The Hudson River as the Context for Learning

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By Susan Hereth


This self-guided mini course, " The Hudson River as the Context for Learning", is a professional development structure aimed at giving participants the tools they need to implement Place-based Education practices focused on the Hudson River Valley as the context for learning.

More background information about this mini-course: Susan Hereth's Project Portfolio

Performance Objectives

• Learners will have a clear understanding of Place-based Education.

• Learners will be able to find and choose resources related to Place-based Education and the Hudson River Valley.

• Learners will be able to seek out professional development experiences in Place-based Education.

• Learners will be able to re-design current lessons or design new lessons and projects to incorporate Place-based Education using the Hudson River Valley as the context for learning in their instruction.


Units for Learning

Unit 1 Understand the pedagogy of Place-based Education

Participants will be able to describe Place-based Education through use of the internet, as well as review articles and books, to gain knowledge and understanding of Place-based Education.


Key Questions:

• What does Place-based Education mean?

• What does “using the environment as the context for integrated learning” mean?

• How do these two concepts benefit students?



1. Explore and read websites for knowledge and understanding of Place-based Education pedagogy


• Promise of Place [1]

• Place-Based Education Evaluation Collaborative [2]


2. Explore and read selected reports, articles or brochures that describe and define Place-based Education


• The Benefits of Place-based Education: A report from the Place-based education evaluation collaborative. (second edition 2010) [3]

• Student Gains from Place-based Education Fact Sheet #2 November 2007 [4]

• Place-based Education: Connecting Classroom and Community by David Sobel [5] Nature and Listening, 2004


3. Read to enhance understanding about “environment as an integrating context (EIC) for learning”

• State Education and Environment Roundtable [6]


4. Assessment

 Create a Place-based Education binder to record information and to be used through this mini-course to collect resources and ideas. Create sections under the themes of or similar to journal entries, ideas, lesson plans, professional development, and resources.

 In the “journal entry” section of your binder, please take some time to answer the following questions:

• How would you define Place-based Education? • What are the core principles or key components of Place-based Education? • How does Place-based Education benefit students? • How would the use of the environment as the context for learning benefit your classroom?

 In the “resource” section of your binder, create a resource list of websites, articles and books related to Place-based Education that you can use to support student engagement and classroom curriculum.


Resources to deepen understanding:


Smith, Gregory A. & Gruenewald, David A. (2008). Place-Based Education in the Global Age: Local Diversity. Routledge

Sobel, David. (2008). Childhood and Nature: Design Principles for Educators. Stenhouse Publishers

Sobel, David. (2004). Place-Based Education: Connecting Classrooms and Communities. Great Barrington, MA: Orion Society




Unit 2 Increase knowledge of the natural history of the Hudson River

Participants will be able to interpret key features of the Hudson River’s characteristics through exploration of resources and create a resource list to further characterize features of the Hudson River.


Key Questions:

• How was the Hudson River formed?

• What are the components of the Hudson River’s ecosystem and natural history?

• What are some of the historical and cultural facets of the Hudson River Valley?


1. Pre-assessment:


 In the “journal entry” section of your binder, please answer these:

• What I know about the Hudson River… • What I would like to know about the Hudson River…


2. To gain knowledge of the Hudson River watch this history overview, a student led video, “Our Town”: [7]


3. Increase your knowledge of Hudson River’s natural history:

 Review and explore these websites:

 New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (NYS DEC) Hudson River Estuary Program (HREP):


• Hudson River Almanac [8]

• Hudson River Estuary Program [9]

• Hudson River Environmental Conditions Observing Systems (HRECOS) [10]

• Hudson River Virtual Tour [11]


 Based on your interests or focus, read targeted chapters in (or the whole book!), The Hudson: An Illustrated Guide to the Living River, 2nd Edition (2007) by Stephen P. Stanne, Roger G. Panetta, and Brian E. Forest


4. Assessment:

 In the “journal entry” section of your binder, answer the following questions on the Hudson River: 1.) What I now know about the Hudson River…., 2.) Describe two or more new natural history observations that you have read about, 3.) List some key facts about the Hudson River such as; length of the river from source to end, length of the estuary, deepest part, widest part, organisms that depend on the river both in it and along its shores, 4.) What is a tidal estuary? 5.) How and when was the Hudson River formed? 6.) List one or more new and interesting things you learned about the Hudson River.

 Create a “journal entry” with three new topic areas of interest you would pursue in relation to gaining knowledge about the Hudson River and connecting your classroom’s curriculum to the Hudson River using Place-based Education practices.

  After analysis of resources and information, begin to create a “resource list” for your students and classroom that contains websites, articles and books related to the Hudson River that can be used to support engagement and classroom curriculum. (This will be added onto as you progress through this mini-course.)


Resources to deepen understanding:


 Natural History:

Stanne, Stephen P. , Panetta, Roger G. & Forest Brian E. (2007). The Hudson: An Illustrated Guide to the Living River (2nd ed.) Rutgers University Press.


 Cultural History:


Books:

Dunwell , Frances F. (2008).The Hudson: America's River. Columbia University Press.

Dunwell , Frances F. (1991).Hudson River Highlands. Columbia University Press.

Lewis, Tom. (2007). The Hudson. Yale University Press.


Videos:

Aronson, Josh.(2009). Hudson River Shorts. THIRTEEN http://www.thirteen.org/hudsonriver/


Unit 3 Identify and explore resources to gain knowledge in lesson plans, resources, and professional development related to Hudson River Valley based programs.

