Have you ever wished you could get your class to reconnect with nature? You're not the only one. Thanks to Twitter, I learned about a cool movement in Ireland that's helping people reconnect with nature. I watch social media closely and it's my job to share some of the hot topics on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and other outlets that teachers, principals, students, and parents are contributing.
In Ireland, two scientists started the Festival of Outdoor Learning Ireland. It's an event that attempts to reconnect people with nature. Their goal is to educate people with the outside world, turning it into an accessible and friendly place. The first time they held the event, 50 people attended and the organizers said it doubled during its second year. I found this article, posted on Irish Times, thanks to Rebekah Tauritz.
Automobiles, air conditioning, treadmills are all wonderful inventions that would be difficult, in some cases, to imagine a world where we didn't have them. However, all three also make it easier to keep walls between you and nature. So now it's up to you to make sure you and your students get your healthy dose of fresh air. Start with something simple, such as taking your class for a quick walk. You can make a lesson out of it. Find shapes in nature for math, plants or bugs for science, inspiration for art, description writing for language arts, or just give the presentation outside instead of inside (your students will love you). I once had an English class experience the Romantic literature movement by fishing in the pond near the back of the school. Get creative!
Another option you can pick is creating your own outdoor festival. Look around the local parks and other public areas for forests, ponds, fields, farm lands, and the like… Who knows what kind of interesting outdoor places you can find in your own hometown. Then you can start putting together a weekend event or field trip where you can teach students all about the nature they see in their own backwards. If you feel really inspired, try arranging an overnight camping trip.
How do you reconnect with nature? Do you ever have outdoor activities in your classroom? What are some lesson plans you can think of that might include outdoor activities? Why do you think it's important to reconnect with nature?
Tori Pakizer is the Social Media Editor at SimpleK12.com. She writes regularly about the use of educational technology in K-12 classrooms, and specializes in how teachers use Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and other social media. You can follow Tori and SimpleK12 on Twitter @SimpleK12. If you have ideas for using social media in schools, please send your information or tip to email@example.com.
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