The idea of an outdoor classroom can either be an exciting opportunity – possibly one you have been waiting for? Or, it can be seen as the ultimate demise to the work you have been trained to do. No matter if it is at the top or the bottom of your list, it has to be better than teaching via Zoom meetings (I assume at this point).
In order to run our school, following the educational framework in response to COVID-19, we needed one more classroom. Snap! An outdoor classroom. What does that mean? It means that the school has purchased a 900 ft. 2 (30 x 30 ft.) canopy tent that has four walls, with two of the walls able to roll up completely. The tent will be situated on the blacktop, mostly covered by a few trees. Again, what does this mean? It means I can fit up to 15 students, 1 teacher, 8 desks (6 ft. x 3 ft. desks, with 2 students at each desk on opposite ends), and 16 chairs (probably a few outdoor mats and as many plants as I can squeeze in).
What about all the materials needed to run a classroom? Paper, pencils, markers, tape, glue, Math manipulatives, art supplies, measuring cups, BOOKS! Well, as a school we emptied one of the sheds that held a stage and nearly 50 chairs to make room for my classroom supplies. The shed is just a few yards from the outdoor classroom. (The stage was broken up into parts, but it took 3 adults using all their strength to move it out of the shed. The school owns a storage unit where the stage and chairs will be stay for the school year. Movers will be hired to move the stage and chairs to the storage unit.) My 11-year-old daughter and I then took 4 bookshelves from my classroom and moved them into the shed, which of course included all the supplies that were in the bookshelves, as well as in the cabinets, over multiple trips out to the blacktop. We also used 2 bookshelves from the storage unit and put them to use in the shed in order to organize all the supplies properly, leaving a narrow and short walkway. Maybe room enough for a runner rug? Maybe that is completely unnecessary?
At any rate, here is the start of the Outdoor Classroom journey.