This past week, the head of our instructional team traveled to our Southeast Region for STEMfest, where hundreds of teachers gather to learn the best teaching stemapalooza-picture-of-vanessa-for-blogtechniques and share best practices.    You  can check out some lesson plans from different participants, watch a short video of Vanessa at work,  see pictures from the sessions, and read some of the feedback she received below.

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“I really enjoyed your session over the past two days. It has really sparked some great, practical ideas for how to start engaging my students in meaningful learning experiences by taking their learning outdoors. My favorite part of the session was the time that you allowed for us to plan lessons that we could take back to our classrooms using your online portal. I feel confident in taking ideas from some of these lessons to mold them to fit my students and our state standards. You were very helpful in walking around and guiding us towards making effective lessons for our students.”

“I loved that you pointed out that outdoor learning does not have to be an all day every day type of thing, it is used to engage our students and allow them to have connections in order to have a learning experience that will stick with them for years to come.”

“Thank you so much for all your help! You have given us some great ideas for how to move forward in planning our lessons for our upcoming STEM certification process. This was probably the most meaningful and effective professional development session I have attended!”

“I definitely now think of the garden as a literacy classroom whereas in the past I thought of it as science and math classroom. I also feel that I will add the outdoors as a weekly activity instead of when I can fit it in.Thank you so much for the abundance of ideas and resources.”

“I am a nature person and am so passionate about teaching outdoors. This workshop validated that taking children outdoors can be so meaningful and relevant to my students. I have so many ideas now about how its not just about science, but how I can incorporate literacy into the outdoors.I am excited to share with our school administration and staff about what your company offers and how they can start utilizing the outdoors more!! Thank you so much!!!”

“Thank you so much I learned a great amount of information about using our outdoor classroom. A co worker and myself talked about how we could use for example a compost bin in our school after watching the video of the kids outside. Our school is working on becoming stem certified so our principal is very interested and encouraging teachers to think outside of the box. I love science and now will go back to my team to discuss how can we use our outside space when we are teaching ELA or Math. I would love to have someone come out to out to our school to work with a few teachers regarding stem. We are a charter school and sadly we do not have all the funding public schools do. “

“I am super excited to bring everything that I’ve learned the past two days back to my STEM team. About two weeks ago, my principal asked me to look into starting a STEM program at the school. I have created a team of teachers who are interested. I am jumping in head first with this, and before attending this session, I didn’t know much about outdoor learning. Many of the lessons we worked with fit perfectly with my ELA and Science standards. I enjoyed the videos we watched today and will go back to watch and observe the instructor. I am also looking forward to meeting with my principal and telling her the many reasons why outdoor learning is important. I learned a lot the past two days, and am very thankful to have had this experience. You were awesome!”

“Thank you for the great information that was presented. I enjoyed learning about ways to integrate curriculum — especially the writing portion which is often so difficult for kids because they’re not interested in the topic. Also, the information on ways to journal more effectively were awesome. Sketching using shapes, writing in complete sentences, etc. Reminding us as teachers to stand facing the sun instead of the kids facing the sun was a fun takeaway.”

“Thank you so much for devoting your time to us over the last couple of days. The 2nd teachers at Kemp are taking away so much from this training. The Real School Gardens website is amazing. We got so many great lesson ideas from that. I loved hearing all the ways we can integrate science and literacy. The behavior management ideas were also beneficial. I am looking forward to getting my classroom outside for learning this upcoming school year! Thanks again!!”

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