I went for a walk up to the Bird Sanctuary. I really wanted to see wild animals, not just birds. I couldn't see any. I wondered if there are really any other animals here other than just moths and birds! Then I saw these (see the pictures above) up by the bird sanctuary. I saw at least 3 very different animal tracks. Oh, there are animals around here all right!
When you take your students outdoors this year, you may start off with an objective to find something in particular. What will you do if you don't find what you're looking for? Does every outdoor exploration have to be completely structured and planned or will you leave room for discovery? Will you be able to teach on the fly, using what nature provides that day to address a new or current standard or review a previous standard? Will you be able to integrate subject areas to help students make meaningful connections? Will your students have clipboards and paper and pencils and field books and journals and magnifying glasses and binoculars and cameras?
When I looked, I didn't see the animals I wanted to see. When I saw, I saw things I wouldn't have seen if I had only chosen to look. Does that make sense? How are you going to help your students not just look, but really see?