Activate Your Owl Eyes & Ears
Going outside to engage in nature-based learning with students requires careful preparation, but also a bit of imagination and magic to pull it off.
When started our program on our school grounds which is used by over 450 students for recess time, we wondered: “How are our students going to slow down enough to observe their natural surroundings in a space where they play tag and manhunt?”. This is where the magic came in to play.
We needed students to feel as though they have been transformed into nature kids and for them to believe they would see things on the school grounds that the other students were not able to. Over the years, we have tried a few routines to shift their perception of what is a school ground. Here are some of our ideas:
Before each outdoor session, we ask students in the owl class to activate their owl eyes and ears and students in the wolf class to activate their wolf eyes and ears. This trick helps students to focus on the wonders of nature around them.
We give each student a wood cookie necklace name tag (“un bijou de la forêt” - we are French teachers), that they put on at the beginning of each outdoor session. Once they put on their necklaces, TA-DAH! ... they are ready to explore!