(Image) The Outdoor Classroom Newsletter(Image)

Tree of the Month:
White Birch

(Image) Red Osier Dogwood (Image)
Many First Nations in BC use birch bark as material for baskets, cradles and canoes. They drink the sap as a medicine for colds. Betula papyrifera grows in all kinds of conditions, and its coast-to-coast range makes it a super tree for school grounds. More >>


(Image) Evergreen Sponsor Logos (Image)
The new on-line format of The Outdoor Classroom is a resounding success! We received more feedback from teachers than ever, and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Please keep it coming. Let us know what you would like to see included in the next issue. Also, please feel free to forward this email to anyone you think might be interested.
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Greetings from the Learning Grounds Program Director

Hello once again, everyone. As we embark on a new year , it seems like an apt moment to update you on our activities in 2007, our seventh year of the Toyota Learning Grounds Program partnership. It was a year in which climate change, a healthy environment and children's health and well-being have all become global priorities, the program continues to provide an outstanding example of positive community action.
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Get Outside! The Outdoor Classroom Summer Institute


Late in August, Evergreen hosted its inaugural Teacher Training Institute, entitled "Teaching in the Outdoor Classroom." Twenty-six grade four teachers from the Toronto District School Board attended this unique three-day professional development opportunity focusing on how to teach and inspire students using school ground habitats and integrated lesson plans. The reaction was very positive: "I can't wait to go back to my school to use your wonderful ideas and lesson plans," said one participant. "Great ideas... and hands-on. We were always busy, I loved it!" said another. Evergreen acknowledges the generous support of BMO Financial Group, which made the entire event possible.

Plans are already underway for two summer institutes in 2008: in Toronto and in Halifax. To learn more, visit the Toyota Evergreen Learning Grounds Program Web pages by clicking here or call Cheryl at 1-888-426-3138. x 248.

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The Green Bookshelf

Five great books to inspire your students (Image)

One Small Square: Backyard By Donald Silver and Patricia Wynne, McGraw-Hill,1997. Children are inspired to observe nature closely while learning basic scientific methods in this beautifully illustrated and popular book series. Ages 9-12

There's A Hair in My Dirt! By Gary Larson, Harper Collins, 1998. This story illustrates the complex relationships in an ecosystem (plant partnerships, animal interactions and human impact) as told with great humour by a family of earthworms. Ages 11 to adult.

The Wartville Wizard. By Don Madden, Simon and Shuster, 1986. This read-aloud is a humourous ecology lesson set in a town that is being buried in trash. Ages 4 to 8.

(Image)Little Fur: The Legend Begins. By Isobelle Carmody, Random House, 2006. Little Fur is half elf, half troll. She tends to the Old Ones, the seven ancient trees that protect her home: a small, magical wilderness nestled magically in a park in the midst of a large, bustling human city. When Little Fur learns that evil forces are out to destroy her beloved trees, she embarks on a dangerous journey in search of a way to save not only the Old Ones, but the Earth Spirit itself.. Ages 6 to 12.

Atherton: The House of Power, Patrick Carman, Little Brown and Company, 2007. Set in an extraordinary satellite world, created as a refuge from a dying Earth, that begins to collapse and forever change the lives of its inhabitants. Ages 9 to12.

Check out our lists of of books, videos and Websites for teachers and parents accessible as part of the Evergreen Discussion Forum at www.evergreen.ca Click on this link for our Resources to know about.

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Learning doesn't Hibernate
Keep your garden program alive this Winter with these great activities:

Pine cone bird feeders.

  • Tie a long string to a pine cone so that it hangs upside down.
  • Roll the cone in shortening covering it well.
  • Then roll it in bird seed.
  • Hang on a tree outside your classroom window
  • Enjoy watching the birds feed!

Ice Art!

  • Collect old margarine tubs, pie plates and other disposable containers.
  • Using a variety of food colouring, fill the containers with coloured water.
  • Suspend twine in the middle of the containers.
  • Place them outside to freeze.
  • Remove the containers and hang your ice art from the branches of deciduous trees for colour.

Snow Painting

  • Gather paint brushes, a variety of food colouring and water.
  • Go outside and paint seasonal pictures on the snow.

Snowy Shelters

  • Research a variety of winter homes that can be built out of snow. Eg. Quinces, tee-pees, igloos, etc.
  • Try to build life-sized, and miniature versions of some of them.

Making Tracks

  • Have students research the animals that stay around for the winter.
  • Choose and animal and trace the shape of the tracks they create onto hard cardboard.
  • Go outside and make their tracks in the snow.
  • Have students guess the tracks their classmates have made.
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Lesson Plan: Snow Fossils

Is it really true that no two snowflakes are exactly alike? Your students can investigate this question by collecting and classifying snow crystals. This is an engaging scientific inquiry activity that will inspire you to use the outdoor classroom in the winter. Let it snow! The full lesson plan can be found at: http://www.evergreen.ca/en/lg/lessons/snowfossils-ab.html
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In 2006-2007, we distributed $265,000 to 132 schools and daycares across Canada. To see the complete list of schools we funded last year, click here.

Our funding program for 2007-2008 has already begun and applications are being processed as they come in. This year, $500 to $2,000 is available for individual schools, and $500 to $1,000 for daycares, all thanks to the generous support of Toyota Canada Inc. and its Dealers, BMO Financial Group, an Anonymous Foundation, RBC Foundation, Wal-Mart Canada, Capitol One and Green Street.

Funding is first-come, first-served, so don't delay! We will be able to provide you with some feedback as your application moves through the review process. The final deadline for applications is January 16th, 2008, or until funds run out. For more details and to sign up, go to evergreen.ca and click on Learning Grounds.

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Our Learning Grounds Associates offer hands-on workshops in select cities across Canada. Find out what's happening near you. Click here. 

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Links We Love

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For more information, please contact Cam Collyer,
Director, Learning Grounds
ccollyer@evergreen.ca T 416-596-1495 x241

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