Nature Journaling in School Gardens: Teacher training


How can teachers better integrate art and nature observation into daily instruction? Through Nature Journaling! I am a 20+ year naturalist at Huntley Meadows Park and have been teaching art and science to all ages, outdoors, in a variety of settings. I would like to implement teacher training courses in twelve ACPS schools for teachers interested in better using the school garden habitats to teach across subjects: writing, science, art, nature observation. All ACPS schools, except Samuel Tucker and Patrick Henry Elementary Schools, have school habitat gardens; I'd like to introduce the use of a Nature Journal as a tool for learning. School Garden Coordinator, Lee Ann Tardieu has endorsed this idea and will work closely with me to plan its implementation.The drawing, observation and outdoor experiences inherent in Nature Journaling improve focus, concentration and self-calming while connecting children and adults with outdoor natural processes: plant growth, population studies, pollination, bird migration, seed and flower formation, insect activity, weather and meterology, etc. People will not protect what they don't notice or understand; Nature Journaling requires that we come from behind our screens and air-conditioned indoor settings to really see the natural world. Close observation of natural subjects leads to curiosity about them, appreciation of them, and the desire to protect the plants and animals with whom we share the planet. I'd like to share this practice with teachers who are interested in introducing nature study to their students.The observations and instruction used in keeping a Nature Journal align closely with the Virginia SOL testing: Grade 3: Life Processes and Living Systems (2.4, 2.5, 2.7 and 2.8); Grade 4 (4.4, 4.5, 4.9), Grade 5 (5.5 a-c), Grade 6 Ecosystems 6.7 a-g, and Grade 7 Life Science curricula (LS.4, LS.5, LS.7, LS.8, LS.9, LS.10, LS.11, LS.13)  Healthy, active, outdoor learning also aligns with the goals of the City's Children and Youth Master Plan (2014) in Goals 1.1.1 adressing physical fitness and anti-obesity efforts, Goal 2.2 addressing high quality K-12 educations, Goals 2.3 and 2.4 addressing access to high quality learning experiences for all kids, and Goal 3.1 adressing social and emotional health.  The funding would be used to purchase 120 Nature Journal art kits for teachers to keep and use: bound sketch book, pencil, eraser, sharpener, watercolor pencil set, and minimicroscope @ $15/each). My own teaching time would be uncompensated volunteer work. I would like to teach Nature Journaling on either weekends or after school, or over the summer 2016, for 90 minutes in these 12 schools: Mount Vernon, Maury, Cora Kelly, Barrett, John Adams, George Mason, Jefferson Houston, Lyles Crouch, Polk, Ramsay, George Washington MS, and Francis Hammond MS. I would limit the classes to 10 teachers at each school. Total funding for this project would be $1,800


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