Do you have collaborative classrooms in your school? Earlier this year, I connected with the team at OuiSi and had a chance to explore their resources for students and teachers. If you are exploring ways to boost critical thinking, strengthen social-emotional learning skills, or embrace collaborative learning benefits this school year, you’ll want to check out OuiSi Nature.
Let’s dive into OuiSi Nature and the benefits of using this engaging classroom resource.
Collaborative Learning Benefits
OuiSi (pronounced “we-see”) is a company that makes sets of beautiful photo cards that celebrate patterns, shapes and colors found in nature. The guidebook is full of activities for students and families alike that are great for exploring connections, creativity, vocabulary, and so much more.
Regular readers of the blog know that I love the combination of online and offline activities. With OuiSi Nature, students can move the photo cards around their desks or table and talk about what they see. The excellent technology connection comes in the form of QR codes on the back of each card. Students can scan to dive deeper into the nature depicted and learn more about the diverse set of 16 environmental photographers who captured the images. Here are a few examples of the photos you’ll find from wildlife filmmaker Inka Cresswell.
OuiSi Nature is great for students of all ages and abilities, including pre-readers, younger students and English-language learners. You can leverage this resource across content areas, including science and geography classes, where you might have deep conversations about a topic in nature. Or you might find that OuiSi Nature is the perfect precursor to a research activity or even a nature walk.
Learn more about OuiSi Nature and OuiSi Original on this special landing page and use the code ETTOUISI20 for 20% off. The code gets applied at checkout and expires August 31, 2022.
5 Ways OuiSi Nature Supports Collaborative Classrooms
How can you use this fantastic resource in a classroom setting? Here are five ways OuiSi Nature supports collaborative classrooms.
Social Emotional Learning
What does social emotional learning look like in action? Students of all ages connect visually, textually, and emotionally with the images and through observation-based conversations. The photo cards in OuiSi Nature create opportunities to explore different perspectives and build empathy as students learn about life in other parts of the world. Since OuiSi Nature encourages cooperative play rather than competitive play, it can serve as a calming mindfulness activity or team-building activity, too.
Building content area vocabulary is so important for students of all ages. The beautiful images and free play exploration in OuiSi Nature can help language processing and acquisition. An instructor can guide conversations around the pictures on each photo card and ask questions to students as they explore. This guided activity can help students build their vocabulary and spark conversations. You might find that you even use these cards alongside a storytelling activity with students in small groups, including English Language Learners.
Design Thinking in Collaborative Classrooms
Incorporating design thinking into your classroom might feel intimidating, especially with younger learners. You can use OuiSi Nature and draw on the inspiration of the cards. For example, you might encourage students to explore the cards in OuiSi Nature and ask them questions about the world. This can launch collaborative investigations around nature-related topics for lots of student projects.
To start the school year with community building in mind, you might use OuiSi Nature as part of an icebreaker activity. I’m a big fan of brain breaks and giving students time to pause and discuss different resources they come across during the school day. You might use OuiSi Nature to promote critical thinking as students think-pair-share questions that arise as they explore the cards. It might also connect to a creative experience for students where they draw a picture or record a video based on a lingering question or wondering prompted by a photo they’ve seen.
The fifth way to use OuiSi Nature to support collaborative classrooms is to intentionally connect content across multiple subject areas. For example, you might find that the OuiSi Nature cards inspire an investigation of math in nature. It can help your students take a closer look at different ecosystems, or have conversations about life cycles. In addition to connections to the Next Generation Science Standards, these photo cards help inspire student research or persuasive writing activities that also support English Language Arts standards.
Learn more about OuiSi Nature and OuiSi Original on this special landing page and use the code ETTOUISI20 for 20% off. The code gets applied at checkout and expires August 31, 2022. From centers and stations to independent work, this resource can prompt discussion, inspire student writers, and so much more! Check out some of the excellent reviews for OuiSi Nature and OuiSi Original right here.