Pond Day: An Outdoor Classroom Visit
3rd Grade Class at Brookwood School in Manchester, MA
As many of you know I take every chance I get to visit an Outdoor Classroom. I love witnessing first hand what teachers are doing with their classes outdoors. I especially enjoy collecting garden stories. Today I was invited by Moira Smith, a 3rd-grade teacher at the Brookwood School in Manchester, MA to observe Pond Day #1. Moira is also a student in my Teaching in the Dirt: Designing Outdoor Classrooms e-course and was inspired to create a pond with her class in their Outdoor Classroom. The idea of creating a pond began last year with her former 3rd graders. With much anticipation, Pond Day became a reality today. Moira’s big question was, “How do you manage 25 kids outdoors making a pond?” My suggestion was to break them up into working groups and she did just that. Come join me in my Outdoor Classroom Visit.
When I arrived there was a buzz in the air! Kids were excited, curious and ready. Each child was assigned to a working group with a teacher to lead. There were about 6-7 kids in each group. All the children had a letter explaining their task, goal, additional questions to answer. It was project-based learning at it’s finest.
- Taking the lead on installing the pond
- Decided the exact location of the pond
- Began digging on Day 1
- Taking the lead on choosing fist for the pond
- Researched books on the types of fish to put in the pond
- Learned about pond life & discovered not all fish types will survive in this pond
- Taking the lead in sharing the project with the School Community (and beyond) …stay tuned!
- Interviewed children who were excavating
- Began writing the pond story
- Taking the lead in creating a video to share our project with the School community
- Took videos and pictures of the process
- Began telling their Pond story through video
- Taking the lead on making the pond look beautiful
- Learning about landscaping with plants and soil
- Learning about hardscaping with rocks and structures
It was amazing how much was accomplished in one hour! Breaking ground happened after the Excavators discussed the plan, watched an inspiring video and outlined the frame of the pond. There was lots of measuring and hypothesizing. The children began digging in the small circle in the middle of the picture. We learned this area represented the deepest part of the pond.
It was a great Pond Day and wonderful Outdoor Classroom Visit! Thank you, 3rd graders, for all your hard work and inviting me to your class. I can’t wait to see this project come to fruition.
Now I want to hear from you. Do you have an Outdoor Classroom Project that you would like to share with our community? Have you made a pond with your children? We would love to learn about it. Leave a comment below.
Want to learn more about Designing an Outdoor Classroom. Check out the Teaching in the Dirt: Designing Outdoor Classrooms e-course.