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Fall into Nature: First Grade

Fall Into Nature: First Grade Fall Classroom


Developed by
Phoebe Lett and Rachel Rechtman with Restoring Connections Team Winter 2016
35 minutes in the classroom
This activity introduces first graders to fall season in the oak woodland at Mt. Pisgah using
storytelling and activities. Students will learn about seasonality in the oak woodland, and learn
how to identify western gray squirrels, Oregon white oaks, black-tailed deer, and gall wasp
Learning Outcomes
By the end of this activity, first graders in the fall will be able to:
1. Describe 2 characteristics of the fall season within the oak woodland.
2. Name two key oak woodland species, such as a western gray squirrel, black-tailed deer,
turkey vulture, and/or gall wasp.
Links to Standards

1-ESS1-2. Make observations at different times of year to relate the amount of daylight
to the time of year.

Materials Needed
Access to the whiteboard (or smart-board, or poster board)
Animal pictures and food-web guide (included at end of lesson)
Bag of oak leaves
Background Material
As summer ends and fall begins, the days shorten and the
air gets colder. This is due to the tilt of the earth on its axis
relative to the sun. Many animals migrate to warmer
places for the winter, while others collect food to store
through the winter. Leaves of deciduous trees begin to
turn shades of red, orange, brown, and yellow before
falling to the
ground. This saves
energy, helps to
store water, and protects trees from freezing. Evergreen
needles remain on the trees all year long. These types of
trees have adaptations for protecting themselves during

Classroom visit

the winter. In the oak woodland we will be exploring at Mt. Pisgah, there will be primarily
Oregon white oaks. These trees have larger waxy leaves that last longer than most of the maple
or other deciduous trees, and develop acorns that draw other species to it. Gall wasps lay their
eggs on oak tree leaves and stems, which forces the plant to create a growth around the egg for
the larva to mature in. Black-tailed deer often eat vegetation and the acorns in the woodland in
fall and will eat fresh buds in the spring. The Oregon white oak draws animals such as the
western gray squirrel that eats, collects, and stores the acorns in fall and winter to have in
Activity Description
Falling Webs-- Key species are highlighted
Step 1. Getting Started: Introductions (2-3 minutes)
Hi, my name is (Rachel) and my name is (Phoebe), and we are here today from the
University of Oregon to talk with you about the seasons and a little about what we
might see on our field trip to Mt. Pisgah this Thursday. (Share one of your favorite quick
stories about an animal or plant you like that may be at Mt. Pisgah).
Explain to students that we are going to be visiting Mt. Pisgah on a field trip and will be
focusing on a really cool type of habitat, or place where animals and plants live, called
an Oak Woodland. Do you know what is happening this Thursday? (Wait for answers
about the field trip). This coming Thursday we are getting to go on an awesome field
trip to a super special place called Mt. Pisgah. We will get to go on hikes, see and
experience nature, and learn all about the Oak Woodland in fall.
Q: Who went to Mt. Pisgah last year? Have students quietly raise hands.
Thats great! First, we would like you all to circle around for a poem.
Step 2. Poem and Grounding Activity (4 minutes)
Bring the children close in a circle/in seats if no space for a circle, and have them take a
few deep breaths then close their eyes while you open with a poem about fall. One is
provided here, or you can use your own.
Come little leaves,
Said the wind one day.
Come down to the meadow
And we shall play.
Put on your dresses of red and gold,
For summer has passed
And the days grow cold.
Dancing and leaping
The leaves went along.
Until winter called them
To end their sweet song.
Soon, fast asleep
In their earthy beds,

Fall into Nature: First Grade

The snow lay a coverlet

Over their heads.
~Come Little Leaves by George Cooper
Q: So, can someone tell me, with a quiet hand, the season are we in right now?
A: Fall/Autumn

(1.5 minute) Ask children for a quiet hand to share ONE thing they know about fall, call
on four or five students. Looking for answers such as leaves are falling, it is getting
colder, etc.
Keep students where they are and go to the board to present Food Web activity.

