When taking students outside to explore the school yard, a common challenge is that they associate the space with recess and immediately want to play tag! Transforming this perception requires a bit of imagination:
At the beginning of the year, we read Byrd Baylor’s book, Your Own Best Secret Place. We ask students to think about nooks and crannies on the yard that no one else sees while they are playing at recess.
Then, we invite students to explore the yard using their owl eyes and the wolf ears to find those special places. Our students amaze us with the special places they find on the yard - a twisted tree trunk that could double as an animal home, a back corner of the yard with wild flowers growing, a hiding place where a bunny lives.
Our final step is to map it out, recording the names students give to those special places (e.g., the Rainbow Trees, the Jumping Rocks, the Spaghetti Trees, Madame Joanne’s Favourite Baby Tree, etc.). These special places then become points of interest on our Learning Trails.
Invite your students to discover special places on your school and see what they come up with!