Love Outdoors! An Outdoor Literacy Activity

15 February 2012 · 1 comment

in Art & Music Outdoors, Literacy Outdoors

In-service day events are happening all over NE Scotland at the moment. I was privileged to be invited to participate in the Turriff Schools Outdoor Learning Conference along with many other outdoor professionals from a variety of different organisations.

As it was Valentine’s Day, I thought I would use “Love” as a theme. This was inspired by Play England’s Love Outdoor Play campaign which is encouraging people to share the love of outdoor play through changing their Twitter or Facebook Profile to promote the idea. So you may see this logo on a lot of people’s profile pages:

The first task was to make some green hearts to take outside…

As we made our way to the woodland area to gather, participants had to find something they liked or loved that could fit into our little hearts. Upon arrival at the woods we shared our objects which ranged from leaves to chocolate wrappers! We created some phrases which in themselves made a nice group poem when spoken aloud within a circle.

Next the participants were asked to write a Tanka poem alone and in peace. I’ve seen different types but all seem to have 5 lines. Some pure forms insist on the correct number of syllables in each line. Others have different expectations. Generally there is an element of nature and strong emotions in a Tanka.

I wrote the instructions on a portable whiteboard. Luckily I had used permanent marker pen as it was raining. The writing can be removed with nail polish remover or other products (look for eco friendly ones where possible).

Again, we shared our poems and then folded them up to put in our green hearts. Next, we took turns to hang our hearts up on a small tree. As we did so, we stated our responses to the question “If you planted a heart, what would grow?”

Because it was a short workshop, we did not decorate our hearts in ways that I would with children. I’d probably get children to create a class book of Tanka Poems in a heart shaped format too.

However I hope this has given you a few ideas and maybe next year will blog about your “Love Outdoors” activities too!

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