Step 3. Food Web Activity: Falling Webs (15 minutes) (on smartboard, whiteboard, or poster
Q: Who knows what an acorn is? Have students raise hands quietly.
Q: What kind of tree do they come from? (A: Oak Trees)
Now put acorn picture on the board
Ask who knows who might eat an acorn
Put the pictures of animals that may eat an acorn. Use arrows to connect the food to
who eats it. We are looking for Squirrels, specifically the western gray squirrel and
predatory birds (hawks, eagles, kestrel, etc). If/when they get squirrel, inform them
that, The kind of squirrel we will probably see is the western gray squirrel.
Now, ask who would eat these animals. We are looking for coyotes or birds of prey.
These animals that eat other animals, what are they called? A: predators.
Mention that the turkey vulture (hold arms in V over your head) eats the leftovers
from other predators and can often be seen gliding in circles in the sky. Also ask how a
predator, such as the coyote, would walk. We are looking for answers about how they
would walk quietly, giving a visual example of the leader trying to walk quietly like a
Now talk about the Oak tree itself. Explain that Oak trees have large, waxy leaves (hand
out leaves and tell students to be kind to them) that may have a growth on them called
a gall, which is from a special kind of wasp called a gall wasp that is small and doesnt
sting. Ask who might eat these insects. Answer we are looking for is birds again, since
they eat the larva from the galls.
Q: Do all trees lose their leaves in the fall?
A: No
Q: Does anyone know what kinds of trees keep their leaves?
A: Some trees dont lose their leaves, such as Christmas trees, which are
Evergreen trees and have needles.
Now talk about how this tree, mainly the Oregon white oak, often is found in an oak
woodland, which has a lot of grass and small plants. Ask what may eat the grass or
smaller plants. The answer we are looking for is deer, specifically the black-tailed deer.
The kind of deer we will probably see is the black-tailed deer. Deer usually have large

Classroom visit

ears to hear very well. Can you cup your hands around your ears like a deer? Remind
how deer ears are done. Cup your hands behind your ears to create larger ears similar
to those of a deer.
Explain that these are all the animals that would be around in fall in the oak woodland,
since acorns would be around, which would mean that the tree is getting ready to loose
its leaves, animals are collecting food to store, such as the squirrel, and it is getting
colder and the days are getting darker sooner, so animals are getting ready for winter
(This activity addresses the Awareness, Knowledge, and starts to introduce the Skills, as
presented in the Tbilisi Declaration)

Step 4. Assessing Understanding (5 minutes)

Close with open-ended questions for fall. This should allow us to see the short-term
outcome related to student understanding with respect to our learning objectives. We
are looking for students retention of the information we went over during the food web
Q: So, now who will tell me what happens to trees, like the Oregon White Oak, in
the fall?
A: Leaves are falling. What else is happening in the fall? Answer should be one of
the facts from Step 10, such as getting dark sooner or it getting colder or
animals storing food.
Q: What will you think you will observe at Mt. Pisgah on the field trip?
A: You may see around the Oak trees acorns or animals trying to eat the acorns,
such as squirrels.
Step 5. Wrap Up (2-4 minutes)
Q: How do you dress appropriately for the field trip?
A: Warmly and with layers they can take off or put on. Closed toed shoes, no flip
flops or sandals please
Thank them all for listening so well and let them know you are excited to see them on
Thursday. Share that the Mushroom Festival will be held on October 30th, 2016 and
everyone should come! Fliers will be given to the teachers so that they can have them to
give to kids or parents.
Make sure to transition so that the teacher can go into their next activity.

Fall into Nature: First Grade

Food Web Options to Print


Western gray



Classroom visit

Food Web Option

Oregon White Oak


Black-tailed Deer

Birds that eat Acorns:

Western Scrub Jay
Acorn Woodpecker
Wild Turkey
Wood ducks

Small Mammals that eat Acorns:

Western Grey Squirrels

Turkey Vulture

Predatory Birds/Birds of Prey:


