GPISD Outdoor Classroom Newsletter - September 2020

  • Welcome to the 2020-2021 school year where teaching outside is more important than ever!

    View this newsletter on Smore.

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  • OCDL: Miranda Kilbride OCDL: Miranda Kilbride

    Hey there everyone! Miranda here, your outdoor classroom district liaison. My role is to help you get that outdoor space beautiful for learning and exploration to take place. I'm here as a resource so please contact me with how to use your outdoor classroom, what to teach out there and basic maintenance needs. Best way to reach me is through email at miranda.kilbride@gpisd.org

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  • Why teach outside? Why teach outside?

    Check out this article to learn five tips for creating student-driven outdoor lessons. https://www.ednc.org/perspective-when-your-classroom-is-outside-school-is-always-open/

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  • What you will find in this newsletter:

    • Outdoor classroom maintenance
    • What to plant for fall
    • Apps for outdoor learning
    • K-5 lesson ideas
    • Eco-Rise: a resource for ALL levels
    • The gnome!
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  • Find the Gnome Find the Gnome

    While reading this newsletter keep a look out for the gnome. He likes to hide! If you find him, click on him to register your readership.

    A prize package will be awarded to the campus with the most Gnome registrations within two weeks of each month's newsletter release.

    Encourage your staff to read the newsletter and use it to grow your campuses Outdoor Classroom!

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  • Share on Social Media!

    Whenever you share on social media don't forget to use #gpisdeco. The more you share the more we Sawabona!

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  • Outdoor Classroom Maintenance Outdoor Classroom Maintenance

    Start cleaning up your outdoor space NOW. Don't wait for students, the time is now! Most things should be pretty crispy if your beds were left unattended over the summer. Here's what you should work on:

    Prepare your OC garden beds for the school year by:

    • Coordinate a community or staff work day to weed, fertilize, turn soil, add mulch
    • Clear the weeds out of your garden beds

    What to do If your garden beds are full of weeds?!

    • Bring a grass trimmer from home and get the weeds down to the soil. Dig out any that you can get out!
    • Water the bed really well
    • Cover with plastic and cook it for 6 weeks.
    • After 6 weeks, discard the plastic and pull out whatever weeds you can remove. It helps if the soil is moist.
    • Turn the soil, adding compost if you have it. Plant your fall crops and weed REGULARLY!
    • For those with Milkweed: Cut back Milkweed by half at the end of September to help eliminate OE Spores (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ophryocystis_elektroscirrha) and to discourage winter breeding colonies.
    • Add compost and oxygen to your soil. Be sure to turn the mix about 4”. (this is especially important if your soil is compacted and/or you solarized over the summer)
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  • Fall Planting Fall Planting

    • Plan what will be planted, where/spacing and when.
    • Prepare to compost! Gather grass clippings before mowing season ends and fall leaves. This is really the perfect time to kickstart this since all the ingredients are readily available.

    Fall cool planting includes:

    cabbage transplants broccoli transplants garlic pods

    Seeds:

    • beets
    • carrot
    • cilantro
    • collard
    • lettuce
    • parsley
    • pea
    • spinach
    • swiss chard
    • radish
    • turnip

    (READ the planting instructions for exact time to plant!)

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  • Awesome Apps to download and use for your outdoor classroom needs

    Seek: Shazam for nature

    Seek

    Take your nature knowledge up a notch with Seek! Use the power of image recognition technology to identify the plants and animals all around you. Earn badges for seeing different types of birds, amphibians, plants, and fungi and participate in monthly observation challenges. This is ready to download in self serve!

    Burpee Garden Time

    Burpee Garden Time

    Perfect tool to help gardeners know when to sow, transplant and expect to harvest vegetables and herbs specific to their garden region.
    Included within the app is a full database of plants, local weather and extended forecast, visual growing calendar and frost dates per growing region. Content articles per months featuring what you should be doing and tips for success. Create user notifications of tasks upcoming and due and have access to a library of how- to gardening videos.

    Grow Garden

    Grow Garden

    Students become virtual gardeners as they plant and care for crops, feed hungry animals, and make compost from the food scraps. Students must wait for their crops to grow without the compost super boost or catch falling leaves one by one to generate some compost. Students earn more seed types and some special food treats as their gardens grow.

    Download the vegetable planting guide here.

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  • City of Grand Prairie Educational Events from the City of Grand Prairie

    Texas Watershed Steward Program

    September 15, 2020

    8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

    Free

    In-person and virtual attendance options

    Pre-registration required

    Rain Barrel Class

    September 17, 2020

    6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

    $50 – includes a 55 gallon rain barrel

    Rain barrel pick up on Saturday, September 19th 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

    Virtual

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  • Eco-Rise Eco-Rise: Resource for ALL grade levels

    EcoRise develops the next generation of creative problem solvers by enlivening conventional classrooms with academically-aligned K-12 curriculum that introduce students to environmental literacy, social innovation and hands-on design skills. Green professionals serve as guest speakers and project mentors to help students solve real-world sustainability challenges concerning energy, water, waste, transportation, air quality, food and public spaces. The program focuses on the following students impacts:

    • Enhance STEM Education
    • Promote Sustainability
    • Exposure to Green Careers
    • Develop 21st Century Skills

    Best thing about this curriculum is it's FREE and bilingual. Sign up here ecorise.org/teacher.

