S4&8: Outdoor Learning

I recently attended a course in Lincoln about outdoor learning. We looked at a variety of methods and ideas that we could implement back at our own schools. The course was very practical which was ideal as we could understand why outdoor learning is important and how the lesson would work, such as resources needed and timings etc (standard 8 – take responsibility for improving teaching through advice from colleagues and knowing how and when to draw on advice from specialist support). On the course all of the resources used, were collected from outside.

Back at my school I taught a maths lesson on time. I took 15 children outside and gave them a quick recap on time (half-past, quarter to and past). I then asked the children to draw a circle and make a clock face with chalk. This is when the first issue occurred. The children couldn’t find any sticks to use as hands for the clock, so I brought out rulers and items from our PE shed to use as hands. I had printed out lots of time based questions and the children had to change the hands on the clock to show the correct time the question was asking.

The lesson continued to flow and the children were all engaged in their learning (Standard 4 – promote a love of learning) and I could take the role of a facilitator whilst the children took charge of their learning (Standard 4 – impart knowledge and develop understanding through effective lesson time). However, at the end of the lesson the children uploaded and printed the pictures they had taken of their clocks and the answers, but the questions couldn’t be read easily on the photos, which made it harder to mark the work afterwards.

The lesson overall, made me feel quite excited as the children loved the outdoor learning and the layout of the lesson, I felt eager to teach another lesson like this one. However, the lesson could of happened inside, due to the fact all of the resources came from inside, which meant some children who were cold, would ask to go inside and carry on the lesson, which meant the love for learning dropped in some occasions.

I will be trying to implement more outdoor learning and using the space outside effectively. However, I will thoroughly plan the resources I can use outside first. I could have made the questions bigger so they are easier to read or given the children blue tack and they could stick the question onto the hands of the clock. The children at our school are very independent, I could have had an extension for the children who finish and they could present their answers in a unique way themselves.

Next time, I will have all my resources ready beforehand and think about the final outcome I would like from the children, maybe writing down the question underneath for example.

I feel more experienced and confident with outdoor learning and using this to promote a love of learning (Standard 4). I was inspired by the course I attended and want to try use the ideas from this course more over the coming weeks (standard 8 – take responsibility for improving teaching through advice from colleagues and knowing how and when to draw on advice from specialist support). I need to consider the area I am in and what resources I have available, such as tree branches etc.

Focused next steps:

  • Final outcome from children
  • Use of resources to support learning