Fall into Nature: First Grade

Oregon White Oak Acorn

Two acorns with different degrees of ripeness

Western Scrub Jay

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Gall wasp galls

Fall into Nature: First Grade

Black tailed deer

Western Gray Squirrel

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Bird of Prey, Kestrel

Fall into Nature: First Grade

Turkey Vulture

Oregon White Oak

Field trip

Fall into Nature: First Grade

Field trip

Fall Into Nature: First Grade Fall Field Trip

Developed by
Phoebe Lett and Rachel Rechtman with the Restoring Connections Team 2016
6 hours (8:35-2:45), plus lunch
This is the first day-long field trip of the year which introduces first graders to fall season in the
oak woodland at Mt. Pisgah using storytelling, sit spotting, games, hikes, and activities.
Knowledge they will obtain will be about seasonality in the oak woodland, identify and name
western gray squirrels, Oregon white oaks, black-tailed deer, and gall wasp galls.
On this field trip, first graders will
The difference between the four seasons and their effects on plants and animals
The interconnectedness of animal/plant life cycles and seasons
Gain KNOWLEDGE about
The native and invasive flora and fauna that live in the oak woodland habitat
How fall affects the plants and animals in the oak woodland
What to wear on a fall field trip
Hazards to look for (e.g. poison oak)
Gain SKILLS such as
Questioning, observing, and identifying their surroundings, plants, and animals in the
Observational journaling: drawing observations, noticing detail
Building on using their animal senses: deer ears and owl eyes
Develop an ATTITUDE OF CARE by
Watching for animals, hearing stories about animals, pretending to be animals
Noticing how trees, plants, and animals are affected by fall
Attending the Mushroom Festival at Mount Pisgah will hopefully guide them to take
part in other nature festivals

Fall into Nature: First Grade

Overall becoming a steward to the environment and to people in their community and

Learning Outcomes
By the end of this field trip, first graders will be able to:
Identify three key differences between Oak woodland and incense cedar forest.
Visually identify at least two species found in the oak woodland habitat and describe
their relationships to one another.
Describe at least two signs of fall they observe in Oak Woodland, and relate them to
seasonality, such as in fall the days are shortening and there is less available light.
Links to Standards

NGSS standard 1-ESS1-2. Make observations at different times of year to relate the
amount of daylight to the time of year.

ELP students: sign in as a volunteer on the computer in the office of Adams Elementary School,
then get to the classroom by 8:30.
8:25 First bell rings (note: times are specific for Adams)
Facilitators sign in as a volunteer on the computer in the office, then go to the
Prepare class for field trip. Assign one role per facilitator when you are in the classroom:
Lunch Coordinator: As children arrive, have them place their lunch in the bin and
check off their names. Then make sure that lunches are loaded on bus, unloaded
off bus, and taken up to the pavilion. At end of field trip, make sure all lunches
loaded back in bin, loaded on bus, and returned to classroom.
Chaperone Coordinator: In back of room or hallway, welcome and thank
chaperones and go over their roles and responsibilities. These responsibilities
include: a) taking children to bathroom if needed; b) taking them to teacher if
sick/hurt; c) helping group stay on the trail, focused on facilitator and lesson; d)
making sure lunch area is cleaned after lunch. Mention that the facilitators will
be purposefully asking lots of questions, to try to encourage the children to think
critically and make observations and so wed like parents to try to refrain from
answering. Also note that during the sit spot activity, they will be given a journal
too and can sit, observe, write and that they should not sit with their child.
Groups Coordinator: Arrive early and put out the group names (attached) at each
table and the morning work coloring page (attached).

Field trip

Group Facilitators: Greet the children and hand out name tags. On the group list,
make note of who is absent, and make sure you have all chaperone names and
who their children are. If you have any students with special needs check in with
their 1:1 adult to see if there is anything you can do to support their
participation. In groups, one at a time, have children use the bathroom before
they leave. Help get children loaded onto bus on time for a 9:00 am departure.
Logistics Coordinator: Check with teacher to make sure they have their first aid
kit, and distribute medicines as needed to correct group backpacks. Check in
with bus driver to make sure they know directions (30th, over I5, to Seavy Loop
Road). Text Mt. Pisgah contact to let them know youve left Adams.
9:30 Welcome, Intros, Ground Rules, Snack (15 minutes)
As children exit bus, separate into the four groups as quickly as possible.
*See maps for specific route for each of the four groups.
ELP students: ask chaperone volunteer to take lunch bins to the pavilion. (There is a cart
that can be used, pavilion should be opened already by MPA staff).
Start with cultivating gratitude, how thankful you are to be here today, exploring this
magical forest with them.
Take time to share your name and your favorite thing about MPA, and then go around
group and learn everyones name and have them share one favorite thing, or if theyve
been here, or something fun to set stage for participatory learning.
It is important to set ground rules, so children are clear on expectations, but do it in a
fun way that establishes a sense of exploring, adventure, freedom, and joy (rather than
a list of rules!) For example, it does not matter if they are in a straight line always, but
that they are on the trail. So couch it in terms of respect for the plants rather than some
seemingly arbitrary rule that doesnt make sense.
Check and see if anyone needs bathroom.
9:45 Trail hike (1 hour 30 minutes)
Four groups depart on their designated routes, provided on maps (located in yellow
folder within backpack). During this hike, integrate in the following activities.
Activity 1: Foxes and Deer sneaking game
(Adapted from Young et al. 2010. Coyotes Guide to Connecting with Nature. 2nd ed. Shelton,
WA: Owlink Media Corporation,Cougar Stalks Deer Activity, p.391)
Time: 10 mins
Subjects: English, Physical Education
Concepts: Developing sensory skills, role playing
Skills: Deer ears, Fox walking, from Coyotes Guide; listening and observing
surroundings; creating empathy through Animal Allies and role playing from Sobel.
Getting ready: Get the group in a huddle around you at a broad point in the trail to
explain how to play the game

