by Hazel Stark
For five weeks, Jonesport Elementary School students in grades 4 and 5 have been getting outside this fall for at least one hour per week during our “Forest Friday” program series. Due in large part to our partnership with Cobscook Community Learning Center’s Transforming Rural Experience in Education (TREE) program, which helps weave student voice into the academic goals of the classroom, even more Jonesport students will have a chance to get outside during Forest Fridays as the academic year goes on.
These 4th and 5th grade students are focused on observing and learning about the living things that live in or near their school yard. They play games, journal, and research all about their wild neighbors, using tips from Island Readers and Writers’ book Look Up! by Annette LeBlanc Cate to hone their outdoor observation skills. From listening to birds to finding a praying mantis and a young garter snake as well as discovering the delightful smell of sweetfern (which isn’t really a fern, but they figured that out), students have been enthusiastic about learning outdoors.
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