Thursday, March 12, 2015

"Expanding the Classroom Walls" registration opens Tuesday 3/17!

Happy Spring Break everyone! We're going to hit 63 degrees today in Minnesota. Time to put on shorts and get the deck furniture out :) 

While I may be on break from my "day job", I'm also hard at work on my summer job; coordinating a pair of 3-credit summer onsite courses for Learner's Edge entitled "Expanding the Classroom Walls". Each course is an action-packed week of hands-on learning experiences at 15+ unique Twin Cities venues.

If you've never taken a course from Learner's Edge before, you are truly missing out! For only $450 per course, you receive 3 semester credits to apply toward district lane changes. Or sign up for both courses! OS-651 runs 6/15-6/19. OS-890 runs 6/22-6/26. 

The first ten teachers to sign up and tweet me @MandyBellm with hashtags #TCWallsI and/or #TCWallsIII will receive a prize on the first day of class!

What are the courses all about? 

Think back to your childhood. What are your most cherished and vivid memories from your school days? Many are probably from FIELD TRIPS! With tight budgets and constant pressure to meet state and federal standards, students are being exposed to fewer hands-on arts and enrichment experiences outside the classroom than ever before. Sadly, these very same field trips provide much more intense memory development and curriculum retention than ordinary classroom lectures. 

Fortunately, this trend does not need to continue! There are many low-cost options right in your own back yard. You may not even have to physically go to the sites; many locations will now bring their exhibits to you, either as traveling shows or as a virtual field trip. This course aims to open your eyes to new curricular opportunities, allowing teachers to examine their content for real-world learning applications, and to return with a field trip action plan that can be implemented immediately.

Tech-savvy teachers (and those brave enough to learn!) will get to try out QR codes, Google Forms, learn about geocaching, and research virtual field trips related to your content area. You can tweet and/or follow along on Twitter and

Email me: 
Email Learner's Edge: 

Here is some more detailed information, for my visual learner friends :)

OL-651 Itinerary (current as of today, 3/12): 

Monday 6/15: (9-4)
Meet & Greet @ Terrace Cafe, SPSC
Gabbert Raptor Center
Lunch break in Dinkytown
Bell Museum of Natural History
Como Zoo Tour & Wildlife Demonstration

Tuesday 6/16: (9-4)
Historic Murphy's Landing
Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
Lunch break at Oswald Visitor Center Restaurant
Wood Lake Nature Center

Wednesday 6/17: (9-4)
Basecamp BSA Rock Climbing & Ropes Course
MN Air National Guard Museum 
Lunch break & Geocaching @ Fort Snelling State Park
Historic Fort Snelling

Thursday 6/18: (9-4)
Ride the Light Rail Green Line! (optional)
Minneapolis Riverfront Walking Tour
Mill City Museum
Lunch break @ D'Amico & Sons
St. Paul Landmark Center tour & Exhibits

Friday 6/19: (9-1)
Dakota County Jail
St. Croix Valley Nature Center
Waste-Free Bag Lunch & Farewell @ Nature Center

OS-890 Itinerary (current as of today, 3/12): 

Monday 6/22: (9-4)
Meet & Greet @ Caribou Coffee in Ridgedale Mall
Westwood Hills Nature Center
Lunch & Scavenger Hunt @ Midtown Global Market
In the Heart of the Beast - Puppet & Mask Theater

Tuesday 6/23: (9-4)
Children's Theater Co. & MIA Tour
Lunch @ Eat Street Restaurants
Minnehaha Lock & Dam #1 Tour
Stevens House & Gardens Tour
Minnehaha Falls & Geocaching

Wednesday 6/24: (9-4)
Lyndale Park Rose Gardens
Thomas Sadler Roberts Birding Sanctuary
Pavek Museum of Broadcasting
Lunch & Tour @ St. Louis Park Rec Center & Wolf Park
MN Transportation Museum & Street Car Ride
Lake Harriet Bandstand & Geocaching

Thursday 6/25: (9-4)
Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary @ Phalen Creek
Minnesota History Center
Lunch @ Cosetta's
James J. Hill House Tour & Art Exhibit
Summit Ave Walking Tour ending at St. Paul Cathedral

Friday 6/26: (9-1)
WHCPA Pioneer Museum Tour with Bob Gasch
Long Lake tour of "The Big Woods" 
Gale Woods Farm Tour
Lunch & Farewell @ Peg's Countryside Cafe

Frequently Asked Questions:

Are entrance fees included in the course registration?
Yes, all facility fees are paid.

How is transportation arranged?
Teachers can drive one their own, or arrange car pools and split gas/parking fees if desired. I am coming from the west metro and can transport ~4 people each day.

Is lunch included?
No, all lunch activities are optional. Feel free to bring bagged lunches, water and snacks to eat whenever desired. 

What do we do if it rains?
Alternate rain-out activities such as virtual field trips will be provided as needed. 

What should we wear?
We will be walking around a LOT. Bring your teacher badge, dress appropriately in layers and wear comfortable close-toed shoes. Bring sunscreen, smart phones, chargers, notebook/paper, etc. as needed. 

Do I need to be a practicing teacher to take this course?
Some of the sites would prefer attendees to bring a teacher badge, but it is by no means required. Any teachers, subs, paraprofessionals, social workers, or other education professionals who are seeking graduate work or relicensure credits are welcome to enroll.

Do I need to be "techie" to take this course?
No, but teachers with smart phones will be learning how to use the QR Reader app and Teachers will be filling out Google Form surveys for each site we visit. Teachers are also encouraged to post pictures, info and videos to each site's Twitter and/or Facebook page as desired. 

What if I have other questions?
Email me at 

I look forward to seeing you there! Space is limited, so sign up right away on 3/17!