There are signs of spring all around us! The Woodland Trust has lots of great resources to encourage children to be nature detectives.
With older pupils you might track the effects of weather and climate change by using the nature’s calendar resources here.
With younger pupils you might use the Nature Detective resources to observe and explore outdoors here. This spotter sheet focuses on noting the first signs of spring.
Another useful set of resources is available from The House of Illustration, who have made a set teacher and pupil resources called ‘Illustrating Science’ based around plant life cycles and spotting nature outdoors which can be found here.
Woodland Trust. (2019) First signs of spring. [online] Available from: https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/naturedetectives/activities/2016/01/first-signs-of-spring/ [Accessed 20/03/19]
This afternoon the FDLT Y2 students explored the sculptures placed around the Waterside site.
They then chose their own space on campus and made a maquette (the small model that a sculptor would make as part of the design process). They then used green screen technology (DoInk app and Ipads) to virtually place their sculpture in the space, manipulating its scale to fit.
Some of the sculptures are inspired the university experience (learning and graduating).
Some are inspired by the materials themselves.
Others are inspired by the site itself (railway heritage and wildlife).
You may have seen in the news recently that the DfE have released details about an ‘Activity Passport‘. The announcement reads:”Primary school children will be challenged to go on a nature trail, visit a local landmark or make a treasure map through a new ‘passport’ of activities launched by the Education Secretary to encourage more family time and help build children’s character and resilience.
Endorsed by organisations including the Scouts, Girlguiding and the National Trust – as well as children’s charity Action for Children – the list of activities is intended to support parents and schools in introducing children to a wide variety of experiences and fulfilling activities like flying a kite, learning something new about the local area or putting on a performance.” (DfE, 2019, lines 1-9).
Many of you will have been aware of the National Trust’s “50 things to do before you are eleven and three-quarters” which you explore here.
You can access an editable version of the passport here.
Those of you working on PDT1o64 or PDT2016 will be considering how we enrich learning and access resources and places to bring learning to life. What would be on your list of 50 things to do before 11? If you work with pupils over the age of 11, what would your list of 50 things pupils should do between 11 and 18 years?
Michael Rosen provides an alternative view to this initiative here.
DfE. (2019) Activity ‘passport’ to inspire schoolchildren and boost resilience. [online] Available from:https://www.gov.uk/government/news/activity-passport-to-inspire-schoolchildren-and-boost-resilience [Accessed: 1/2/19]
BA Learning and Teaching students last week visited Adventure Ways outdoor education centre in Moulton. The students, all of whom work as teaching assistants, or in similar roles, learned how the centre works with children and young people who have difficulties coping with school-based learning. The students observed the centre’s staff working with groups of young people, and attended a workshop led by the centre’s CEO, Kurt Perryman in which they were faced with a series of scenarios presented by centre staff and some of their clients.
Last week the FDLT year 1 students went on field trips to explore different ways of supporting learning outdoors. Led by Ken Bland and Georgina Hand, they explored fieldwork around a river including mapping the meander, measuring depth; testing speed of flow and exploring water quality. They also took a kick sample of the animal life in the water and used magnifiers to look at the creatures they had found. They explored the clues to the history of their location around the landscape.
Students also used the outdoors as inspiration for poetry and art. As a starter the students played a digital find it activity in pairs. Each pair was given a grid with things to look for, photograph and present as a PicCollage. The grids were based around subject content, subject specific vocabulary, and could be differentiated to the learning of the pupils. It is a good way of getting a group to explore the outdoor where they will be working in without unnecessarily collecting and damaging the environment.
parts of a plant
parts of a tree
parts of a tree
parts of a tree
We also looked at the work of artist Richard Long. The students then had a go at making walking poetry by setting a rule to walk, collect words and explore the outdoor environment. Some students walked ten steps and then looked up and looked down; others set rules related to collecting certain groups or patterns of words. This gave them the opportunity to use grammatical knowledge in a creative context.
two adjectives, noun, verb
number, colour, noun
two adjectives and a noun
two adjectives and a noun
Students also collected one leaf and tried to identify it using books and an identification app on the ipad. After this they had a go at writing a poem around the edge of the leaf. We discussed using scientific as well as poetic language.
We also looked at The Lost Words – see earlier blog post.
This day connects forwards into the PDT2016 learning beyond the school site module that the students will study in 2018/19.
The Wildlife Trust invites you to something wild every day in June: random acts of wildness. You can sign up here to get a free pack including a wall chart, interactive booklet and some stickers. There is also an app.
When you take part you can also share your activity using #30DaysWild and look at what all the other participants are doing. It is a great opportunity for gathering ideas to use in school or at home in the future.
This is my favourite idea from last year:
A scarf showing the temperature for each day with a row of knitting in a colour based on the temperature each day. I have since seen others based on daily rainfall.
Its June, its Spring and its half term: the perfect time to start a new challenge!
The 30 days wild challenge asks us to make room for nature. You can sign up here to receive a wallchart and ideas pack. You’re asked to perform a random act of wildness each day: this is something that brings a little bit of nature into your life. There are lots of ideas on the 3o days wild website, as well blog posts and links to local events.
As with many initiatives now you can also follow what’s happening on social media:
This week both FDLT Year 1 groups visited Newton Field Centre in Northamptonshire.
They explored how a visit to a Field Centre could support learning in geography, science,history and art. The Field centre teacher, Georgina Hand and a University of Northampton lecturer, Ken Bland, led activities such as measuring the flow of the river, measuring the profile of the river, collecting and classifying invertebrates from the river and using them to measure the environmental quality of the water. The subject knowledge associated with these areas is crucial when supporting learning and this is an area where visiting a field centre with specialist teaching staff can be invaluable to schools.
The students also explored the molehills in the field to collect rocks and stones an these were compared and classified later. The app iGeology and large scale maps of the area are useful resources for this kind of activity. They explored the field for evidence of human use in the past – the pond and the dovecote both being sources of food for the large house that used to exist on the site.
Whilst in the field the students created land art using just the resources available to them in the large field. Because of the time of year there were lots of dandelions in flower and as clocks – a great source of material for making. It was interesting to see of the range of art made featuring circles, lines, colour, contrasts, using techniques such as weaving, placing and pressing down. By now it will all have changed and returned to nature. Finally the students collected leaves to make their own key to the vegetation at newton as a model for making a key on their school sites using the plants around them.
We are very lucky to have our own Forest School at Park Campus, University of Northampton. A few weeks ago the FDLT Year 2 students spent a morning there as part of their learning Beyond the Classroom module to explore more about the Forest School experience.
An album of photos of their experience can be seen here.