Take it Outside: Embracing Autumn

It's one of my favourite activities. I wait for a beautiful fall day, and I take my class to a nearby park, one that's surrounded by sparkling water and a wood full of colourful, crunchy leaves. I give them a handout with a number of tasks that ask them to capture what they see, hear and feel as they meander through the park. I call it my poetry "scavenger hunt" because they go in search of inspiration.

I send the kids off in groups, each with a sheet that directs them to different locations in the park where they can find inspiration. The tasks are in a different order on each sheet so they don't end up at the same place at the same time. You can grab my scavenger hunt here.

A few days later, I booked the Chromebooks so the students could begin to capture their experience in a  magazine style format, something that may make them feel a little more pride than lines scribbled on a piece of loose leaf. They have only completed their rough copies, and the final editing is yet to come, but I'm quite pleased with the  results so far. We have been working on idea development and descriptive writing. It's been a bit of a struggle with this crew, but the trip outside seemed to light a new spark in many of them.

I also asked the students to take a picture that captured the essence of the fall season for them. They could do it at the park if they wanted, but I encouraged them to think about it so they could come up with something that really said "fall" to them. Most, as you can imagine, took photos of trees or water, but one guy took a picture of his truck (newly purchased) loaded with wood for their fireplace. I love what he's written so far!

The students also had to create a quote that demonstrated their feelings about autumn. This one is my favourite:

We still have work to do, but I'm excited to see the final copies of their Fall Magazines.  I strongly encourage you to take your kids outside to do some descriptive writing. Not only will it inspire them, but it they will also get to spend some time enjoying our beautiful world!

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