Sullivan's Woods Program Guide for Fourth and Fifth Grade Teachers in the Oshkosh Area School District
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, College of Natural Resources
MetadataShow full item record
This project's purpose was to create an Environmental Education program guide to be used at Sullivan's Woods, a local wooded and grassland site owned by the Oshkosh-Area School District. The guide is intended to assist fourth and fifth grade teachers plan activities that will allow them to infuse the environmental education curriculum and standards while visiting the site. The project is also intended to change teachers' attitudes toward visiting the site by providing resources, activities, and planning ideas. The methodology included evaluating the need for a program guide for the fourth and fifth grade teachers throughout the Oshkosh Area School District. In January, 1998, the district approved an inservice for Sullivan's Woods to discuss the need for a new program guide and share ideas and activities for the fourth grade teachers who would be using the site in the spring. The feedback from the discussions led to the development of questions for a formal survey of needs to be used the following year. The first surveys were sent out in November of 1998, soon after the fifth grade classes were finished visiting the site and shortly before the fourth grade teachers were planning their spring trips. Feedback was very positive, and a desire for new materials that would help in planning trips to the site was evident. Over the summer of 1999, a team of teachers compiled and organized activities, resources, planning ideas, and supplemental materials to build a new program guide for Sullivan's Woods. Being granted financial support by central office showed that the administration recognized a need for new materials for the district site. Without teachers using the site to its greatest potential, the district would be wasting its money. The program guide was completed and approved in the fall of 1999, just as the fifth grade teachers were planning trips to Sullivan's Woods. The team had to rush to provide an inservice for the guide prior to the first trip; the inservice of the guide did not happen. However, the promotion, distribution of, and inservice for the guide must have been enough, because post surveys completed in December, 1999, showed great interest in the guide and appreciation for the efforts of the team. Overcoming the barriers of teacher confidence in planning environmental activities is very important. Both teacher inservices and the availability of materials make planning outdoor educational experiences much easier for teachers. Since teachers have expressed the importance of teaching environmental education to elementary students, the issues of planning time, confidence, and available materials can all be addressed with a good comprehensive program guide and the opportunity for quality inservice training. The Sullivan's Woods Program Guide is a step in the right direction for the Oshkosh Area School District, but future input for the guide is necessary to continue to help teachers improve outdoor experiences for students.