A blog for students on the FDLT and BALT courses at the University of Northampton

at Leicester and UN

May 29, 2020
by Jean
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Notice nature in June!

As the month of June begins there are some interesting activities taking place to draw our attention to the natural world.

30 days wild calendarThe first is the annual event run by The Wildlife Trusts: “30 Days Wild“.

At the link you can sign up to take part as a family, a care home, a business or a school or group. When you sign up you will receive a downloadable wall chart to help you plan a month of wildlife centred activities along with some other useful and fun resources.

You can see the first two weeks of the calendar here.

screen shot from NJW websiteAnother activity that takes place next week is international Nature Journaling Week (1st to 7th June 2020). The aim of the week is to “come together as a world-wide community to celebrate and document the beauty and diversity of the natural world”. (NJW, 2020, lines 7-8).

As well as a theme of each day and “live” online activities there is a useful ‘for parents and teachers” page. It has suggestions for how to involve children in observing and recording nature in the early years, primary years and teenage years along with a website link to John Muir Laws’s resources.

BBC springwatch website Finally, of course, as always at this time of year Springwatch is running on BBC and social media channels.

 

There are live broadcasts on social media at 9am, midday and 5pm along with the terrestrial BBC2 program at 8pm on Tuesdays to Fridays for three weeks. There are live webcams streaming all the time, allowing wildlife to be observed live from wherever you are.

The weather is great so now is the time to go and look at the outdoors wherever you are and notice what is happening in the world around.

References 

Nature Journaling Week (2020) Welcome to International Nature Journaling Week. NJW website. [online] Available from: https://www.naturejournalingweek.com/ [Accessed 29/05/2020]. 

Nature Journaling week. (2020) For parents and teachers webpage. NJW website. [online] Available from: https://www.naturejournalingweek.com/parents-and-teachers [Accessed 29/05/2020]. 

BBC 92020) Springwatch. BBC. [online] Available from: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b007qgm3 [Accessed: 29/05/2020].

The Wildlife Trusts. (2020) 30 Days Wild calendar. The Wildlife Trusts. [online] Available from: https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/sites/default/files/2020-04/combinepdf%20%282%29.pdf [Accessed: 29/05/2020].

 

May 7, 2020
by Jean
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Take part in the Urban Tree festival!

Save Our Street Trees is delighted to be taking part in the first-ever virtual Urban Tree Festival – to celebrate our beautiful urban trees.

Between May 16 and 24, Save Our Street Trees – Northampton will be asking people to turn over a #newleaf with a Virtual Urban Forest in their windows for everyone to enjoy on their daily walks, along with people all over the UK.

We’re tasking families and children to design a bare tree and display it in their window – and each day craft a #NewLeaf to slowly build up a tree canopy. Each #NewLeaf can have a message for passers-by, such as tree poems, tree quotes, forest facts and calming/motivating messages to get people through lockdown.

The idea is one of celebrating urban trees – but also new beginnings, new life, positivity and regeneration. We will be providing downloadable tree trunk templates, leaf cut outs, and lots of leaf art ideas nearer the time.

Watch this space! We’d love you to share photos of your trees and leaves during the Urban Tree Festival week via

Facebook event: Save Our Street Trees – Northampton and Urban Tree Festival here, and on

Twitter: @SaveStreetTrees

Instagram: @saveourstreettrees

Join the Facebook group here.

 

June 3, 2019
by Jean
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June is 30 days wild month!

Each June The Wildlife Trusts runs #30dayswild.

This is what The Wildlife Trusts say:

“This June, we challenge you to do something wild every day. That’s 30 simple, fun and exciting Random Acts of Wildness.

We’re giving you a free pack of goodies to help you plan your wild month, plus lots of ideas from your Wildlife Trust to inspire you to stay wild all throughout June (and beyond!). You’ll also get inspiring emails from your Wildlife Trust, invites to exclusive events and a chance to join in on social media.

To get your free 30 Days Wild pack, which includes a wallchart, a poster, an interactive booklet and some stickers to help you go wild, just select who is taking part and take the next step!” (The Wildlife Trusts, 2019).

You can participate as a family, a school, a care home or a workplace and post what you do each day on social media using #30dayswild. As people working in education one of the best things about this initiative is that you can pick up lots of great ideas to use to inspire and support learning.

The Wildlife Trusts (2019) 30 Days Wild. [online] Available from: https://action.wildlifetrusts.org/page/40705/petition/1#sign-up [Accessed: 30/05/19].

March 20, 2019
by Jean
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Exploring nature

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.

Reference:

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]

 

February 1, 2019
by Jean
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Activity Passport

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.

You can download the National Trust list 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.

References:

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]

April 27, 2018
by Jean
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30 days wild!

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.

 

June 1, 2017
by Jean
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30 days wild!

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:

@30dayswild on Twitter

Facebook group

@thewildlifetrusts on Instagram

If you take part let us know what you do by commenting below!

May 12, 2017
by Jean
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Y1 visits to Newton Field Centre

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.

 

 

April 13, 2017
by Jean
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Learning at the Forest School

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.

 

June 7, 2014
by Jean
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FDLT Y1 exploring learning outdoors!

This week each FDLT Y1 group spent a day at an outdoor location to explore the potential for learning outside the classroom. The Oadby and UN groups visited Newton Field Centre near Kettering and the MK group visited Green Park near Aylesbury.

Oadby Y1 2014

Oadby Y1 2014

 

On Monday the Oadby group were lucky to have warm and sunny weather for their day at the Field Centre. Have a look on the Oadby Y1 1014 page for more details.

On Wednesday the UN group arrived amidst pouring rain but we did the river geography activities regardless! More details on the the Oadby Y1 2014 page of this blog.

UNY14.jpg

UN Y1 4th June 2014

The MK Y1 group went to Green park, Aylesbury for their outdoor experience.

MK Y1 June 5th 2014

MK Y1 June 5th 201

To follow up the experience I have made a ThingLink for students to explore. This poses some key questions and recommends some useful reading and websites.

Click here to access it:

ThingLink

 

 

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