mystery The answer to the clues may be found at the bottom of this column.    Teachers and Parents: Enter to win an entire set of Dawn’s nature books of one title for your home or classroom. It's fun and easy!
Just read the clues below. They describe an aspect of nature—a plant, animal, mineral, habitat, or natural process.
When you're ready to make your guess about who or what I am, click ENTER NOW.
Who Am I?
spacerglass1 Clue 1:  I'm a member of the "dog family."
glass1 Clue 2:  I live throughout North America in deserts, prairies, forests, and even in towns and cities.
glass1 Clue 3:  You might hear me howling at night to communicate with my pack.
glass1 Clue 4:  Don't let me trick you—I am NOT a wolf.
Do you think you know who I am? ENTER NOW.
Entries should be submitted no later than noon on Friday.
If you guessed correctly, you’re automatically entered into the monthly drawing for a set of nature books from Dawn Publications.
A contest winner will be announced at the end of September.
Throughout the school year, clues for a new Who Am I are posted no later than Sunday night, so you can use them with your class on Monday morning.Good luck!
The answer to last week's mystery was: SEASHELLS Although Inside Outside Nature blog is changing it's focus, this weekly "Who Am I?" will remain the same! Teachers, click here to get ideas about how to use the contest with your students.  

Why Go Outside?

imagesI love the beginning of a new school year. Everyone (teachers, kids, and parents) have a clean slate. It’s a time to approach learning with fresh energy and new perspectives.


As I look to the year ahead, my hope is that the ideas, lessons, and resources I share with you in this blog will give you helpful information about how you can connect  children with nature, both inside and outside of the classroom.

Outside: The Reason Why

I usually post  both “inside” and “outside” ideas and activities. However, this week I’m focusing just on OUTSIDE because it is so very important. As a teacher, I know going outside with a group kids poses all kinds of challenges. But there are also lots of benefits. I hope this article from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will encourage you to go outside this year:

image_previewWhy Go Outside? Simply put—it can improve both classroom learning and classroom behavior.

There is no doubt that as a teacher, you get pulled in many directions as you try to offer your students the best possible educational opportunities. It is a balancing act – you have to make some tough choices about how your students spend their time.

It’s worth knowing though, that a variety of research has shown that creatively engaging children with the natural world on a regular basis can make a huge difference in their health, well-being, and ability to learn.

• Students who spend more time outdoors in natural areas are more motivated and enthusiastic about learning.  Their academic achievement is also higher across multiple subject areas.

• Having a natural view from a classroom makes a difference – it positively impacts both student academic achievement and behavior.

• Students’ classroom behavior is better when they have recess.

b02B0ByNg2B9B927.lgOf course, some of your students’ outdoor time needs to occur when they are with their families and friends – those are the opportune times for free, unstructured play in natural areas.

But, you and your school can also help connect them with nature by providing more outdoor education opportunities, making sure that they continue to have outdoor recess, and even “greening” the school grounds with naturalized areas.


More Facts and Fun Outside

Get curriculum and find out about the Schoolyard Habitat Program from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Nature Explore Classrooms provides ideas for outdoor classrooms—gateways that connect children with nature.

Go to The Nature Conservancy’s Nature Rocks website to search for activities by age, time, and/or location.