My elementary school spends a lot of time out of doors. We have a place-based focus, of sorts, and for good reason. Our campus of three elementary schools, as well as town public library, school administration building, and town recreation center, are idyllically located on 118 acres of land that includes farmhouses, 19th century summer estate buildings, and turn of the century residences. We are surrounded by woods and wetlands, trails and meadows, brooks, streams, and vernal pools.
Four years ago our PE teacher wrote a grant for snowshoes, so we could spend some additional time during our long (well some years are long) New England winters outside. When Mother Nature cooperates, we enjoy snowshoeing during our PE times. Not only did he purchase student sizes, but he also requested a handful of adult pairs. Many classroom teachers accompany their class on their adventures, forgoing their prep time. Who wouldn’t want to be there to share the experience? Our new Principal even opened up the opportunity to accompany a class to all support staff and non-classroom teachers. One year we were blessed with several amazing weeks of woodsy exploring, while last year, the snowshoes collected dust. This year we’ve managed to squeeze in one day of PE en plein air. These experiences have led to many wonderful classroom discussions, science explorations and inquiries, as well as writing opportunities. During a recent Writer’s Workshop, I sat down with my students and wrote this brief ode to our outdoor adventure.
Glaring bright from the sun
Pine scent surrounds us
As we cut through the woods
Visiting places we’ve never been
— Christie Wyman, 2017
This post is part of the annual month-long Slice of Life writing challenge organized by Two Writing Teachers. Join us!