Outdoor Writers Workshop Comes to the Condon School
(March 6, 2012) -

January 24 seemed more like April 24 as teacher Christine McCabe led her fifth grade students from the Condon Elementary School outside to enjoy the spring-like weather in the outdoor classroom.  The temperature on the sunny side of the weather post recorded an amazing 62 degrees as students, with clipboards and magnifying glasses in hand, went to work on their writing.  This was the second lesson on acquiring domain-specific and precise language where students used close observation of trees to gather information.

Ms. McCabe used the mentor text “Nature Spy” to call attention to the precise language and scientific words the author used to describe both plants and animals.  Students were invited to use this same approach as they examined trees in the outdoor classroom for their informational writing.

Students were not only able to collect great information and language, but many questions were generated to further their research as well.  Back inside, students shared their findings by adding to the vocabulary chart at the front of the room.

Outdoor Writers Workshop™ is a professional development program designed by the Boston Schoolyard Initiative to help teachers use the schoolyard to develop grade-level appropriate writing skills. Through Outdoor Writer's Workshop™, BSI works with teachers to develop the skill and knowledge to use the schoolyard to help students find good writing material, develop vocabulary and voice, add description and improve revision skills. BSI is currently partnering with the BPS Literacy Department to integrate Outdoor Writer's Workshop™ into the BPS elementary writing curriculum. We offer both district-wide and on-site professional development opportunities.