FIRST HAND LEARNING E-NEWSLETTER

Vol. 4, No. 5

IN THIS ISSUE:

1. REGISTER FOR FHL’S PDI IN NEW ORLEANS

2. “LINCK” CHILDREN WITH NATURE

3. INFORMAL SCIENCE LEADS TO LEARNING

4. A NEW MINI JOURNAL!

1. ACT NOW FOR “OUTDOOR LEARNING” AT NSTA

We are looking forward to a day out at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans! Won’t you join us? First Hand Learning is presenting a day-long professional development institute (PDI) on Wednesday, March 18th as part of the NSTA’s national conference.

“Outdoor Learning: A Path to Science and Inquiry” will offer practical approaches for using the outdoors to teach science inquiry and literacy. For a complete description, see: http://www.nsta.org/pd/pdi/2009pdi05.aspx.

The deadline is fast approaching, so act soon. Register for the PDI and the conference at the NSTA website: http://www.nsta.org.

If you will be attending NSTA in New Orleans, but can’t make it a day early for the PDI itself, consider attending one of the linked PDI pathway sessions. For a list of these workshops visit http://www.nsta.org/pd/pdi/2009pathways.aspx#5.

2. “LINCK” UP TO NATURE

As interest grows in getting children outside – to play, explore, and learn about their world, opportunities to help adults encourage and facilitate outdoor activity are increasing. For example, if you live in the Long Island area, consider attending a day-long conference sponsored by the Long Island Nature Collaborative for Kids (LINCK).

"No Child Left Inside: Connecting Kids with Nature" will be held on March 12, 2009 at the Islandia Marriot. The keynote speaker will be Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods – Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder (see http://richardlouv.com/).

For more information, a list of speakers, and the agenda, go to:
http://linck.org/index.html or http://linck.org/agenda.html

Are you seeking real-world examples of how teachers and schools can use the local environment more productively? Buffalo Public School #90 staff worked collaboratively with architects, teachers, and other stakeholders to redevelop their internal courtyard, designing the area to promote nature study and integrate outdoor play with their learning objectives. Read about it in this short, online article: http://www.buffalorising.com/2008/12/landscape-for-learning-school-90-courtyard-transformed.html#SlideFrame_0.

3. THE POWER OF INFORMAL SCIENCE

A new publication released by the National Research Council provides more evidence that informal science experiences can generate interest and enthusiasm for science and improve learning outcomes for both students and adults. After-school science programs and visits to museums and zoos are just a few examples of informal science experiences that can have a positive impact.

“Learning Science in Informal Environments: People, Places, and Pursuits” can be read for free online: http://national-academies.org/morenews/20090114.html. Sections include specifying “strands” of science learning that can be supported in informal settings, ideas for how to increase participation, as well as suggestions for how to design and sustain effective programs.

4. MINI ACTIVITIES FOR WINTER

Winter blues got you down? Searching for ways to use the outdoors for learning even when signs of life seem suspended by freezing temperatures? Well, do we have a new mini-journal for you!

“Bug Hideouts” asks the question “Where do insects go when winter weather hits?” Each mini-page offers great suggestions to get kids exploring. Simply download the free mini-journal from our website, fold it up and go (hats and mittens not provided!): http://www.firsthandlearning.org/minijournal.html

Please note that directions for folding up the mini-journal are on the webpage. Consider printing a blank mini-journal (also found there) on the reverse side of “Bug Hideouts” – that way you’ll have sections to jot down your observations.

Mini journals have proven popular with many. A teacher at the Rolling Hills School in Fullerton, CA uses them as innovative homework in her mixed-age elementary classroom. See http://m.hood1700.googlepages.com/firstgradehomework.

What innovative ideas have you come up with to offer stimulating homework that extends children’s science learning? We’d love to hear your suggestions. Email us at inquiries@firsthandlearning.org.

There are more free items available on our website. Check out the other mini-journals (http://www.firsthandlearning.org/minijournal.html) as well as a great selection of downloadable lesson plans at http://www.firsthandlearning.org/free_downloads.html.

The First Hand Learning Catalog offers science notebooks, field journals, hands-on science kits, posters, and more. Go to www.firsthandlearning.org/catalog/catalog_frameset.html
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We hope you found this edition of the Firsthand Learning E-NEWSLETTER informative. Please contact us with any comments, suggestions, or questions you may have by emailing us at: inquiries@firsthandlearning.org.

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