Fall into Nature: First Grade

Activity instruction:
o Objective: To have the students take turns being the deer and the foxes. The
deer get to try to point to where the foxes are by sound, the foxes have to try to
use quite feet to quietly and softly tag the deer.
o How to play: One student will be blindfolded on the trail and everyone else is
lined up at least 10 feet from the blindfolded child. One student or multiple
students (you get to choose based on how the group is acting and how many
students there are and how much time you have) will have to use quite fox
walking and try to sneak past the blindfolded deer and high-five the facilitator
who is slightly farther on the trail. If the deer, using their deer ears, hears the
foxes sneaking past them, they have to point where they hear the noise. If they
point at the student (or a close enough direction based on leaders discretion)
the fox goes back to start and another fox, or group of foxes, tries. If the fox(es)
manages to sneak past the deer, the fox(es) wins and someone new becomes
the deer. (If they want to. If not, choose someone else).
o Rules: The deer cannot peek and cannot point randomly. If they do, they get one
warning and then must switch/the fox gets another try (depending on size of
group and how much time you have). The foxes that are waiting cannot make
any noises to help the fox/es who are sneaking up on the deer or the deer.
Sneaking foxes must stay on the train and must high-five softly.

Activity 2: Hazards at Mt. Pisgah

Time: 10-15 minutes
Subject: English
Concepts: Animal Allies, role playing, learning about hazards
Skills: Awareness through senses, respect of nature, and listening to direction
Getting ready: Use this activity when students are starting to need a rest.
Activity instructions:
o Gather group in circle, sitting may be preferred, but standing is also ok.
o Go around the circle and share about a time that the facilitator got scared but
then realized that nature was so much more than meets the eye. (1-2 minutes)
o Ex) One time I was out here in this Oak Woodland and I saw some poison oak. I
was pretty nervous but my teacher, Katie, told me that poison oak is actually
protector or guardian oak because it grows where nature has been hurt and
allows the nature to be healed. Pretty cool, huh? Nature often has really
interesting adaptations that help animals and plants to survive.
o Ask question: Can anyone explain to me what a hazard is? (Explain here:
something that could potentially cause us harm if care is not taken)
o Ask question: Can anyone let them know me what danger means? (Go with
whatever students have to say, but correct them if theyre wrong)
o Follow with: Does this mean we have to be scared or aware? Well, we surely
dont need to be scared, but we all should be using our owl eyes and deer ears
so we are aware of what is around us. What are some hazards that you all can

Field trip

think of here at Mt. Pisgah or when you are out hiking? (Note responses either
mentally or on paper)
The following are some potential hazards found here, go through them in a fun,
engaging, and non-threatening conversation with children (10 minutes)
o Q: How do you listen to your body or adapt to your surroundings to take care of
o A: Listen to your body, drink water, put on warm clothes, take off jackets if hot,
and make sure you are being respectful, responsible, and safe.
o Plants and animals also have adaptations to help them survive in nature. Such as:
Rough-skinned newt toxins
o These animals have a lot of predators since they are small so they have evolved a
very potent way to protect themselves from their predators: a very powerful
toxin in their skin that is deadly to anything that eats it, including us humans!
Avoid touching and wash hands well if you do touch an rough-skinned newt.
Widow-makers (dead limbs in trees)
o When hanging out under large trees, especially if its windy, look up and use owl
eyes and deer ears! (Sounds of cracking branches may be a sign that trees are
trying to drop the branches that were no longer healthy for them to have).
Rivers edge/Streams
o Stay behind safety railing and do not climb on it (if present) because we dont
want to fall or maybe squish something that may be living on the other side.
o Dont bother these insect and arachnid friends because they have adapted ways
of protecting themselves from being eaten by predators such as birds.
o Q: Would you want to be eaten?
o A: No!
o Q: So do you think these animals want to be eaten either?
o A: No!
Drinking water
o Water in streams and rivers may look clear and clean, but some things living in
there are too small for us to see than can make us sick.
o Q: Would you want an animal to drink you up?
o A: No!
o Q: Pretty smart of them to protect themselves like that, huh?
o A: Yes!

