Morrell Creek riparian classroom : introducing students to outdoor education through the creation, use and maintenance of an outdoor classroom
Bartlett, Patti Rae
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Although I teach in a small rural school, my students do not seem to have a strong connection to the land. This project focused on building an Outdoor Classroom and using it to compare traditional classroom learning to that in an outdoor/experiential setting. My hope was to improve comprehension of outdoor education and create better attitudes towards the environment. I compared traditional (teacher centered) classroom lessons to similar lessons in the Outdoor Classroom, which were by nature, more hands on. My junior high student's comprehension was assessed with pre and posttests, student surveys, journal writing and work samples in both the traditional and Outdoor Classroom lessons. Student attitudes towards the environment were assessed by specific questions on the assessments, student surveys with short answer sections and their journal and reflective writing. The writing in my journal also assessed my teaching and attitude. The results of using the Outdoor Classroom were very positive. Although I didn't see as much of an increase in comprehension as I had hoped for, I still saw a six percent increase in Outdoor Classroom lessons compared to traditional lessons. My students felt good about improving the environment through work in the Outdoor Classroom. I believe that educating students about our environment truly helps change attitudes. The Outdoor Classroom also had a positive effect on my teaching, attitude towards students and learning as evidenced by entries in my journal. Overall, I feel that the learning that took place in the Outdoor Classroom had a very positive impact on my students and myself.