California Educator

June/July 2021

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 38 of 55

N A T U R A L L I G H T I N G . Fresh air. Open space. Energy efficiency. Welcome to the ultimate outdoor classroom at Thousand Oaks High School, which has been dubbed the Sustainable Outdoor Learning Environment (SOLE). It will be ready to roll this fall (literally) when the outdoor furniture and equipment is wheeled out from a nearby cargo container. Environmental science teacher Heather Farrell, the power- house who championed the green classroom, can hardly wait to teach in a learning environment that offers students sunshine, fresh air and open space. " We started planning for this way back in 2017, but it was timed perfectly to provide a safer environment in a pandemic," says Farrell, a member of Unified Association of Conejo Teachers (UACT). e classroom has no doors or walls, just a solar rooftop and battery that powers the classroom's 86-inch touchscreen TV and LED lighting. There are also energy-efficient circulating fans designed to keep students cool in mostly sunny ousand Oaks, a community located 39 miles west of Los Angeles. e SOLE has plenty of plugs for lab equipment and Chromebooks, too. The space is 30 by 30 feet and can hold up to 40 students. Instead of rows of desks, there are easily movable and stackable chairs, stools and ottomans that can be assembled in any config- uration for a comfortable and flexible workspace atop a rubber mat decorated with the school's logo. Multiple teachers, students will use the space e SOLE will be used mostly for STEAM instruction, but any teacher or campus club is allowed to sign up and reserve the outdoor classroom. Jeffrey Lewis, a biology and chemistry teacher at ousand Oaks High and UACT member, is excited about the space. "Presenting ideas and concepts that I provide in the The SOLE Reason This outdoor classroom offers students a breath of fresh air By Sherry Posnick-Goodwin Heather Farrell at the opening of the Sustainable Outdoor Learning Environment (SOLE). 37 J U N E / J U L Y 2 0 21 Teaching & Learning

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of California Educator - June/July 2021