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  • Kinder Kinder

    Counting weeds Math!After the summer your outdoor classroom may have quite a few weeds. Go outside and use the weed identification cards found below. Have students gather as many as they can find then do math! Here are a few ideas to get you started:

    • Make addition and subtraction problems
    • Count
    • Sort the weeds by type
    • Measure by non-standard and standard units
    • Compare
    • Who can pull out the longest root? Count, measure and compare!

    Properties of Matter Scavenger Hunt

    Go on a walk outside and draw, label, take pictures of properties of matter.

    Examples:

    Something that is...

    • hard
    • flexible
    • smooth
    • bumpy
    • rough
    • liquid
    • solid
    • purple, red, orange, blue, white, brown, black

    Download the weed ID cards here.

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  • 1st Grade 1st Grade

    Counting weeds Math!After the summer your outdoor classroom may have quite a few weeds. Go outside and use the weed identification cards found below. Have students gather as many as they can find then do math! Here are a few ideas to get you started:

    • Make addition and subtraction problems
    • Count
    • Sort the weeds by type
    • Measure by non-standard and standard units
    • Compare
    • Who can pull out the longest root? Count, measure and compare!

    Properties of Matter Scavenger Hunt

    Go on a walk outside and draw, label, take pictures of properties of matter.

    Examples:

    Something that is...

    • Larger or smaller
    • Heavier or lighter
    • Circle
    • Triangle
    • Square
    • Rectangle
    • Plastic
    • Paper
    • Metal
    • Wood
    • Soft
    • Hard
    • Smooth
    • Bumpy
    • purple, red, orange, blue, white, brown, black

    Now have students classify them and create a picture book that classifies objects by observable properties.

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  • gnome 2nd Grade

    Creating addition/subtraction problemsGo outside to collect natural objects (leaves, rocks, sticks, acorns, weeds). Student will use the natural objects to use as manipulatives and create addition/subtraction problems. Take a picture of your work, draw an illustration of your created math problem, record yourself explaining a math problem using the natural objects!

    Properties of Matter Scavenger Hunt

    Go on a walk outside and draw, label, take pictures of properties of matter.

    Examples:

    Something that is...

    • Solid
    • Liquid
    • Bendable (Flexible)
    • Stiff
    • Hot / warm
    • Melted
    • Runny
    • Cold / cool
    • Frozen
    • Hard
    • Soft
    • Smooth
    • Bumpy
    • Rough

    Create an informational booklet that classifies the objects you observed and collected. Explain their texture, and flexibility and if it's a solid or liquid.

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  • 3rd Grade 3rd Grade

    Candid Camera: Observe and investigate properties of matter

    This activity will help students work on their observation skills, a key component to what scientists do every day. Students will become “human cameras” in the outdoor learning area.

    • Students will work in pairs. One is the photographer and the other is the camera.
    • The photographer leads the camera (whose eyes are closed) by gently pulling on their strap (arm) to an interesting place for a photo.
    • Photographer carefully focuses on a subject by gently aiming the camera’s lens (face) towards the object.
    • The camera must keep their eyes shut until the photographer taps the camera’s shoulder, which then the camera will open their eyes, observe the subject until the photograph taps their shoulder again to indicate the picture has been taken.
    • Have each pair take 3 pictures then switch roles.
    • Students can respond to the process of communicating, observing and things observed in their journal.

    Questions to ponder:

    What would it be like to not have the sense of sight? Did you take a picture of something surprising? How difficult was it to guide and communicate what you wanted the camera to observe? What could you do better next time?

    Adapted from: The Growing Classroom: Garden Based Science, By Roberta Jaffe & Gary Appel

    Creating arrays with natural materials

    Go outside to collect natural objects (leaves, rocks, sticks, acorns, weeds). Student will use the natural objects to use as manipulatives and create arrays. Take a picture of your work, draw an illustration of your created math problem, record yourself explaining a math problem using the natural objects!

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  • 4th Grade

    Living Soil Beneath our Feet

    Watch this intriguing video from California Academy of Science where you travel underground for an up-close look at the ants, amoebas, and bacteria that maintain healthy soil. Then Walk outside and collect soil samples. Discuss plant growth in each location. Examine properties of soil; color, texture, and size of particles. How is the soil different at your house compared to someone else's house? What about comparing the soil at our school to your house? Take pictures, record video, collect samples and make a journal entry about your soil observations.

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  • 5th Grade 5th Grade

    Need a review of Order or Operations?

    Take students outside and use chalk to have them write out the order or operations. Have them record themselves explaining the process.

    Practicing Math Facts

    Take students outside, give them chalk and a set amount of problems to work out. Set a timer and let the solving begin!

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