Outdoor Writers Workshop™
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.
Teachers taking Outdoor Writers Workshop™ training note the following positive impacts on students:
- Increased motivation to write
- Improved oral language skills
- Richer, deeper vocabulary
- Increased writing confidence and stamina
- More independent learning
OWW lessons correspond to the Suggested Lessons in each unit of the BPS Writing Curriculum Maps K-5, and offer a structure for using the outdoors to teach each lesson.
Scroll down to find your grade level. Lessons are listed under Personal Narrative, Informational/Explanatory Writing, or Argument/Opinion by grade level. We look forward to to your feedback. Please let us know how they work for your students. You may want to modify them or develop your own using these as a guide. Check back! Additional lessons which will be posted as they become available. Contact Kristin Metz (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Ann Deveney (email@example.com) for more information.
- 1.1 Generating a list of what you know how to do
- 1.2 Using a graphic organizer to list steps in a sequence
- 1.3 Sequenced Steps in order to complete a task
- 1.4 Using time order words
- 1.5 Labeling pictures
- 1.6 Reading directions to a partner to check for understanding
- 2.1 Generating a list of ideas for topics
- 2.2 Gathering information about a topic through observation
- 2.2A Gathering information about habitats through observation
- 2.3 Using questions to develop a topic
- 2.4 Using content-specific, precise vocabulary
- 2.5 Using adjectives to describe the topic
- 2.6 Using illustrations and diagrams to clarify information
- 2.7 Labeling a picture or diagram
- 2.8 Revising the writing
What Teachers Say
This is what BPS teachers say about Outdoor Writers Workshop™:
"I never hear them say they have nothing to write about when we’re working outdoors."
"The oral language outdoors is huge. Outside, they’re interacting with each other through dialogue."
"Two boys I never saw interacting indoors, were conferring outdoors."
"Outdoors they were more independent. They required less teacher support and produced more high quality work."
"I have kids I have heard 10 words from all year who were using sentences to describe what they saw outdoors. Fantastic sentences."
"Their focus was so much more refined outdoors, it gave more purpose to their writing."
"I was amazed at the language that was forthcoming from my English Language Learners."
For more information on Outdoor Writer’s Workshop, contact Kristin Metz at firstname.lastname@example.org.