This fall, we added a new course to our graduate program curriculum. Dr. Priya Pugh, Sr. Faculty for Practicum, shares more about the course, Instructional Strategies, below!

An IslandWood graduate student leading a group of students in the School Overnight Program.

Broadly, what is the course about? 

Instructional Strategies is a cohort-based course that was added with the intention of focusing on developing practice as educators and curricular designers in environmental and outdoor education. It’s a workshop-style course with opportunities for collaboration with peers, staff, other educators, and even students. I developed the class out of a need for more time spent on teaching practices and curriculum design.


And more specifically, what does it involve?

There are two main components to the class.


First, this course is interactive and interwoven with the practicum component of the program – teaching our School Overnight Program. The core assignments for the class focus on designing, implementing, and reflecting on lessons and activities for their School Overnight Program teaching practice.


Second, this class is community-led with a variety of deep-dive topics during the grads’ synthesis weeks, when they’re not teaching. While I am the instructor of record, each week we had a different focus, led by a host of other in-house and visiting scholars and educators. Our deep dive topics included: foundations of outdoor learning with IslandWood Director of Youth and Family Programs, Ray Cramer; Gender Inclusive STEM with Dr. Veronica McGowan; Art, Making, & Interdisciplinarity with artist Perrin Teal Sullivan; and Games and Play Pedagogy with Dr. Charlene Montano Nolan.


During class we review educator frameworks from the Learning in Places project and STEM Teaching Tools, and explore other media related to the focal topic.


Does the course involve any projects?

Yes! There are two main projects in the class. The first is to design a lesson plan for teaching the School Overnight Program and the second is to design a curricular arc for a 4-day School Overnight Program week. For their final product, grads shared their curricular designs at our fall colloquium!



Learn more about our graduate program, in partnership with the University of Washington, here!


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