Publishing with Shapes - Learning Walks in the Community

Even though I currently work at a newer subdivision, we are lucky to have a little forest, a nature pathway and a pond across the way. I’ve always been curious how we can better use the land as a teacher. Most of the learning walks I had seen were Story Walks but I was wondering how else we could bring learning to the land. 

Our first learning walk was a fun collaboration with a friend Troy. I had met Troy who is Kanienʼkehá꞉ka (Mohawk) from Six Nations of the Grand River, the year before and we had committed to collaborating on a learning experience. One of the struggles with our discussions with learners to date was that they often saw First Nations, Métis & Inuit people as very distant from them in time and place. This was an opportunity to challenge that thinking by learning from someone in a community only an hour away. Troy recorded himself on Voice Memos doing the Thanksgiving Address and then I broke the audio up into stops along with the with a visual all created in Keynote. It's amazing what is possible with shapes! A few overlapping shapes made a progress bar along the bottom of the page possible. I think the coolest was the last stop where after listening to Troy, students shared how they give thanks in their own traditions. Troy also did the walk with his learners. It was a wonderful first experience although we both had several notes on how to make it better the next time around.   

Sign hanging in a fall tree. The sign has an image of educator Troy Hill, a map of Six Nations of the grand river, and a note
We left the posters up in between visits for the community.

Our second walk was for world water day. I learned from our first walk to make the questions a bit more specific/actionable. It was fun to watch some kids respond on the iPads, others in their notebooks.   


Blue poster hanging from tree on nature pathway including images and a reflective question.
Our stop poster hanging on a tree on our pathway leading to the local pond.

My goal for this year is to do a poetry learning walk. Originally I had planned it as a showcase of our poetry as a school but wondering now if it would be better as an interactive walk: having stops along the way that ask learners to pause, notice and wonder, and then write right then and there in the fresh air. I’m thinking it’s a great opportunity to add a learning journal to our Keynote posters for the walk. 

I’ll keep you posted on the progress.

Have you explored learning walks?

1 reply

February 12, 2023

Beautiful idea - outside learning with creative instructions and prompts! I love this and your idea of learning walks. Your collaboration is wonderful - so impactful for the students. Very cool progress bars!

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