Over the past few years, the popularity of the Forest School approach has been growing and growing in elementary schools. This opportunity for children to actively explore the world outside provides them with the necessary skills they need to develop their understanding of their local area and the environment they live in.
As a third grade teacher, I was responsible for planning and delivering Forest School activities for children in Kindergarten through 5th grade. I found that certain children started to enjoy learning a lot more when you took them out of the traditional classroom. They started to build confidence and social skills that they could then use within the classroom.
If I’d had access to Clicker during my time as a teacher, I could have added another layer onto outdoor learning that was both simple and effective. Using a Talk Set, children could have discussed their findings together, extending the activity to have a deeper focus rather than limiting the skills children were developing.
For example, I once organized a den building activity where children had to work in groups to overcome certain obstacles and create a design for a specific use. If I’d had access to Clicker, I could have created a Talk Set as a starter activity to help the children discuss the pros and cons of different settlement designs. This would have given them a foundation to build upon and they would have seen their end goal more clearly.
After the activity the children could have evaluated their work by using the same Talk Set, discussing how their own den had compared to the images we had viewed at the start.
Reflecting upon this activity as a whole, incorporating Clicker would have given the children access to a much clearer progression path with lots of meaning, as opposed to a stop and start activity.
Another area of Clicker that would have been fantastic within Forest Schools is the Clicker Board. Having such an easy and intuitive planning tool at my disposal when I was creating these activities would have saved both the children and myself a lot of valuable time!
For example, during my Forest School experience I created a first grade activity that focused on wildlife in our local area. On the whiteboard, we mind-mapped the different animals we thought we would see, but these were ultimately erased. If we’d created our mind map using Clicker Board, this would have allowed us to store the information and refer back to it afterwards to see if our findings were correct, or if there were any abnormalities.
Overall, Clicker is great for supporting literacy and taking outdoor learning activities to the next level. The software can be used in so many ways and is really only limited by our imagination!