Activity 3 Observation Station

Time: 10 minutes
Subjects: English, Language arts, Math, Science
Concepts: scientific observation, learning about oak woodlands
Skills: math development, scientific observation skills, comparative vocabulary and
adjectives, and critical thinking.

Fall into Nature: First Grade

Getting ready: while walking through or near the incense cedar forest, have the
students observe what they see, hear, smell, feel on the trail, including temperature,
amount of light, and colors they see. Once you reach a point in the trail where you can
see the Incense cedar forest and the oak woodland, stop and have the group line up on
one side of the trail while you go towards the center to explain the activity.
Activity instructions:
Objective: Count trees on one side of the trail and then the other, note how the
Incense cedar forest has more trees than the oak woodland, and then go into
observation skills and language to see why the two are different.
How it works: Look at the side of the trail where the incense cedar forest is. Have
the students count how many trees they see in one minute and review some of
the things they observed with their senses while in the Incense cedar forest by
calling on quiet hands. Ask if other students noticed the same thing and have
them raise their hands. Now have them turn to look at the oak woodland for one
minute and have them count how many trees they can see and observe how it
feels while in the oak woodland. After they have finished observing, have them
share some of their finding by calling on quiet hands of five or so students. Ask if
other students noticed the same thing and have them raise their hands.
Discussion: Have the students compare what they noticed from the forest to the
woodland, from temperature to number of trees, sounds, smells, etc. Push them
to say full thoughts, such as It felt different because or I noticed that (blank)
had more/less (blank) than (blank). Use prompting questions if necessary, such
as Did anyone notice it smelled different? What smells did you smell? Did
anyone see (blank)? Did anyone notice how it is lighter out from under the trees
in the forest?

Activity 4 Assessment: Tree Tag Trivia

Time: 5-15 minutes
Subject: PE and Language Arts
Concepts: Assessment of students information retention
Skills: Assess knowledge and help retain knowledge and facts about plants and animals
through a game (based on Jacobson assessment strategies).
Activity instructions:
o Getting ready: Find an area with clearly defined trees on the trail where you can
see both trees easily. Have the students all gather in front of a of the trees to
explain the rules.
o Objectives: Have the students run to the opposite tree once they know what
animal or plant you are describing.
o How to play: The group leader will start describing one of the animals or plants
we have talked about during the day (such as a black-tailed deer, Oregon white
oak, western gray squirrel, etc.). (Ex: Has a large trunk and grows acorns and has
large waxy leaves which are one of the last trees to lose their leaves in fall
leading the students to guess an Oak, more specifically an Oregon white oak).

Field trip

Once a student thinks they know what you are describing, they can run to the
opposite tree. Once most of the students or all of the students are at the other
tree, you can ask them to all tell you on the count of 3 the answer. If it is not
specific enough, you can say they are right and repeat the more specific name
(such as them saying deer and you repeating as black-tailed deer). Once they get
that animal they can run back to the starting tree and start over with the next
animal or plant you are describing.
o Rules: Be kind to one another. No pushing, shoving, or tripping other players.
You may run but be careful and look where you are going. No shouting out the
answers. It is okay to not know the answer or have the wrong answer.
11:00 Make sure group is heading back to lunch spot
11:15 Lunch
Children can retrieve their personal lunches from the boxes and eat at the pavilion if raining or
at the picnic tables and benches in the Oak Woodland by the stream trail. Toward the end of
lunchtime prepare for next activity- running game. See next section for preparation.
11:35 Running Game
(Adapted from Young et al. 2010. Coyotes Guide to Connecting with Nature. 2nd ed. Shelton,
WA: Owlink Media Corporation. Deer-Bounding Challenge. p.391)
Time: 20 minutes
Subjects: Physical Education, Science, Math
Concepts: Inform children about species of black-tailed deer while having fun
Skills: Deer can jump about 20 feet long and can clear a 9 feet tall fence (indicate this
with measuring tape if possible). Students relate these distances to their own jumping
distances, and recognize the agility of deer.
Activity instructions:
o Getting ready: Place two pieces of string parallel on the grass about 2 feet apart
o Objective: Students act as deer jump farther and farther until they cant make it.
o How to play: Students line up side by side all facing towards the string about 5
feet from the string. Students run and jump to clear the space between strings.
Once a student doesnt clear the string jump, they move to the sidelines to
watch. Game continues with string gap widened every round. Once one or two
students are left, estimate how far they could jump. Relate this activity to deer,
as stated above in skills.
11:55 Afternoon Hike- With Math and Science
Yellow Hike:
Talking Points- South Boundary Trail
At start- another cedar with great sapsucker holes.
By creek- tree with very fresh woodpecker holes.

