OK, this is me in my element, out and about with a bunch of awesome kids. We have walked, on average 4.5 miles a day, so by the end of the week we will have walked over twenty miles together. That means a lot in terms of bonding with our peers! We really see how the kids start looking out for each other, including carrying a water bottle for a friend who is tired, or pointing out to a friend where she or he needs to apply sunscreen. When you are out and about with kids, you don’t need to have a lesson plan, other than being open and aware to what catches the attention of the children. Everything is a learning opportunity. So far, what has caught the attention of the children includes:
- opportunities to climb
- hunting for shade (We have experienced record breaking heat during this week!)
- bugs, especially viewed through a magnifying glass
- signs to read – detour, no parking, danger, speed limits, one way . . .
- landmarks we recognize – the clock tower, Webster science building (What the kids call the pumpkin tower, as every Halloween, pumpkins are thrown from the top of this building, the tallest building in Pullman!), the WSU visitor center
- plants and trees we recognize – lupins, poppies, lavender, willow
- the sound of the clock chimes – we are beginning to use the chimes to tell the time of day!
- seeds that hitch a ride on our clothes and backpacks
- Seeds, in general
Vocabulary involved in the above interests is vast! We have talked about- lupin, poppy, rose, lavender, willow, habitat, predator, prey, shade, shadow, clock tower, chimes, time, seed dispersal,
As far as planning goes, these are important details for teachers:
- Before you leave, check that every child has lunch and a filled water bottle.
- Bathroom and water fill opportunities – essential that you know where these are, and that you check that facilities are open, and water fountains are operational.
- Bring plenty of snacks – children will get very hungry.
- Bring sunscreen.
- Bring a few books for a rest time in the shade.
- Schedule frequent water breaks, and plan for frequent water bottle refills.
- Plan for frequent bathroom breaks.
These are our ground rules for the week:
- Hold hands gently as you walk hand in hand with your partner.
- Stay within your boundaries while playing.
- Listen to your teachers and come when you are called.
- Look after your own belongings – backpack, lunch, water bottle, sunscreen . . .
- Leave nature in nature!
We sometimes underestimate the capabilities of children. I encourage us all to test the capabilities of children through an extensive outdoor activity! Your children will amaze you!