That being said, these educational adventures will be of all shapes and sizes in a variety of settings.
The Indoor Classroom
The Classroom Zoo officially opens for it's tenth season in just a few days. Those of you who know me know I have a zoo them based on the first children's stories I ever wrote. In short, I want all who enter my room to be respected for their individuality. A zoo is full of animals with unique and amazing characteristics. Those differences make it a special place to visit. My students also have differences and qualities that need to be respected and celebrated. A zoo isn't a zoo if it only has one same animal in every exhibit just like a classroom isn't working at its best unless each child is able to be exactly who they are.
This year, I went with an even more open concept than last year. I added different things, like a reading tent and a Lego table, and expanded on others, like my science exploration supplies and non-traditional seating. While I did leave some tables for those who prefer to sit and for potentially messy art supplies, most traditional tables and chairs are gone.
|Calendar and group teaching area|
|Math area with my wall of champions|
|Imaginative play area|
|Science exploration supplies and some non-traditional seating|
|Guided literacy & math table|
|Bare (not for long) wall of student art and future home of our two tortoises|
|My desk (already a bit cluttered)|
|View from my desk|
|Cubby room with creature collages|
The Outdoor Classroom
As I begin the forest kindergarten concept in my district, I have thoroughly enjoyed researching the concept and applying it to my own school with my very own trail design and creation. I knew it would be exciting to get the kids out in nature but I couldn't even begin to think about how many ideas I am flooded with each and every day, especially when I am lucky enough to have a child join me on the trail. In my most recent trips to the trail with my own daughter and a former student, watching the kids experience the trail and all it has to offer really opened up my eyes to the possibilities. From collecting acorns to observing deer, even as few small moments helps kids be kids while learning and growing.
|Trail heading to our oak tree teaching area|
|I had to create the trail to go through the part of our oak savanna|
|A view from one end of the trail|
|The trail is toddler-tested and approved!|
|We got about 10 feet away before this cutie bounded away|
|Best hike leader|
|Oak tree teaching area|
|View from under the oak|
|Second more open teaching area near exit/entrance|
I have a feeling this is going to be a very special year. While this blog will consistently update you on my life as a father and teacher, please consider following my hiking blog, Tales from the Trails as it will focus on my outdoor adventures.
Let the learning begin!