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Herb-and-RickI have had the privilege of doing keynotes and workshop presentations on a variety of topics and for a wide range of diverse audiences across the country. Listed below are some of the most frequently requested topics. If you have an interest in a topic that is not listed below, let’s talk about the possibilities.

Plugged In but Tuned Out: The Need to Reconnect with Nature
In this age of alluring techno-gadgetry we need to be very cautious about maintaining a balance between indoor and outdoor activity. At a time when children’s natural curiosity about the outdoors is eclipsed by the demands of busy schedules and the ever-present glow of video screens, schools and outdoor centers may be the only places where kids are encouraged to interact with nature. Kids need to go outside—indeed there is very compelling research that clearly shows the need for old-fashioned unstructured play in nature.

Outdoor Learning – A Natural!
The benefits of outdoor instruction are the focus of this presentation. Current research about learning and the outdoors is emphasized. The relationship of outdoor learning to best practices in education is a primary focus.

Schoolyard-Enhanced Learning: Tips and Tricks: Gimmicks and Grabbers
This is a workshop that focuses on practical and specific tips for incorporating the outdoors as a teaching tool. Participants experience more than a dozen examples of outdoor learning activities that cross several content areas and develop a variety of process skills. It’s a lively session that provides activities that cultivate higher order thinking skills and foster inquiry learning.

Transforming the School Grounds into an Outdoor Classroom
The school grounds— whether in an urban, suburban or rural setting—can become an enriching extension of the classroom. This presentation is filled with practical tips and teacher-tested techniques for turning the schoolyard into an outdoor classroom using low cost/no cost site enhancements. Examples from schools around the US provide inspiration for maximizing learning on your school grounds. Approximately 60-70 different examples of school site enhancements can be presented. This is an excellent session for schools that are intersected in outdoor learning, but need some examples to “prime the pump”!

Planning Designing Outdoor Learning Spaces

This presentation focuses on a proven planning process for assessing your outdoor site, establishing a planning team, and coordinating the outdoors to the curriculum. Attendees begin to brainstorm ideas utilizing a planning packet.

Making the Best Use of Outdoor Learning Time
Tips for working effectively with children in an outdoor setting are the focus of this brief presentation. Practical outdoor classroom management strategies are demonstrated that provide a seamless transition from indoor to outdoor learning. Efficient ways to organize outdoor learning materials and arrange the outdoor learning space are an important part of this presentation.

Let’s Begin– Looking at Your site and Your unique needs
Designed for those in the early stages of planning an outdoor learning environment, this session provides a practical step-by-step planning process including key questions that need to be answered to maximize the efficiency and usefulness of the site. The presentation is designed in consultation with you so an initial site visit is followed by a meeting to discuss options appropriate to your specific site and learning objectives.

Overcoming Stumbling Blocks to Outdoor Learning
This session focuses on some of the major factors that seem to get in the way of implementing outdoor learning. Concerns such as outdoor classroom management, integrating the existing curriculum into outdoor learning, securing administrative approval, effective use of volunteers, development of administrative support, and finding funding are a some of the issues covered in this presentation.

Initiative Tasks—A Powerful Teaching Tool
Initiative tasks are structured activities designed to develop leadership skills, a sense of team/group identity and group problem solving skills. On the surface, initiatives simply look like creative games. When done correctly, however, with careful debriefing after the activity, initiatives can produce lasting changes in group dynamics. Initiatives can be very useful in establishing and maintaining a feeling of unity within a classroom. The initiative may be as simple as having everyone line up by birthday without talking, or as complex as putting together a structure without knowing what the end product will look like.

 

Don’t see exactly what you are interested in? Please feel free to contact me so I can customize a program to meet the needs of your staff and organization.