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C&NN Natural Teachers Network

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C&NN Natural Teachers Network

Welcome to the virtual gathering place of the Natural Teachers Network. A Natural Teacher is any educator who uses the natural world as a powerful learning environment—whether the subject is biology, writing, art, or any other.

Website: http://www.naturalteachers.org
Members: 349
Latest Activity: Aug 20

Every teacher can be a Natural Teacher.

Think of this forum as a break room full of your peers ready for a conversation, a place where you can share ideas and ask for suggestions, where you can be engaged, creative, and encouraged. The subject: How to use the natural world as a classroom to improve your students’ health and well-being, including cognitive ability and attitudes toward learning. The objective: Inspire action, individually or in groups.

Like any meeting place where diverse opinions and concerns are shared, the discourse here must be civil. For further guidance on the “rules of engagement,” please see a set of Frequently Asked Questions located at http://childrenandnature.ning.com/page/frequently-asked-questions.
The goal of the Natural Teachers Network and this website is to encourage more teachers to connect their students with nature and to provide a forum where Natural Teachers can share their knowledge and views. Collectively, Natural Teachers can have a profound impact on improving the lives of children, and, in some schools and communities, that is already happening.

Please participate actively, and encourage others to join. Get together face-to-face as well.

You'll find tools and resources on the Natural Teachers Network home pages and throughout the larger Children & Nature Network website.

The Children & Nature Network Leadership Team will monitor this NTN Group web site from time to time, to respond to ideas and encourage action. Thank you for your commitment to children.

Discussion Forum

Party in Nature with Your Students

Hi Natural Teachers family!Looking for a fun and meaningful activity for your students this Summer or Fall?Check out what…Continue

Started by Dave Room Jul 18.

2014 Manitoba Nature Summit Request for Proposals

Hi Natural Teachers!The Manitoba Nature Summit will be held September 12,13 and 14th at Camp Manitou in Headingly Manitoba. It is a 3 day nature-immersion conference for educators. Workshops range…Continue

Tags: Summit, educators, Natural, Teachers, Nature

Started by Corine Anderson Dec 20, 2013.

2014 Manitoba n

Continue

Started by Corine Anderson Dec 20, 2013.

Kids Can Enjoy Toys AND Nature 1 Reply

 With the recent Toys R Us commercial portraying nature as "boring", a new video highlights a more positive message: kids can enjoy toys AND nature. Watch the video here:…Continue

Tags: children, r, us, kids, outdoors

Started by Dani Tinker. Last reply by Juliet Robertson Nov 7, 2013.

Comment Wall

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You need to be a member of C&NN Natural Teachers Network to add comments!

Comment by Juliet Robertson on March 4, 2010 at 7:25am
Hello Everyone.
I've just blogged about Willow Structures in school yards/grounds. I don't know if this is something that interests any teachers here, but feel free to have a look. It's a good summary of the benefits of having willow dens etc in schools for learning and playing.
Comment by Janice Swaisgood on March 3, 2010 at 6:47am
Here's another option for the IditaNature prize, if you want something that will "keep on giving" a reminder of the fun they had participating and getting outdoors. This would also create a lot of buzz leading up to the event. The idea is to create a tshirt for the IditaNature event that all kids (and adults if possible) who meet the challenge would receive as a prize. I just thought of this because my son has a shirt that says" Get into nature... IT'S WILD!" that he absolutely loves (thank you, Target!). Here's how I might implement next year (not enough time this year):
- get a sponsor for the event
-if students are old enough, I'd hold a contest for a logo and slogan design well before the event (this should get kids and families excited about the whole thing)
-a panel of students, parents and staff (include administration, support and custodial staff for increased "buy in") chooses the top 3 - 5 designs (depending on # of entries)
-the top designs go to a "vote"... include surrounding community if possible to promote the event and raise awareness of the overriding goal of connecting kids to nature
-use the winning design to create tshirts... and sweatshirts, hats/visors, rulers, pencils, folders, etc... whatever you think would be fun and motivating for the kids. I think sweatshirts would be fun for students who "double" the challenge minutes, a tshirt for all who meet the challenge and pencils or rulers or ??? for everyone who logs a minimum # of minutes.

