- Linwood Elementary
- Lion Pride
Parent Provides Support for Lessons in the School Forest
Jennifer Braido, a parent at Linwood Elementary, recently co-authored a TEFFLA Grant Application with Mr. Caldwell to develop a trail camera curriculum with Linwood teachers. She has an upcoming sabbatical in the spring of 2017 (Jan-May) that is heavily focused on K-6 curriculum development of inquiry-based activities in the School Forest. She is offering her support and partnership in working with classroom teachers and students in the Linwood School Forest.
The Linwood School Forest is a wonderful resource for our students. It is a 220-acre forest located behind the school with groomed trails, benches, bogs, wildlife and vegetation. The School Forest Committee meets monthly and discusses how to care for, utilize and promote the Linwood School Forest. This committee is made up of school employees, members of Linwood Township, and the DNR. Mrs. Braido sits on the School Forest Committee and is a huge proponent of using natural spaces as outdoor classrooms.
Mrs. Braido is a Biology Teaching Professor at Anoka-Ramsey Community College in Coon Rapids. She has graduate work in both Biology and Education. She is also a Minnesota Naturalist Program Instuctor and has used the Linwood School Forest as a field trip location, service learning site, and research field station for her own students. All of the interpretive signs in Windswept Prairie as well as the School Forest were produced by her students. Their research focus has been assessing the diversity of wildlife inhabiting and/or utilizing the School Forest since the winter of 2015. They incorporated trail cameras in the School Forest this past year and got really great results! The most recent set of interpretive signs will showcase some of the wildlife that call the School Forest home (look for those towards the end of summer 2016!)
In May, Kindergarten teacher, Ms. Pearl and Jennifer attended the Children and Nature Network Conference. They learned about many amazing ways natural settings are being utilized all over the world. They also learned about nature's positive impact on learning and test scores; as well as how learning in nature alleviates sensory issues and ADHD, and boosts creativity and confidence.
Students currently enjoy 3 classes per year (in the Fall, Winter and Spring) tailored to their grade level by a naturalist from Wargo Nature Center. Principal, Jim Caldwell, tries to take each class out at least once a year as well. Now Mrs. Braido is offering her expertise to classroom teachers to further take advantage of this amazing natural resource right behind our school! She has familiarized herself with the Minnesota Science Standards, but knows that the School Forest has so much more to offer than just teaching science and she is happy to work on cross-curricular lessons with classroom teachers as well.
The community can help support the efforts of the School Forest Committee by purchasing Metro Dining Cards from our students, or in the school office in September.