It has been ridiculously beautiful in Victoria the past while so I thought it would be a perfect time to talk about how to get your class outside – and not just for a run around or free play!
On Friday we started our review at the beginning of our integers unit so I was trying to think of ways to keep the review fun, engaging, and meaningful. We were going to start with number lines so I thought we would grab some sidewalk chalk and take our number lines outside.
After they drew out their number lines (-10 to +10), in groups they walked he lines to answer some mental math questions. It was a great way for me to see their confidence with integers – some kids were taking the lead, some were following, and some were asking questions. We had a lot of fun with this one and it was great to get outside and be active for some math.
Here are some of the times I have taken classes out in the past for Language Arts:
- Silent Reading
- Discussion groups
- Readers’ Theatre practice
- Writing poetry (especially Haiku’s)
For our most recent Social Studies project we were making videos (I will post more about this soon) and that meant that we were outside for a whole double block while they were filming “How to be an Ancient Greek” video. I love to see how kids use the environment around them to set the stage for the projects they are working on. It’s amazing how the slightly rolling hills become a battlefield and the trees become the perfect stage for their performance.
I haven’t done this one in a long time but it was a lot of fun the first time (original post here).
French Corners: For this game, I use four different verbs that they know how to conjugate (usually avoir, être, faire, aller) and put each verb in a different corner. With everyone in the middle I yell out a conjugated form of one of the verbs and they have to run to the corner with that name (e.g. “Je suis” and they run to être). If we are outside, after a couple of rounds for practice I have it become a race and the last one to the corner has to shout out the next conjugated verb from the middle (with help if needed).
Daily Physical Activity (DPA)
On the day we don’t have a PE block in our schedule we always do have a DPA time. Sometimes we do the weight room or yoga but lately with the great weather we have been getting outside for some games!
One of my favourite (originally from summer camp) games to play with them is called “Aces.” For this game you need 2-3 decks of cards shuffled and mixed together. Each team gets half the deck and each player gets a card. Your team’s goal is to have the most cards at the end of the game. You need to run and tag the other team and then you show your card to them, like the card game “War” the higher number keeps both cards and takes them back to their group leader. If you run lose your card or have two cards from winning you must head back to your leader to get a new card. The trick is if you get an ace (the lowest card) then you will lose to anyone BUT if you make it all the way to the other leader without getting tagged then you get half of their deck of cards to take back with you. This game usually lasts about 30-45 minutes in middle school I find and most kids are running the whole time!
What ways have you been getting your class outside lately?