Fall into Nature: First Grade

Sunny spot right before cedars- open areas are liked by coyotes, they can thrive in any
environment, their numbers have actually grown as other predators have been pushed
out of no longer wild places and urbanization has happened, but their original habitat is
grasslands and deserts where they can hunt for rodents and rabbits; for the other
creatures this area is too dry and exposed.
Talking Points- Zigzag Trail
There are many types of lichen and moss to be found in this part of the hike.
Keep a look out for smaller birds or bird calls, such as dark-eyed juncos (small,
blackheads, short chirp calls), and pacific wrens (small brown, long song).
Pink Hike:
Talking Points-By the steam
At start- waterways are great for looking for water loving animals (see below) and notice
change of habitat from water to the tree line.
Keep open owl eyes for and deer ears for rough-skinned newts, frogs, water birds, and
animal tracks in the mud.
Note that the trail might be a little soggy so careful walking.
At end of trail- look for the large Oak tree with a bench below it for sit spots.
12:20 Seasonal Question Quest
Time: 15 minutes
Subjects: Science, Math
Concepts: Seasonal centered information, comparison
Skills: Observation and the art of questioning
Getting ready: Find location that has acorns around
Activity instructions:
ELP leader will start by having the students observe the seasonal focus (acorns) (ex:
acorns may have holes or has ridges or is round so may roll, galls are on oak leaves and
some have spots, wildflowers have pollen or are just blooming etc.).
o Ask the students to name the things they observed about acorns and write down
their observations. Then ask the students to ask as many questions as possible
about the seasonal focus and write down the main question themes (ex: will the
shape change, what happens to them in other seasons, how many are there).
o Help them create a group question about something that will happen to that
focus the next season. (Q: What will happen to the acorns? A: They will be gone
in winter because they are food for so many animals and dont look like they will
be able to survive much longer because some of the acorns already are broken
or have holes?)
o Then during the field trip in the following season they can look back and try to
answer the question.
o Fall creates a question for winter. Winter will address the fall question and then
creates a question for spring. Spring will address the winter question and
possibly create an additional question.

Field trip

12:50 Story Time and Setup (3 minutes)

The goal of story time is to teach key natural history facts about the oak woodland (and the key
species we are focusing on if possible), as well as embed how to really see animals in the
woods. (a story is provided here, or you may use your own)
Do you want to hear a story about one of these oaks that I find very special? (Dramatic pause
and lean in and lower voice). One time I was out here trying to practice my fox walking and I
came to a large oak tree where there seemed to be a nice shady spot underneath. I decided to
carefully sit down to do a sit spot and rest my head against its grayish bark that is in little
segments and watched some of the leaves get pulled off by the breeze. I was siting patiently
and quietly, just waiting to see if something around me may move or change. (Lower voice) The
breeze was a little cold, the leaves overhead were slightly rustling and the branches were
squeaking, and there was a damp smell in the air as I sat and waited, just soaking it all in.
Nothing happened for a while, but, (dramatic pause and gasp) suddenly, (voice pitch drops on
this word and follow with dramatic pause) I heard a rustling to my left thanks to me using my
deer ears and looked to see a movement in the trees thanks to my owl eyes (look to my left as
if reliving the moment). The movement stopped for a bit but then (dramatic pause and gasp) I
saw a quick glimpse (squint eyes and look out) of what looked like some thin brown back legs
and a small black tail. (Increase voice pitch for next part) I was so excited! Here I was under a
lovely Oregon white oak looking out over the oak woodland and a black-tailed deer had decided
to join me! I only saw bits and pieces of this deer, often losing track of it because of tall grass or
the incense cedars blocking my views, but I had seen a deer! After it wandered out of sight I got
up from my spot and continued on my way.
1:00 Sit Spots (15 minutes)
Walking in a line, drop children off in their sit spots. Leave the chaperone at one end of
the students and you will stay at the other end until activity is over.
Make sure these are well spaced out so that they cant talk or distract one another, on
the trail, but all to one side of the trail so that someone could pass if needed. I
recommend placing the tarp sit spot on the ground to ensure good spacing.
Although it is tempting, dont walk back and forth and check in with students. The time
is too short, and your presence too disruptive to the goal of a sit spot.
Note: We want to cultivate in these children the ability to open their senses, and
experience being in nature. This will take time, and it is 100% OK if they are wiggly,
digging in dirt, building little fairy houses, etc. Their sit spot time is meant to be a gift of
alone time in nature. Over the years we will cultivate their ability to sit quietly and
observe, but it should never be forced. We meet our goal just by having them out in
nature. Magic takes time to happen, so it is ok if they are restless. I encourage everyone
to trust the process, and try to do the full sit spot time.
It might work best if you and the chaperone everyone does the sit spot activity. Role
modeling and not hovering over them is most helpful. Set timer to really get a full 15

