Summer is almost here and the kids know it. Their lack of attention and wanting to be outside in the beautiful weather is hard to compete with. What do I do to keep the boys attention? How or what do I keep teaching when my reports are completed and in? No air conditioning or fan – my room is known as one of the hottest in the school. Why fight it – I take their learning outside and still teach curriculum.
I try to keep them inside as long as we can handle it; which means sometime between morning recess and lunch. At this point of the year, I am changing my day plan slightly. It is based on which lessons do I need the whiteboard or computer connection for? I teach those lessons first. For language, I take a book and read it to them while the boys are lying down under a tree. I ask questions about inferring, point of view, comprehension and relating the reading to their own life experiences. However, this is all completed orally, some questions are discussed in partners (while I go to every group and engage the students) and some are large group discussions.
For Math, I may take them on a walk looking for 3D shapes or angles in nature. This can also be done in your playground. I also may play a game with them related to probability or multiplication baseball. I look for ways to connect Math to their real world experiences. Having the students show me and themselves why we need Math in our everyday lives.
For Art, we have gone out into the community and sketched trees and flowers; items in our environment. We also have used digital cameras to take pictures of structures in our environment and used photoshop to add to their pictures.
I also am finding ways to take the kids on affordable field trips. While planning field trips, the boys have an input and have often asked for the trip to be just our class. We have one planned for the division to go to a Park, and my class want to go to a different area of the park. We are taking the TTC and exploring our city. Doing a walking tour of the city (while taking pictures) was one of the boys’ most favourite trips this year.
At this point of the year, I am finding ways to have fun with the class and also relate it to the curriculum. They seem to be enjoying it and even understand why we are learning certain aspects of the curriculum. The community environment we have developed is one I hope the boys will always remember.