I grew up outdoors! Love it. After reading about the benefits of outdoor classrooms, I organized an effort at my school to put one in. Planted lots of trees, a butterfly garden, entrance gardens, and had a classroom shelter built. We planted a lot of our gardens with flowers grown from seed and that led to a lot of measurement, comparing size of seed to size of plant, speed of growth and so on. The whole school was involved in the planting of trees and gardens.
My classes (second grade) also did Journey North tulip gardens and this led to joining in signs of spring, monarch watch, etc. The students also helped maintain the gardens.
What did the 1/2 hour a day do for those students? You would not believe the growth that those made in volunteering their time. Yes, no one was forced to do this! They grew socially, working together as a team and their math performance was increased. They journaled about their observations and read about different habitats and plant needs. They improved their reading skills!
When we got a new principal who did not understand this, we could no longer do it, so that gardens got torn out and a lot of the plants we'd grown went home with her for her new house.
- 4/12/2011 12:46:19 PM