Welcome to the
Alexander Outdoor Classroom
OUTDOOR CLASSROOM NEWS
Social distancing doesn't mean staying inside. It does mean taking up space differently outside.
. . . social distancing actually offers Americans an ideal moment to get closer ... to nature. Many of us with the ability and means to do so have turned to the outdoors — whether by walking our dogs a little more or finding a new trail far less traveled — as an escape from a crowded home or a chance to put some emotional distance between us and the problems of the peopled world.
For nature, the last few weeks have been a chance to really show its stuff. With so much less human disruption, nature has rarely been more natural in our lifetimes. A reduction in pollution, planes and people provides us with a rare opportunity to experience a more serene environment.
Plus, there's something truly comforting in the midst of this pandemic about the fact that nature continues to go about its business. In my home state, Maine, the ice is out of the lakes, flowers are starting to bloom and the sun is hanging in the sky a little longer every evening. It really helps put the other problems of the world into perspective.
--Shawn Gorman, chairman, L.L. Bean
the outdoor classroom is open . . .
Alexander school community residents are invited to experience nature in the outdoor classroom. Please be considerate of others. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requires that everyone place, at minimum, 6 feet between themselves and others at all times and limit their time out in public. When outside, we should all be steering clear of others, and especially groups, and be sure to wash our hands regularly, cover mouths when coughing or sneezing (using a tissue or your elbow, not our hands), and avoid touching the face. In the interest of keeping the outdoor classroom safe and beautiful, please carry out your trash, thank you!
FALL IS BEAUTIFUL IN THE OUTDOOR CLASSROOM!
Middle School Art Classes Display Work
Students from 8th Grade Art created sculptures of local birds last year in Mrs LaDuke’s class. Unfortunately, with the school closure, these works were never displayed. Now 23 birds are on display in the Outdoor Classroom for all to enjoy. Nestled in their nature habitat, it becomes a game trying to find them all. Come bird watch in the Outdoor Classroom this fall and learn to identify local birds!
For the past three summers the outdoor classroom has included as one of the stations that comprised the district's summer recreation program. An average of about 80 students in grades kindergarten through sixth grade visited the site Monday through Thursday to enjoy the outdoor classroom stations and to take part in a variety of activities, including arts and crafts, cooking, and tending the raised beds. This year we were pleased to have some visiting experts. An educator from Reinstein Woods Environmental Education Center taught a lesson about frogs. She was able to include in her lesson frogs she found in our outdoor classroom! Erin Saile, owner of "Porcelain Pig Ceramics," brought ceramic pieces for the kids to paint. She returned on a second day to help the kids to create nature plaques by pressing objects found in nature into clay. Mrs. Saile then fired the pieces in her shop. The kids were thrilled with the beautiful pieces they were able to take home. Dan Klinczar, district instrumental music teacher, had kids creating rhythms, using "Boom Whackers" and rhythm sticks while moving about some of the outdoor classroom stations.
The theme for the last week of the program was "Farm to Table." Participants in the summer recreation program sat down together to eat a lunch that they prepared using fruits and vegetables from local farmers. Tables were set up in the outdoor classroom decorated with floral arrangements and place mats created by the kids. Also on the tables were the children's ceramic plates and cups. What a memorable way to end our summer program!
RHYTHM LESSON TAUGHT BY MR. KLINCZAR
Creating with clay.
Farm to table lunch.
Funding from the PEP great allowed us to add five fitness stations adjacent to the fitness path.
Mrs. Erica Swinehart's middle school reading class with the assistance of Mrs. Kristie Miller, school media specialist, has created a StoryWalk in the outdoor classroom. A StoryWalk is a book that has been disassembled, laminated and presented page by page on a trail, bike path, or walkway to promote reading and exercise. Our StoryWalk follows the path that surrounds the meadow at the rear of the outdoor classroom. Stories will change periodically.