As they engage in remote learning with their students, Jody and Kim have been learning a lot about themselves, their students, and their families. After settling in, they decided that they wanted to return to their deeply held beliefs about teaching and learning.
Throughout the year, the foundation of the learning opportunities they have been creating for their students has been a big idea from the Grade 2/3 English Language Arts curriculum: curiosity and wonder lead us to new discoveries about ourselves and the world around us.
In this new remote learning situation, Jody and Kim asked themselves, “How can we continue to provoke our students’ curiosities, connect our students to nature, and listen to what they are most curious about before we plan each week?”
1. Why is it important to you to integrate learning for your students?
Jody and Kim’s students have been learning through integrated studies since September, so once they all found their groove with remote learning, they decided to create opportunities for their students to connect more with nature. Jody and Kim recognize that the more curricular and life connections they can make for their students, the more meaningful and engaged their learners are. They have also realized that they are feeling a lot more excited with their collaborative process whilst learning alongside their students with integrated topics.
Watch Jody and Kim share why they feel it is important
for them to integrate learning.
2. How are you integrating learning for your students?
Their first week of integrated studies started with the book, Mama Built A Little Nest, by Jennifer Ward. They paired Adrienne Gear reading strategies with the read aloud, and then the cross curricular ideas sparked from there.
Jody and Kim love to collaborate in a variety of ways, and have been enjoying going on social distancing hikes where they are inspired to bring nature into their students’ learning. It is during these times that they thought of having the students create their own nests with natural materials, crafts, food, or really whatever they felt inspired with.
This was the jumping off point for last week’s integrated weekly plan, in which they asked their students to:
Listen to an anchor text: Mama Built a Nest and share their thoughts and wonders
Build a nest with any materials that were available to them and write instructions for how they built their nest (click here to see the slide deck Jody and Kim created to showcase the nests their students built and the writing they did to explain how they built them)
Make bird’s nest cookies
Go on a nature scavenger hunt
As they were discussing birds and nature this past week, their students became curious about a beaver that one of them discovered on a nature hike with their family. Jody states, “One of our students was talking about birds, then started going on about how he saw beavers at the Fascieux wetlands,, and then we started talking about their lodges, and Kim and I saw a ‘ding-ding’ at how they were so excited about this.” Based on those wonders, Jody and Kim decided to connect this week’s integrated learning opportunities to animals that live in burrows and dens. Check out what the students learned and shared about the animal of their choice.
Jody and Kim really try to listen to the voices of their learners, and let that be their guide to where they want to go next!
Watch Jody and Kim share how they are
integrating learning for their students.
3. What feedback are you receiving from students and families about how you have shifted towards nature-based integrated learning?
The excitement that Jody and Kim share when describing their students and their integrated studies is evident, and this has clearly transferred over to the students and their own learning. Jody stated, “It was so neat to see that they got it, and they were just as excited about it as we were!”
“We had parents writing to us telling us how excited their children were. We had pictures sent to us of parents so proud to see their kids out on a hike. Then we had pictures of not only the kids nests, but some of the parents who made their own nests as well! The enthusiasm grew throughout the whole family! Again, it went further than we even thought!”
Watch Jody and Kim share the excited feedback they
have received from students and their families.
A huge thank you to Jody and Kim for making themselves vulnerable and sharing what they are learning and trying so far!
To see more of what Jody and Kim are doing…
See their weekly plans so far:
week 4 : an integrated weekly plan connected to birds and their nests
week 5: an integrated weekly plan connected to animals in burrows and dens.
Here is a Blank Template that Jody and Kim use for their weekly planning.
To see examples of what other educators in our district are doing, click here:
For more ideas about how to schedule learning, click here.