Literacy-Rich Outdoor Classrooms
Transforming Outdoor Spaces with Simple Signs
In Module Two: Design Options, we talk about designing with outdoor elements. Signs are a key element to add to your outdoor classroom. There aren’t any rules for outdoor classroom sign-making. One might think signs are added once the space is established and everything is planted. I like to add the signs when the space is still empty and desolate. I believe the process of labeling the outdoor space with signs immediately generates energy into the space and introduces your “work in progress.”
In Module One: Getting Started, I created my before video of my outdoor space, chose a type of garden and created my beginning sketch. These first steps gave me a foundation and the momentum to move forward in my preparations. I now have a sense of clarity, excitement and a vision for this outdoor space. https://www.outdoor-classrooms.com/2015/01/new-beginnings-creating-a-garden-that-attracts-wildlife/
As teachers, we know labeling items around the classroom contributes to a child’s ability to read. A print rich classroom exposes children to reading in a functional way and contributes to self directed learning. Why not add this theory to our outdoor classrooms?
Adding signs to your outdoor spaces transforms your outdoor space into an outdoor classroom. Signs help children recognize that words have meaning and give visual clues to the location of items and their purpose. Signs define your outdoor learning stations and add to the appeal and organization of the outdoor classroom.
Sign making is a great activity for children and can be made from a variety of materials. It is important to remember that every outdoor classroom should have its own personality and style. The more the children are involved in the sign making process, the more authentic your outdoor classroom will be.
Today I wanted to share the beginnings of my sign making. I hope it will inspire you to think about how signs can transform your own outdoor space.
To begin, I reviewed my very simplistic sketch and came up with a list of words for my signs.
I decided to work with wood and found wooden shingles to be a great medium. They were very inexpensive at Home Depot.
I collected and bought a few new Acrylic Paint colors. Love, Love, Love!
Started painting the wooden shingles
Added words and whoola! This the the beginnings. Stay tuned as I will share additional ideas for sign making as I play with a variety of materials.