I strongly believe life is an adventure. If you do not see every new event as an adventure it can definitely drag you down. This is because all adventures have challenges, high points, low points, emotional moments and can be completely exhausting and exhilarating all at the same time.
Now if this doesn’t describe the motions of teaching then I don’t know what does. So yes, just started my final school placement, meaning the start of another adventure!
I have been incredibly lucky with my placement and have a lovely year 1 class with very supportive teachers. I have also already had the chance to be involved in and teach education outside the classroom.
So here’s what’s happened in terms of outdoor education so far…
A coach journey back in time…
Last week I got to go on a school trip! Those amazing days where you get to really know the children but seem to spend 95% of your time counting heads. This particular school trip was to inspire their topic of Castles and Dragons, so fittingly it was a trip to a castle!!
Powderham Castle is an incredibly beautiful castle in Devon surrounded by breath-taking grounds filled with plants and wildlife such as deer! There were certainly lots of ‘ooo’s and ‘aahhh’s on the wander up to the grand castle front.
The first activity for the children was quite fittingly, a tour around the castle itself. Our tour guide was a very knowledgeable but older gentleman and I have to be perfectly honest it crossed my mind as to whether he would be able to keep the attention of our rather excitable rabble of 5 year olds. He was very friendly and the children found him very interesting, as did the adults! He was also very aware of their age so did not give too much information and showed them exciting features like amazing secret doors! What the children maybe did not take in was the stunning quality of the building. The outside is grand, but the interior blows your breath away!
Next onto an exciting tractor ride to an amazing playground which is just like the castle, turrets and all! The children were able to run around pretending they were knights, princesses and dragons; very much drawing on what they had seen inside the castle. I think every game involved a secret door! This play allowed them to mentally live the castle life!
Finally Powderham Castle also has a very impressive selection of animals; from donkeys, to geese, to tortoise! This allowed the children to gain hands on experience with new, unknown animals, to learn about how to treat animals and what well looked after animals look like. It also got them talking about which species of animals may have always been at the castle and why.
It was such a worthwhile trip for the children and perfectly demonstrated how taking children outside the classroom can stimulate their minds, allowing them to reach their highest potential back with work back in class. In this case the trip produced some wonderful key words for a big write.
Encouraging excitement for reading with LA boys…
Over the next week I am working with a LA group on the topic of labels and captions. These 4 boys are incredibly kind hearted and sweet natured, but are very reluctant and struggling readers. I thought this group work would be a brilliant opportunity to see if outdoor education could help combat their reluctance to read.
The learning objective of the first session I taught them was ‘to be able to, with assistance, sound talk simple labels and stick them to the correct object’.
I began by taking the boys out onto the school field and let them have a quick run around the place. I find this is really helpful as it gets the excitement of being outside and just wanting to play out of their system.
Next I showed the boys a large (half a4) piece of paper with my name on it. I asked them what this said, they are used to seeing my name in the classroom so new it was my name. I then stuck this paper on my shirt. They asked why I was doing that, amongst giggles, and I explained that it was my label as it explained who I was. I then showed them 4 other labels with their names on. They then found their name by recognising the letters and sound talking them, once found I stuck their names on their jumpers.
Next I showed them a label with the word ‘tree’ on it. We sound talked the word together and I asked them where this might go? They all shouted on the tree! Fantastic! Finally I put them in pairs and gave them 5 simple labels each and they had a race to see which team could stick their labels on the right objects first. However, they were not allowed to take the label unless they have sound talked the word to me first.
This sense of competition encouraged the boys to try really really hard to recognise letters and sound talk their words, with clear attempts at blending. What was incredibly rewarding for myself was seeing the joy they were having in doing so! The learning objective was achieved and it is a session that I will certainly use again.
Please feel free to give this session a go! But as always if you do, please let me know how it goes!
More school updates to come, including my first conservation club next week!
Here’s to adventure! 🙂