I know that things like tshirts, pencils, rulers aren't necessarily tools for nature per se, but they increase visibility and provide positive reminders for what was hopefully a great experience. I think this is really doable with a sponsor if someone would be willing to do the required leg work.

I LOVE this idea and am going to look for a similar event that's more "relevant" to our area... San Diego. Not even "relevant" I guess, but something more well known by our community. Hmmm. But I even love the name IditaNature. I'll have to think about that.

I'm also going to promote this as an idea for our Family Adventures in Nature (FNC). Don't have time to get it together for the Iditarod this year, but I really love this idea/concept.

Maybe we should start planning and training now for the 2012 Summer Naturlympics!
Comment by Carmen Field on March 2, 2010 at 11:41pm
Hi Sue, Here are some ideas for an IditaNature prize (in addition to the great suggestion of outdoor gear by John):
- a classroom/family trip to a special outdoor place > beach, farm, park, forest, creek, trail, mountain, etc.
- pool party (our local Waldorf preschool has chosen this as a prize - teachers there raised the challenge for kids to spend twice the Iditarod distance/time outside, so 2,300 minutes in nature between Mar 6 and 20!)
- a spring picnic at a special place
- an opportunity to make a really great piece of natural art (a la Andy Goldsworthy)
- a horseback trail ride
- spring planting outing at a community garden (one of our 3rd grade classes plants potatoes in a community garden and the next year's class harvests them and donates them to the local food pantry for needy families)
- a giant boulder delivered to the school/home or public place where children can play on it
- a tree-climbing expedition to a local forest (that has good climbing trees, of course)

There are certainly lots more ideas out there...please chime in if you have some good ones :o)
Comment by John Thielbahr on March 1, 2010 at 6:51pm
Hi Christine and a hearty welcome to the Natural Teachers Network. Thanks so much for signing up for this discussion and idea site, and for your great post about the grant from Lowe's to build an outdoor classroom and nature trail behind your school. If that doesn't get other teachers to Lowe's in their area, nothing will. Such a great idea, and there are many places on this site to help with building your outdoor classroom. You might want to wander around some other groups to get ideas and connect with folks about the Spring build. Keep us posted on the impacy this project will have on your kids and please share as often as you can. John
Comment by Christine DePetrillo on March 1, 2010 at 5:27pm
Hello, all. I just joined and am excited to chat with other folks focused on getting children outdoors again. I just read the IditaNature post and totally love the notion. I'm going to suggest it at my school tomorrow. At our K-5 elementary school, we were awarded a grant from Lowe's to build an outdoor classroom and nature trail behind our school. We are very excited for Spring to arrive so we can get out there and start building!
Comment by Kyle Macdonald on March 1, 2010 at 4:58pm
Thanks to all the teachers out there that are getting kids outdoors! Great group!
Comment by John Thielbahr on March 1, 2010 at 11:04am
Hi Sue,
I don't know the ages of the children you teach, but outdoor gear retailer REI is a partner of the Children & Nature Network and perhaps the local store nearest you would have some ideas on age-appropriate gifts. They might even donate some items. Thanks so much for joining the Natural Teachers Network. Invite your friends and colleagues. John
Comment by Sue Mitchell on February 28, 2010 at 8:44am
I love this idea! We do a lot of things like this for reading, so everyone is familiar with the general concept. Anyone have ideas for a "fantastic prize"?
Comment by Carmen Field on February 27, 2010 at 10:16pm
IditaNature

Here's an activity teachers, parents, club and scout leaders...anyone who spends time with children...can try this next month to encourage nature play - IditaNature. Challenge your kids to spend 1,150 minutes (ie. the same number of minutes - or more - as the miles travelled by Iditarod mushers during the Iditarod Great Sled Race) outdoors between March 6 and March 20, while the Iditarod is underway. Kids can log their daily minutes spent outdoors in a booklet similar to summer reading program logbooks (or use a modified version of the page attached here - which our local Head Start students will be using). This log would then be approved and signed by teachers, parents, club leaders, and/or caregivers. Those youth who spend at least 1,150 minutes (just 1 to 1.5 hours each day) in nature win a fantastic prize - chosen by you! The fun begins March 6th!

IditaNature chart.docx
 

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