Parachutes outdoors are great!

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Forest Celebration Day

60 P4 pupils enjoyed activities in the woods for FSC Friday!

In the morning we had a design a T shirt competition to win a T shirt (kindly donated by the FSC).  Later, we headed outside into the beech woods to sing a rainforest song, make clay animals and then make wee shelters for them.  

A scorpion! (we have been studying rainforests as well as our beech woods!)

 Beautiful beech wood in the autumn sunshine

 snail and hedgehog

shelter for clay animals

 a big shelter for a small clay mouse!

 A few groups made their shelters up trees which I hadn't anticipated...interesting!  One group said they were making an appartment block with flats for their creatures on different floors...maybe a reflection of their personal experience of housing?  Other groups just enjoyed climbing up to make a shelter like a tree house.

 One girl made this amazing mask with her parents at home last night.  She hung it up on this stick to keep it safe while she made her shelter.

 An appartment - work in progress...

A more typical shelter, using a lean to design for this snail.

What struck me was the enthusiasm for being in the woods, with everyone on task all afternoon and only one child asking to go to the toilet in 1 and a half hours, usually unheard of for our P4 classes!  It was so lovely to watch children climbing up and sitting in trees to make their clay models.  Some of the boys were hanging on branches telling me they were a monkey, sloth or snake!  Really acting out our rainforest project.

From the start I have been keen to relate the rainforests to our own Scottish woods as the children are far removed from the rainforests.  Instead of worrying them with tales of cutting down rainforests, we have looked at how important woods are and celebrated our own woods, with minibeast hunts, tree identification walks, leaf collecting, exploring our woods and now using our woods as a place to sing, do art and for design and technology.  We are finishing this topic in 2 weeks but this wont be the end of our visits here...this resource on our doorsteps is far too valuable.

Plans are for some free play sessions, spooky (halloween) trail, firework pictures (using leaves and twigs), reading Burn's poems in the woods  and lots more...come back soon to find out...

Saturday, 15 September 2012

FSC Celebration Day

The FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) are promoting FSC Friday to celebrate woodlands on Friday 28th September.  Both of our Primary 4 classes are taking part and the pupils will plan a Forest Celebration Day next week.  I wonder what ideas they will have...

There is a good website and other info about the day, some competitions and resources to use for this event.

More woodland story writing

This week we returned to the woods to get more story ideas for our rainforest stories.  This time I read out some of the pupil's work from last week as we sat in a clearing in the woods. I really enjoy story telling outside and everyone was listening really well.  We did some more exploring and noted down useful adjectives then back in for our writing session.  The pupils were eager to get writing and their enthusiasm was even more than last week.  No one said they didn't know what to write and some were reluctant to stop at break time.  I had to cancel my lesson after break as so many wanted to carry on with writing for longer and no one complained about writing for another 30 minutes.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

What are P4 learning outside?

This week I planned to write stories about a walk in a rainforest.  There is a book called, "Where the Forest meets the Sea" by Jeannie Baker which I was going to use as a stimulus for writing.  We have also looked at photos from I visit I made to the Amazon rainforest and we have looked at other books to get an idea of the setting.

I am very keen to interest the class in our own local woods as rainforests are far away, but our own forests are on our doorstep so we started our writing lesson by heading outside into the beech wood and I let the children pretend they were explorers and they could head up to the end of the forest we can access but they had to leave the path and head through the trees and undergrowth.  They had a lot of fun even though it is a narrow strip of trees and they were never very far from me.

At the top end of the woods we stopped and they sat in a circle while I read the book to them and we discussed the pictures.

Next we ventured into an area of scrub and younger trees (mixed woodland species) where there was no path and they had to follow me as I made my way through the easiest route.  They stuck close together and found the whole walk quite an adventure!

Back in class they started to write enthusiastically and produced some wonderful writing.  They included getting scatched by branches, the smell of the damp mosses and several things from our real woodland walk.  They added in toucans, vines and jaguars.

I wonder how many story writing sessions could start outside?