Participants will be able to choose and apply Hudson River based lesson plans and professional development opportunities to their classroom curriculum through examination of online Place-based Education resources.


Key Questions:

• Where can I find lesson plans related to the Hudson River Valley?

• Where can I find professional development opportunities in Place-based Education?


1. Building on your knowledge of the Hudson River, explore organizations and their websites that offer lesson plans, resources, and professional development connected to the Hudson Valley and Hudson River:


 Teaching the Hudson Valley [12] (you will need to create an account with user name and password)


 New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (NYS DEC) Hudson River Estuary Program (HREP):

o HREP events [13]

o HREP education [14]

o HREP lesson plans [15]


 Cary Institute’s Changing Hudson Program [16]


 Albany Institute [17]


 Hudson River Museum [18]


 Scenic Hudson, education and events [19]


2. Sign up for a Place-based Education professional development workshop(s) using information from your resource list and organizations referenced in this unit.


3. Assessment

 Using Teaching the Hudson Valley’s website and information, locate sites or organizations that maybe useful or accessible for your classroom. Record this information under “resources” in your Place-based Education binder.

 Using the website resources above, outreach to an education coordinator or specialist at one or more of the organizations in your area/region for ideas or assistance with lesson plans and/or professional development related to the Hudson River or Hudson Valley.

 In the “lesson plan” section of your Place-based Education binder, print and file 5-10 lesson plans from the various sites that could be incorporated into your classroom.

 Review each lesson and write notes for each lesson plan as to how you can adapt the lesson for your classroom.

 In your binder under “professional development”, using the resources throughout this mini-course, draft a yearlong or long term professional development plan that identifies professional development opportunities or ideas you would like to participate in.

 Add to the resource list for your students and classroom: websites, articles and books related to the Hudson River that can be used to support engagement and classroom curriculum.


Resources to deepen understanding


Leslie, Claire Walker, Tallmadge, John & Wessels, Tom. (1999). Into the Field: A Guide to Locally Focused Learning. Great Barrington, MA. The Orion Society.



Unit 4 Develop a plan to incorporate Place-based Education into classroom curriculum using the Hudson River or Hudson Valley as the context for learning.

Participants will be able to create and plan a schedule to introduce and build upon Place-based Education lessons in the classroom throughout the school year.


Key Question:

• How can I implement Place-based Education lessons related to the Hudson River Valley into my curriculum?


1. To get your creative process jumping and to fuel ideas for connecting your classroom curriculum to Place-based pedagogy, watch this video:

 Get ‘em Outside by the No Child Left Inside Coalition [20]


2. Correlate Hudson River lessons into your curriculum schedule:

 Reviewing the lessons you added to your Place-based Education binder, match the lessons to your curriculum so that you are incorporating a Hudson River lesson into the school year calendar at least every other month.

 Examine and incorporate additional lesson plans as needed.

 Plan a fieldtrip to the Hudson River using your resource list and Teaching the Hudson Valley for ideas and information.

 Continue and advance outreach to education coordinators from resource list to provide support and assistance to programming plans.


3. Meet NYS standards through the method of Place-based Education

• Most, if not all, of the lesson plans found throughout the resource investigation are already aligned with state standards

• If any lessons you have found or created are not already aligned, use these reference links to connect the lesson plan with learning standards:

• New York State Education Department’s state learning standards http://www.p12.nysed.gov/ciai/standards.html

• Common Core Standards http://www.p12.nysed.gov/ciai/common_core_standards/


4. Assessment

 Participants will have a Place-based Education resource binder as a ‘living document’ to continually expand upon to support both the classroom and professional growth.

 Participant will implement the delivery of Hudson River/Valley based lesson plans in support of their curriculum.


Resources to deepen understanding:

Website:

Children & Nature Network [21] Includes extensive research and resources on connecting children to the outdoors

Books:

Louv, Richard. (2011). The Nature Principal: Human Restoration and the End of Nature-Deficit Disorder. Algonquin

Louv, Richard (2008) Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder. Updated & Expanded Edition. Algonquin

Resources for This Whole Mini-Course

Websites:


Children & Nature Network [www.childrenandnature.org]

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation [www.dec.ny.gov]

Promise of Place [www.promiseofplace.org]

Place-Based Education Evaluation Collaboration [www.peecworks.org]

State Education and Environment Roundtable [www.seer.org]

Teaching the Hudson Valley http://www.teachingthehudsonvalley.org


Videos:


Aronson, Josh.(2009). Hudson River Shorts. THIRTEEN [www.thirteen.org/hudsonriver]

Houlihan, Linda. (2008). Our Town. [22]


Books:


Dunwell , Frances F. (2008).The Hudson: America's River. Columbia University Press.

Dunwell , Frances F. (1991).Hudson River Highlands. Columbia University Press.

Leslie, Claire Walker, Tallmadge, John & Wessels, Tom. (1999). Into the Field: A Guide to Locally Focused Learning. Great Barrington, MA. The Orion Society.

Lewis, Tom. (2007). The Hudson. Yale University Press.

Louv, Richard. (2011). The Nature Principal: Human Restoration and the End of Nature-Deficit Disorder. Algonquin

Louv, Richard (2008) Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder. Updated & Expanded Edition. Algonquin

Smith, Gregory A. & Gruenewald, David A. (2008). Place-Based Education in the Global Age: Local Diversity. Routledge

Sobel, David. (2008). Childhood and Nature: Design Principles for Educators. Stenhouse Publishers

Sobel, David. (2004). Place-Based Education: Connecting Classrooms and Communities. Great Barrington, MA: Orion Society