Friday, February 3rd, 2012
Rosser Conservation Education Center
at the Oklahoma City Zoo
Remember when summer break was made up of days playing outside until mom called you in for dinner? Today’s kids probably won’t. In the last two decades, childhood has moved indoors. The average American child spends more than seven hours a day in front of an electronic screen. This shift inside profoundly impacts the wellness of our kids. They are out of shape, tuned out and stressed out, because they’re missing something essential to their health and development: connection to the natural world. Outdoor learning programs and outdoor play time can help students become high-performance learners with skill sets that will be with them throughout their lives. Outdoor education and play time also helps students perform better on standardized tests.
Keynote speaker for this year’s Oklahoma EE Expo is Jenifer Reynolds, host of Discover Oklahoma television series. Ms. Reynolds will be sharing her knowledge and enthusiasm for a wealth of places in our state where Oklahoma can Get Outside!
Each session is geared toward a different level of learner: Early Childhood, Elementary, and Middle/High School. Participants will take home materials used in each session. Conference participants can build their own experience by attending three sessions in one Track or by attending sessions in different Tracks.
Concurrent session tracks will focus on three strategies or methods for exploring the outdoors with students. These sessions include:
Exploring Nature with Fundanas
Participants will explore new ways to investigate nature by using a Fundana which is, as the name suggests, a specially printed bandana with an activity designed to make exploring the outdoors fun as well an informative. Each Fundana investigates a different aspect of nature. Each session is geared toward a different level of learner (early childhood, elementary, middle/high school). Participants will receive materials/fundanas.
Suzanne Spradling, PhD Environmental Science Education, retired classroom teacher and university professor. Currently leads professional development workshops for pre and in-service teachers in science and environment education and curriculum development. Trained facilitator for: Project WILD, Project WET, Project Learning Tree, Population Connection, The Leopold Education Project, GLOBE.
Treasure Hunting Outdoors
Learn how to use geocaching skills to engage learners in exploring the outdoors. Materials to be given to participants. Each session is geared toward a different level of learner (early childhood, elementary, middle/high school). Participants will take home materials used in each session.
Early Childhood Moderators:
Ronna Finley,Ph.D., is on the faculty in the Education Department, Oklahoma City University, where she teaches early childhood and elementary courses. She taught pre-K and gifted children at Monroe Elementary in Norman through 2011 and is an A+ Schools Fellow.
Elizabeth (Liz) Willner, Ed.D., is the Director of Teacher Education at Oklahoma City University, where she teaches elementary and reading methods courses. She is a Project WILD and Growing up WILD facilitator and works with kindergarten and first graders each week.
Charlotte Wood-Wilson, M.S., is the Acting Director and an instructor in the Montessori Program at Oklahoma City University. She teaches 3-6 year olds at Westminster School, helping them cultivate a classroom garden, and is also a Growing Up WILD facilitator.
Elementary and Middle/High School Moderators:
Bob Melton is the Science Curriculum Specialist and District Test Coordinator for Putnam City Schools in Oklahoma City. An active hiker, fly-fisher, Scouter, and cyclist, he serves on the boards of the Oklahoma Science Teachers Association, Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education, and is Secretary-Treasurer of the National Association of Biology Teachers.
Jeffrey Patterson is the Science Coordinator for Norman Public Schools. He has made numerous presentations at the local, state, and national level.
Take a Hike
It doesn’t matter what your schoolground looks like: a blacktopped play area, a grassy field, an organized outdoor learning area, or an unmanaged natural area. You can use whatever you have to Take a Hike and explore nature with your students. Come learn some tips and tricks for using an outdoor learning area and a parking lot to teach all subjects. Each session is geared toward a different level of learner (early childhood, elementary, middle/high school). Participants will take home materials used in each session.
Robert Gibbs, Rogers County Conservation District
Karla Beatty, Oklahoma Conservation Commission