Transforming Asphalt


Think of the outdoors as an instructional toolbox. In any climate, during any season…nature provides multiple venues and options for enhancing, enriching, and adding a much-needed change of pace and place to the instructional routine. Like a toolbox, the outdoors is readily accessible — just open the classroom door and step outside!” — from Moving the Classroom Outdoors

Educator Herbert Broda set out to find the most innovative outdoor learning programs across the country. He visited dozens of schools and nature centers, gathering the very best examples of “schoolyard-enhanced” learning in action. His book, Moving the Classroom Outdoors, shares a variety of approaches, including school gardens, outdoor classrooms, nature clubs, and schoolyard art projects.

Another wonderful resource is Taking Inquiry Outdoors: Reading, Writing, and Science Beyond the Classroom Wall (also pictured above), edited by Barbara Bourne. This anthology features educators who have used the natural world to encourage kids to sharpen their skills of reading, investigation, research, writing, and all the different ways of sharing what they have discovered in the field.


Here’s two books we have featured in earlier posts: Herbert Broda’s first book, Schoolyard Enhanced Learning: Using the Outdoors as an Instructional Tool, K-8, and Asphalt to Ecosystems: Design Ideas for Schoolyard Transformation by Sharon Gamson Danks.

Speaking of schoolyard transformation, it’s hard to beat the story of what happened at Berkely, California’s Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School! Here’s a 4-minute clip that will make you wonder why this total learning experience isn’t available for every school kid:

The story of Alice Waters and the kids of Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School is nicely told in Alice’s The Edible Schoolyard: A Universal Idea, and for nuts & bolts ideas and inspiration, be sure to take a look at How to Grow a School Garden: The Complete Guide for Parents and Teachers by Arden Bucklin-Sporer & Rachel Kathleen Pringle (also the subject of an earlier Land Library post, A Gentle Rebellion, Where Some Dirt will Fly).

For more on the Edible Schoolyard Project, be sure to visit their website!

And for related book ideas, you may want to link-back to a few earlier Land Library posts:

Child’s Play, Bush Houses & More

The Green Hour

To Make the World My Own

The Insect Man


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