Fridays in late fall can occasionally pose problems in the classroom, what with holidays popping into the picture. How do you keep your students active and engaged? One simple solution is to plan a Fun Choice Friday, incorporating The Walking Classroom.
For starters, strategically select five distinct podcasts that you know you’re not likely to use in class over the course of the year. You could select five that fall in the same content area, or you could shoot for a more varied selection. For variety, some good choices from Program 4 and Program 5 might include the following:
Tornadoes (4-#31, Combined-#149)
Ogden Nash (4-#40, Combined-#36)
“Yankee Doodle” (4-#57, Combined-#68)
Volcanoes (4-#76, Combined-#138)
Castles of the Middle Ages (4-#83, Combined-#47)
Oxford English Dictionary (5-#14, Combined-#10)
Women of the Civil War (5-#49, Combined-#80)
Deserts of the World (5-#73, Combined-#139)
Neil Armstrong (5-#82, Combined-#152)
Money (5-#95, Combined-#114)
Door #1, Door #2 … Which is the Choice for You?
Present your students with the options. It might be fun to welcome them to the idea with a bulletin board display that includes five construction paper “doors” numbered “1” through “5” with one podcast number (and/or title … but remember, students do enjoy the element of mystery!) behind each door. Helpful hint: Using a post-it for the behind-the-door information might be beneficial, as you (and/or your students) may want to make Fun Choice Friday a monthly occurrence, and you don’t want to have to recreate your whole display every time! While students are doing independent work, allow them to get up one at a time and “choose” a door to open. The podcast number that is then revealed to the student will be the one to which the student listens.
Speaking of Door #2
Following the approach above, allow your students to select a door in the same way. Only this time, have one podcast number and vocabulary terms significant to the podcast (again … students do enjoy that element of mystery!) behind the door. Group the students who have made the same selection and have them see if they can guess the podcast topic based on the vocabulary terms before they start. Failsafe follow-up: A post-podcast chat may include discussing whether or not their hypothesis was correct!
No Doors Here!
An even simpler approach would be to write the podcast numbers and key vocabulary on five anchor charts prominently displayed at students’ eye level and within their reach. Before you walk, have students self-select podcasts and group themselves for a pre-listening discussion to hypothesize just what they think the podcast topic will be.
You know the drill. No matter which of the above approaches you chose, the next step is the same. Let your students walk, listen, and learn! Then allow time for small group discussion and completion of a summary sheet (or their anchor chart), which students will then have handy to guide them as they share their newfound knowledge later that day or even the next Friday. After all, why not follow Fun Choice Friday with Follow-Up Friday? Another option is to incorporate the jigsaw strategy, or finish with a follow-up of your own choosing. After all, Fun Choice Friday should allow you the chance to make a choice too!
This is a fantastic idea!! I think the students would love to have a chance to pick their own podcast to listen to. It gives them more of a buy in to the program. I’m definitely going to start this!
Chas Reed says
This is awesome! You are getting them to learn on their own terms! Getting them choice also opens the door to further research on the subject….and them sharing with one another their different findings!
Tricia Torres says
I would like to try the mystery doors. I think sometime the students get bored when the routine stays the same over time. This will still ensure that they are learning, but they will have a little fun. I think it also requires students to be more accountable for their learning, since there will be fewer students completing the podcast.