Exploring Grouse Mountain

This year, many divisions partook in the Grouse Mountain field trip. They have a variety of activities that are designed to meet core and curricular competencies in the following areas: Science, Social Studies, Physical Education, and Aboriginal Education. All of which is taught through authentic, place-based learning.
The day is divided into three parts:

  •  H√≠wus First Nations Presentation (story, song, and dance taught by an elder in a feast house)
  • Wildlife Curriculum Session
  • Recreational Component (snowshoeing, eco-walk, bear habitat eco-walk)

To learn more about field trips to Grouse Mountain, go to https://www.grousemountain.com/education

Where did all these seeds come from?

Exploring Deer Lake

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Canoeing at Deer Lake through the Burnaby Parks and Rec is an incredible opportunity for students. Although it is recommended for students grades 5 and up, I brought my class of grade 4/5s and they had an amazing time. There is an option for up to 4 lessons, building on each other in technique in canoeing, as well as knowledge of the surrounding area. Click here for a flyer: school-canoe-program-flier-spring-2016

Because of the limited mobility of one of my students, we had parent drivers, but this would be an excellent opportunity for classes to walk here with enough time. And once you are there – take a look around! There are incredible opportunities for learning and exploring the forests and streams nearby. Bring a notebook, a magnifying glass, and your curiosity. ūüôā

*** Added: A great resource for connecting your canoeing to the science curriculum is Chapter 3 “Power from the Land” from the new FNESC Science First Peoples Teacher Resource Guide for grades 5 to 9. It is available here: http://www.fnesc.ca/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/PUBLICATION-61496-Science-First-Peoples-2016-Full-F-WEB.pdf

Close Observations in the Garden

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If you are trying to incorporate more outdoor learning, the garden is a great place to start! The office has a class set of clipboards, if you want to take your students out to sketch their observations, or do another writing or drawing activity.

Canoeing Fieldtrip Deer Lake

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Observing the Changes in a Tree throughout the Seasons

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Students in Ms. Johnson and Ms. Carley’s buddy classes spent time carefully observing the changes we saw in our local environment.

We began with a focus on careful observations (lesson available in our Classroom Gardener Resources). First we read the picture book, Step Gently by Helen Frost (on the library book list). This helped us with our discussion of observations, as well as explaining how we could use our garden journals could be such a valuable resources for storing our observations, among other things.

After our discussion, we went outside with our buddies to sketch one Autumn tree. Each pair of buddies got to choose a tree and later in the year we went out to sketch the same tree. We will be going out shortly to sketch our tree in spring.

Beach Explorers at Stanley Park

I won a Go Grant through the HCTF for an outdoor field trip. ¬†I chose to take my class, along with Sarah’s class to Stanley Park to become “Beach Explorers”. The workshops were facilitated by Stanley Park Ecology Society, which made a special arrangement to conduct workshopts for¬†both of our classes at the same time, rather than a single class.

During our Beach Explorers workshop, we visited the Lumberman’s Arch beach at low tide and explored plant and animal life in the inter-tidal zone. ¬†We learned how plants and animals such as bull kelp hermit crabs and barnacles adapt to life in inter-tidal zones. ¬†We went on a beach scavenger hunt and learned to build suitable habitats for crabs. As a special bonus, Vancouver police on horseback stopped to visit us while we were having our picnic lunch at the playground. ¬†All in all, it was a terrific outing.

If you have any questions about our field trip, or activities to do with your students at the beach, please let me know.

You can find out more about the SPES workshops here

You can find out more about Go Grants here

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Create a mini park

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Recently, my class went to Kisby park (just two blocks away–no hill!) and we discussed Burnaby’s new initiative (not really) ¬†to eliminate all the parks, based on the reasoning that the park land takes up too much usable space. This led to a great discussion on how we use parks, their¬† importance, what makes them useful as well as whom they are habitat for. I then told them that Burnaby is actually going to provide every block with their own park and asked them how that made them feel. So much excitement. I then asked them to create their own mini-park with a¬†small group. It could only be a certain size and they could only use what they found on the park grounds. They had 15 minutes and they all stayed focused. They were all so proud of their creations. When we arrived back at the school I had them draw and label what they remembered. They then had to reflect on the experience and give a detailed¬†response and answer the question “Do parks matter?”

Please Share Your Experiences With Us!

Please share your successes, challenges, tips, advice, resources, and experiences with us! What did you try? What worked? What didn’t work? Can we come find you for advice?