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Wild Learning: Practical Ideas to Bring Teaching Outdoors

By Rachel Tidd

Coming April 2023
Published by Jossey-Bass/Wiley

Wild Learning answers a call in the educational community for practical, easy-to-implement activities that bring core curriculum out of the classroom and into the outdoors. Outdoor learning has risen in popularity in recent years, and it has tremendous benefits. Being outside is healthier, helps children form a strong connection to the natural world, supports a variety of learning styles, increases engagement and motivation, and improves mental health. This book gives teachers practical activities that they can immediately implement, and helps educators overcome common barriers to outdoor instruction. These activities can be done in common outdoor spaces that are accessible to teachers in all school settings, and they are adaptable to their current curriculum—not an extra thing to try to fit into their day.

  • Get ideas for fun outdoor activities that cover core subject matter already being taught
  • Take learning outside, taking advantage of commonly accessible areas, no matter the educational setting
  • Help students develop a healthy appreciation of the outdoors and support hands-on learning styles
  • Support students’ physical and mental health without sacrificing learning time

This book is a much-needed resource for elementary and special education teachers, as well as those in alternative schools, forest schools, and homeschooling parents.

Why take your class outdoors?

  • Increases focus and decrease ADHD symptoms
  • Increases student engagement
  • Improves mental health
  • Reduces stress
  • Multisensory
  • Improves physical health
  • Builds connection and respect for the natural world

One advantage of outdoor learning is that resource that is available to schools everywhere. While schools in rural and suburban settings may have larger school grounds, urban schools typically have some outdoor space available to them and have more learning opportunities in the neighborhood surrounding the school. Making outdoor learning easy and accessible to teachers and schools is an important goal of this book.

The lessons and activities are organized around three outdoor areas that are accessible to teachers. The locations radiate from the school, forming  “zones” of accessibility. The most accessible outdoor zone is the schoolyard, followed by the neighborhood surrounding the school, and finally locations that are farther away and take more planning, such as local parks and natural areas. Organizing activities by location enables teachers to select activities that work best for their school’s setting, schedule, and resources. These three types of outdoor spaces are generally available regardless of whether a school is in an urban, suburban, or rural setting.

There is also a chapter devoted to inviting nature into your classroom all year long, through classroom routines and year-long projects.  No matter where you teach, this book will help you get your class learning outside!

Are you ready to take your class outside?

  • How to use chalk to make ten frames, practice spelling and phonics, and model multiplication.
  • Use games to practice math facts, phonological awareness, spelling, and grammar.
  • Gather natural materials such as rocks, pinecones, and leaves as manipulatives to teach core subjects such as math and reading.
  • Take your class on walking adventures where students search for and round numbers, search for words with phonics patterns, and look for examples of arrays. 
  • Discovering the world of urban trees by having students observe, identify, inventory, research, and write about the trees near their school.
  • Fostering a deeper connection to their community through designing a tour, creating a map, and utilizing community voices to learn more about the neighborhood.
  • Teaching observation skills, through the practice of Sit Spots. Then using this experience as a basis for reflection, writing, and mapping activities.
  • Using flowers, animals, insects, and birds as subjects for writing, modeling math, classification, and more.
  • Learning how to add nature-based routines to your morning meeting.
  • Implementing year-round practices such as a class nature journal, nature museum, and phenology wheels.

Preorder your copy of Wild Learning: Practical Ideas for Bringing Teaching Outdoors Now!

No matter where your school is located, Wild Learning will give you the tools you need to incorporate outdoor learning into your classroom.