introduced to an extensive network of community partners eager to help teachers become naturalists and accomplish learning goals outdoors. Participants will explore the theory and practice behind place-based education, learn about the natural history of Alaska’s wetland habitats, marine ecology, geology, soils, wildlife biology, forest types, invasive species, edible and medicinal plants, Traditional Ecological Knowledge, and meet a variety of community partners able to provide resources ranging from field trip funding and materials to staffing and subject matter expertise. Naturalists will learn to incorporate Environmental Literacy, Physical Education, Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, Language Arts, and other disciplines into an integrated program designed to encourage them to explore a diverse array of pedagogy and reconnect kids and adults to the natural world. The class includes daily demonstration field trips to nearby coastal, wetland, and woodland settings to experience cross-curricular multi-disciplinary activities in an outdoor classroom environment. Particular focus will be placed on activities that address the unique challenges and opportunities of learning in Alaska, and encourage outdoor education strategies that lead to an enjoyment of lifelong interactions and an understanding of the natural world.
Handouts from Instructors, 2017 Class
Take a look at some of the lessons/outdoor activities that were explored during this course.
- Connecting Kids with Nature (Instructor, Luise Wolflein, Campbell Creek Science Center)
- Take Language Arts Outdoors with These 5 Quick and Easy Descriptive Writing Ideas (Instructor, Molly Hickox, Girdwood Elementary)
- Nature Journaling, Beginner (Instructor, Lia Keller, AK Forrest School)
- Nature Journaling, Advanced (Instructor, Elizabeth Manning, Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game)
- I Notice, I wonder, It reminds me of. (Instructor, Elizabeth Manning, Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game)
- The Salmon Game. This active outdoor game showcases the salmon life cycle. (Instructor, Kay Shoemaker, National Park Service)
Recommendations for outdoor learning supplies, stocked backpack (Molly Hickox, Girdwood Elementary School).
Be prepared to take your students outdoors with these simple items to carry in your backpack for a walking field trip to nearby parks and trails.
- Tarp squares for sitting on the ground. Cut up a tarp into butt sized pieces for your students to sit on. Light and easy to carry.
- Loops of string
- Strips of cloth for blindfolds
- Colored paint chips
- Magnifying hand lenses
- Field guides
- Garbage bags
- A first aid kit, your cell phone, and emergency numbers are a good idea, too
Nunaka Valley Elementary School has a wagon to pull along the trail that carries all their outdoor classroom supplies. This can easily hold clipboards, pencils, field journals, etc. for all students as well as other pieces specific for the days lesson.
The Alaska Community Foundation has a small, local grant for teachers to fund purchases of outdoor supplies. They have money they want to give to ASD teachers! Due October 17th, 2017. www.alaskacf.org/blog/grants/the-anchorage-schools-foundation-grant-cycle