Workshop Workbook Page

Sketching at the pond... WHAT DO YOU NEED?
Are you a science teacher, an environmental education instructor, a nature center volunteer, a homeschooling parent, or just someone who needs a simple but effective way to learn and teach others to sketch and journal their nature experience? If so, you have come to the right place.

Working from Observing Nature ~ A Journal Sketching Guide and the Observing Nature Teacher's Manual, you will have a comprehensive and USABLE curriculum for teaching kids ~ singly or in groups ~ how to get the most out of sketching and journaling in nature, whether on a wild mountainside, in their schoolyard or backyard, or at the local nature center. Proud students...

Not only will they learn sketching and journaling, but they'll improve their ability for quiet observation, hone their interpretive skills, and participate in an outdoor activity that encourages self-confidence and self-reliance without involving computers, iPods or other music devices, or cell phone or other electronic interactions.

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THE STUDENT GUIDE A look at the cover...
(Underlined links will take you to that page in the Guide if you click on them. Click on pictures for a closer look.)

Designed originally for use in guiding groups in a Nature Center setting, Observing Nature ~ A Journal Sketching Guide takes the student through a series of projects: a simple but effective right-brain sketching tutorial, a sketching session using right-brain techniques, an examination of what might go on a journal page, tips on observing nature in order to draw and journal about it, pointers on how to think objectively while journaling in order to get the most out the experience, and how to apply all this information to a journal page.

Eight pages of resource materials and information include
Finding Water Creatures...      ~Some Interesting Things to Observe, Sketch, and Journal
     ~Plants You Might See
     ~Reptiles and Amphibians
     ~Whose Track or Scat is That?
     ~Birds All Around
     ~Arthropods You Might Observe
     ~Skulls You Might Find
     ~Mammals To Watch For

The workbook also contains pages for the student to journal and sketch on, complete with suggestions about things they might write and sketch on the page, and provides prompts for adding date, location and site descriptions.

A look at the cover... (Underlined links will take you to that page in the Teacher's Manual if you click on them. Click on pictures for a closer look.)

The Observing Nature Teacher's Manual includes the step-by-step class plan, supply list, course objectives, ways to prepare the students for sketching/journaling in the natural environment, an "Assistant Guide and Checklist" in case you are teaching a large group and have assistants helping out, and even permission slip templates to use if someone is taking photos or you'd like to put the students' work in a newsletter or online.

Throughout the Teacher's Manual are sprinkled example after example of journal pages by students who took the course given by an instructor using this manual. Observation Tray...

One especially useful page has a list of suggestions for preparing "Observation Trays" ~ collections for the students to examine before going out to sketch. These include items collected (by you or the students) locally to pique their interest in finding interesting things to draw; and might include such things as pine cones, seed pods, owl pellets, pussy willow "kittens," beaver-chewed sticks, etc. One section of the book details how to prepare effective collections to intrigue and focus the students on the subject at hand. Click on the image at right for a closer view of contents in an Observation Tray.

RESOURCES There is also a valuable section suggesting places to locate and buy supplies (hand lenses, owl pellets, etc.).

THE BEST APPROACH Work through the course first
Plan to work through the course before teaching it, so that you will be aware of the challenges and know what will be most helpful for your students. In the process, you may uncover unexpected sketching and writing skills in yourself that will delight you.

You may purchase (through PayPal or using a credit card) PDFs of workbook and teacher's manual from which you may print out as many copies as you need to teach your classes, without infringing the copyright.

For this generous release, you are requested to steer other interested teachers to this website to purchase their own PDF files, rather than sharing yours. We hope to add new regional workbooks and teacher's manuals (seashores, swamps, etc.) soon, and your support will make this possible.

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You can visit my workshop blog for an account of a class similar to one you might present ~ and see some of the students' results.


Would you prefer to receive a workbook unique to your locale? While retaining the original format used in the Observing Nature Guide, you can request the inclusion of local plants, animals, and other things in your area.

The animals, plants, insects, and animal tracks in the current guide were chosen because they are native to the great majority of our North American habitats.

But you might like to see your own special wildlife and plants highlighted.

For example, if you live in the Southeast and your surroundings feature a swamp, bog, or marsh, you might like your Observing Nature Guide to feature barred owls, alligators, red-bellied woodpeckers and egrets. If you live in the Southwest, desert tortoises, gila monsters and eagles might be your choice.

If this sounds interesting to you, contact Irene Brady for details.

Meet Irene For more information about Irene, click on the photo at left.
For more information or to arrange for a workshop,
contact Irene via email

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