Learning–OUTSIDE

With so much screen time in remote learning, with so much time spent indoors, a walk around the block is probably the easiest, and greatest relief, for all of us.

And, if you need some ideas and inspiration for learning on that walk outside, here are some items to note, ask, or consider on your walks:

  • Read every sign together.
  • Find letters and numbers on a walk.
    • Addresses, license plates, political signs, street signs, etc.
  • Use a plant guide app, identify plants on your walk.
    • Plant species identification; read over the guides for plant care.
  • Use cardinal directions to describe your route.
    • We’re walking northwest, we need to walk ______ to get home.
  • Compare and contrast lawns.
  • Discuss make and models of cars.
  • Calculate elapsed time
    • It took 15 minutes to walk this block, 10 minutes to walk this block, what time will we arrive home?
  • Discuss what happened today.
  • Discuss the weather.
  • Discuss plans for the week.
  • Recite poems, song lyrics, favorite stories.

Generating a conversation means generating vocabulary. Discussing concepts reinforces conceptual knowledge.

I know we are all struggling to find the time and inspiration for learning; it’s hard navigating multiple platforms and sitting in front of a screen all day. So, allow yourself a break, and know that learning can still happen, and still be fruitful, even on a simple walk.

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Photo by Caroline Hernandez on Unsplash

Gallery

Two summers ago I was involved in a career & technical program for middle school students–this specific program was designed for, and geared for, middle school English Language Learners. The premise and basis of the program: build language through career & technical learning.

This experience was everything; I loved everything about it.

Pictured below are final projects in one of the cosmetology classes–what do you think?

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Career & Technical MS Summer Program–Cosmetology Final Projects

Why do I teach?

Installment #8:

I teach because I can, and do, make an impact–even when I doubt it, even when I don’t see it; I make an impact.

I started teaching in 2007; I was a kindergarten teacher. I didn’t think I would make a career in K-12 education, I thought this was a stepping stone to my ultimate goal: a professor at a university.

I had heard from lifelong teachers about seeing, meeting, and watching their students graduate high school, even college. I had heard from lifelong teachers who taught a student and then, eventually, taught that student’s children. It seemed magical and incredibly distant. I talked about the future with my kiddos, I imagined it, but I didn’t think I would be a part of it–not truly. It was just a wish. Not to mention I was in kindergarten–I had a long wait ahead of me!

Whelp, it’s 2020, and guess what? My first group of students, my little kindergarteners, are graduating high school. It had dawned on me in a conversation with a friend recently and I was stunned–how did I get so old? That much time had passed?

And just as I had come to terms with this realization and began to fancifully dream of what my former students looked like, what they were like, where they were going, and all kinds of hopeful thoughts and thoughts about the future, all of that saturating my mind, a former student contacted me and invited me to their graduation in May!

As soon as I saw the name and the invitation, I was overwhelmed with emotion. It was more than an invite or a thought, it was this feeling that after all this time, I was one of those teachers–the kind you want to keep sharing achievements with, the kind you remembered, and that’s what makes teaching all the more special, all the more powerful, all the more important.

When someone chooses teaching, they choose to become a role model, a mentor, an adviser, and so much more–and in this way, they choose to make an impact in the development and lives of people. It’s an incredible opportunity to do good, and in this way, it’s why so many people choose teaching.