Noteboom outside class

English teacher Nan Noteboom holds fifth period Writing 122 to seniors in the outside classroom space she created.

Hood River Valley High School English teacher Nan Noteboom has created a “COVID-safer” learning environment for students by moving her classroom outside.

Outdoor classroom

Pictured above are Mia Rivera, Jacqueline Elias, Adriana Trejo, and Yearbook Editor Sophia Kaden in the outdoor lounge area Nan Noteboom created for students.

Last spring, her classroom was moved to the portables, and this spring, as district staff began to plan for the return of school, she replaced all of her tables — which were too close together — with desks that could be separated. “I had gotten the tables off the discard pile anyway, so I had them set up south of the portables building, near the track; they stay outside all the time,” she said. Using a portable whiteboard and a tripod for her computer so she can livestream or use Google Classroom to project lessons, she takes turns using the outdoor classroom with fellow English teacher Hunter Scholtz. She also created a courtyard area for kids to use, putting out plants, bird feeders, a bird bath and a squirrel feeder. “There’s plenty of nature as well — the FFA lamb regularly chimes in on our class discussions,” Noteboom said, and Mount Hood is also visible.