Taking Learning Outdoors
Spring is just around the corner and along with it comes longer days, sunshine, fresh breezes, and early buds and blooms. What a great time to get outdoors with your students and take learning outside as well.
Ideas For Social Studies And Science Outdoors
There are many different opportunities to cover academics outside and still enjoy the outdoors. Here are a few ideas that may help.
For social studies, neighbourhood walks, checking out the community, following maps, doing geocaching and using coordinates are just a few things that can be done. If you want more information, check out my post about social studies outdoors.
For science, you can do experiments such as coke and mentos to check out chemical reactions, the clink clunk test to investigate gravity, or do things to check out nature. Starting a garden, growing plants in pots and following their growth, taking a walk in the park or the forest, if you live near one, or visiting the seashore if you live near the ocean are just a few ideas. Kids love to interact with nature and they learn many life skills that they can use later on as well.
Reading and Writing Ideas For Outdoors
For reading and writing there are many different options to try.
Reading can be done in the environment by checking out signs, reading books with buddies while enjoying the sunshine, and playing games like Scoot for sight words are just a few ideas.
During the warmer weather, we would often take our books outside for silent reading and find a quiet spot on the hillside at the edge of the playground to do our reading.
One of my favorite activities for writing is to go outside and explore our senses. After making a list of different things for each of the senses, we use these ideas to develop stories. We choose a theme and use the list to create a descriptive story. My descriptive writing templates were developed for this.
Math Ideas For Outdoors
For math, the outdoors is a great place to work on measurement activities. You can do activities that work with larger units such as meters or yards and you can do perimeter and area activities. Kids love using the trundle wheels and measurement tapes to measure the fields, buildings, and other objects.
The information gathered outside can then be used for creating scaled diagrams on graph paper.
Taking Physical Activity And Gym Class Outdoors
Taking gym outside is an easy thing and I suspect is often done already. Many of the different sports can be done outside as well as inside. The fields and nearby parks are great open spaces for running activities, soccer, kickball, and games. Kids love being able to run around and get active without worrying about being too noisy.
At my school, there is a courtyard and blacktop area with basketball hoops, tetherball, foursquare areas, or hopscotch games available. I liked using this for doing rotations of activities. Everyone could be doing activities at the same time instead of some people waiting for their turn.
Try Music Games Outdoors
Even music class can go outdoors. I used to take my primary music classes outside to do circle games that require running and even rhythm games. One of my favorite rhythm games was a version of California kickball. Instead of just pitching the ball, I would clap out rhythms and they would have to say the rhythm correctly in order to get the ball thrown for them.
These are just a few examples of how you can take learning outdoors this spring. It really comes down to your own comfort and creativity. Enjoy the weather and have fun teaching outside.
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Distance Learning Help
Hi Everyone. I hope you are managing to get some rest this weekend as we prepare for another week on online learning and teaching.
I just wanted to let you know that many of us are trying to make changes to our products or create new ones that are able to be delivered in a digital manner so that they can be used more easily in the new way of teaching and learning.
I have been working on creating some online materials. So far I have created some Boom Cards for math and music. I have also started experimenting with Google Slides and I hope to be able to have some of these ready soon. My goal for now is to create materials for literacy and French in addition to more math materials. You can check those that are done by cllcking here.
Stay safe everyone and try to find time for rest and self care during the week.
Two years ago I wrote a post called Retirement Musing. As I was looking back at it today, I realized that some things have changed, but many things remain the same.
People often ask me how I am liking retirement, but I've realized, I don't know what retirement really is. I am technically retired, but I am still doing most of what I was doing before I retired. I am not living what most people consider a retirement lifestyle.
What does retirement mean to me?
Freedom to help family when needed
I am lucky to have the time to spend with my family and help out when needed. I often take trips down island to look after my grandchildren and do things for my kids and my mother-in-law.
Less reliance on the alarm clock
Although there are times when I do need to get up early and be places, this is not an everyday thing any more. I get up early on the mornings when I help out at school or I have rehearsals, but on other days I can get up when I feel like I am done sleeping.
Even when traveling, I don't have to leave early in the morning unless I have specific plans to do so.
Afternoon naps possible
When l was teaching, I would be so tired that I would want a nap when I got home, but life didn't allow time for that. Now that I am retired, if I feel like taking a nap, I do and I don't feel guilty about it either. A power nap gives me the energy I need to complete my other activities without feeling exhausted.
Time to do what I love
It is no secret that I love teaching. I enjoy working with children and seeing their faces light up when they get a concept or they finally understand something that made no sense to them. I love to play games with them and work with them in small groups. I love sharing who I am with them and learning about who they are outside of the classroom. Those connections are so precious.
Some future goals for my retirement years
Find a balance between commitments and me time
Although I enjoy teaching, and working with ukulele groups, sometimes I get so busy that I forget to find me time. I need to find the balance that will allow me to enjoy what I love doing and yet take care of me. Over the years, life has been so busy, that I haven't spent much time with friends. I need to change that.
Create more couple time
My husband and I have done many things together over the years, but usually for others and not just for us as a couple. We teach ukulele groups, we perform in ukulele groups, we have worked with choirs, taught over 30 years, taken groups on trips, and done things with our kids and grandkids. It is time for us to do things for the two of us. Last Christmas and again this Christmas, the kids gave us tickets to shows in Victoria. This is a start. We have also gone to a couple of performances nearby. It would be nice to take a trip somewhere as a couple instead of as leaders of a group. Hopefully this will be possible in the near future as well.
One of the reasons I retired was that many of my good friends were getting very sick, and some died before reaching the age of retirement. I decided that my health was more important than working until 65. My husband needed to retire early because of health issues. At the time, he fought it, but now he is thankful that he did because he has been able to continue to do what he loves and remain healthy at the same time. Health is more important than money. Working for full pension and then not being healthy enough to enjoy retirement is not the way to go. I am glad that we both are able to do so much still and I hope we will be around many more years to live life and make memories.
Well, there is my update. I wonder how it will change in the next couple of years. Maybe I will have to do a new update then.
I have been thinking about making some music products for awhile now, but it has been on the back burner due to other more immediate needs. Last week my daughter asked me if I could create a music quest with some task cards for her general music classes in middle school. She generated some trivia questions and information that she wanted for the cards and I created them. While waiting for her to come up with her material, I created some other products, including a primary version of Music Quest.
These quests include several games that can be played in groups, with partners, or as center activities.
In primary classes, many rhythm instruments are used for creating music. Rhythm and notation are also introduced in later grades. I have used these concepts to create some matching games for the primary and early intermediate classes.
If you are looking for some fun activities for the music classroom, or if you teach your own music and would like some activities to engage your students, check these out.
About Me Charlene Sequeira
I am a wife, mother of 4, grandmother of 9, and a retired primary and music teacher. I love working with kids and continue to volunteer at school and teach ukulele.