As a teacher, there are only so many things you can do indoors to help your students write. That is why more and more teachers are taking their classrooms outdoors to help get the creative juices flowing. There is something about nature that brings out the best in people; maybe it is the fresh air or the gorgeous scenery. Whatever it is, if you are willing to try some outdoor writing activities with your students, you will be amazed at the results. Here are just a few ideas of outdoor writing activities you can do with your students — or encourage them to do on their own.
This outdoor writing activity is all about teaching your students how to describe things properly. Take a little walk with your students just outside the classroom. It doesn’t have to be far, but it should be somewhere that has plenty of different items for the students to choose from. Tell each student to pick one item and describe it in detail. Students should describe every curve, every scratch, every color and every texture in the item. Once the descriptions are written, have the students pair up. Then, have the students take turns guessing which object the other student wrote about based solely on the description.
One idea, from the American Camp Association, helps students explore the symbolism that can be found in nature. Once again, begin by taking your students on a short walk. This time, have them search from the beginning of the walk for an item that symbolizes them. Along the way, point out different items that you see that could symbolize you and give them a reason why. This will help them get thinking in the right direction. Once you get back to the classroom, have them write about what symbol they chose for themselves and why. You will be pretty impressed with some of the items the students find.
Free writing is a very common practice in any writing class. It is simply when a student is given a time frame in which they must write nonstop. Students can write whatever comes to mind, and they do not have to worry about spelling or grammar. Edutopia believes that taking free writing sessions outdoors will encourage students to dig deeper inside themselves. The sounds and sights of nature seem to bring out the best in people, and this is shown in their writing.
This is one of the outdoor writing activities that can be done several times a week. Take the students somewhere outside where there is plenty of room for them each to be on their own. Then, give them ample time to simply write about their thoughts. What is going on in their life? What do they worry about? What are they happy about? Make sure the students know that the journals are for their eyes only and they are free to write down anything that comes to mind. The point of this activity is simply for the students to practice writing down their feelings so they can use this skill in future writing assignments that will be graded. Being able to successfully express feelings is an attribute every great writer should have.
Teaching poetry can be very tricky because the writer needs to have an inspiration for the poem to be about. What better inspiration is there than the outdoors? You can choose a different poem type each week and have the students practice writing about the things they see all around them. Poetry teaches many skills such as descriptive writing, using synonyms appropriately (when trying to rhyme), and developing creativity.
There are many different types of writing, all with different types of rules to follow. Whether it is serious writing, comedy writing, easy writing or tedious writing, one thing that it all has in common is that it can be influenced by the outdoors. With a little creativity as a teacher, you can come up with a wide variety of outdoor writing activities to help your students develop into the best writers they can be.