Fall into Nature: First Grade



Nature Journaling (30 minutes)

Note: If it is raining you will skip this part, and have them do this in the pavilion if
possible when return. Will need to keep groups separate to do this!
Quietly walk back along the trail, stopping at each child, handing them their field
When handing out field notebooks, emphasize putting on scientist hat and drawing
just what they see, hear, smell, feel (not mermaids or superheroes).
Open up each notebook to the page you want them to use, and clearly state
Remember, I want you to use your senses and draw or write about what you are
seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling. Use only these two pages today, ok? Keep observing,
and taking notes/drawing, until you hear me call everyone back to the bridge (or
wherever you are meeting), ok?
Note: Keep students out on trail, sitting alone, for both for sit spot and journaling
time, as goal is to have them sit and draw what they are seeing.
Please do not have children write names on journals. Crazy I know, but since we are
using journals for our research project, we have been asked to not have names on them
to maintain anonymity. I am working on getting a waiver on this rule, but for now, it is
what I have to work with.
Wrap: Story of the Day
Call your group of students together, asking them to bring their materials to the circle.
Go around the circle, asking each child to state at least one thing they saw, heard,
smelled, and experienced, such as the small of the trees in the forested incense cedars,
or the sound of a Jay, or the color of a rough skinned newts belly, or some cool
mushrooms they saw.
ELP students: make sure to take notes here of what everyone reported out, and give
positive reinforcement! And carefully collect field notebooks, making sure to put in
correct zip lock, and re-stash in the ELP backpacks.
Key points: we want to create immediate accountability so they each get to share
what they saw, AND if they saw something really cool it might be possible to have
everyone look at it (a spider web glowing, etc.)

2:00 Hike back to the pavilion (10 minutes)

Ask your group if theyd like to do a silent hike back, and report on what they saw, or you could
do other observation games (alphabet letters in nature) on way back. See list of suggestions

Wrap (5 minutes)
Get all four groups into a big circle (try to keep groups together though)
Ask for the designated person from each group to share how many questions they came
up with regarding acorns, and to share one of those questions. Repeat with the other
three groups.

Field trip

Ask them how they might answer those questions? (A: go to their school library and
research the answer; find field guides; or DESIGN an experiment to answer those great
questions that maybe no one has ever asked before). Summarize that the first step to
being a good scientist or a good writer or artist for that matter, is awakening our senses
and paying careful attention to our world around us; and being curious and motivated
to learn more!
Moment of gratitude: Have everyone take a deep breath together and let it out,
thanking the chaperones, guides, and the students for being there. Have the students
think about one thing they were grateful for, such as the trail, shade, birds, etc. After,
share again that the Mushroom Festival will be held on October 30th, 2016 and
everyone should come! Fliers were given to the teachers so that they can have them to
give to kids or parents.

2:15 Load bus

Do another head count of children on the bus.
Check in with bus driver to make sure they know directions, provide a map.
Back at Adams
ELP students: collect four backpacks; give thanks to the teachers and the children for a
fun day! Sign out in the office.
Back at ELP office
ELP students:
o Clean backpacks
o Fill out evaluation forms - make sure to write down the number of participants
o Hang tarps and nametags to dry if wet
o Count the journals, stash them in a safe spot and make sure they are not wet,
then put next groups journals in backpack