Thankfully, I was greeted by a second day of southern California sunshine for my next site visit. I set off on a thirty minute drive, heading west to Torrance. There I was to visit a relatively new adopter, Lorena Strong, and her fifth grade class at Meyler Street Elementary. Ms. Strong is nearing the end of her first year implementing The Walking Classroom, having received her class set in August of 2016.
Making My Way to Meyler Street
I arrived at the school about ten minutes before our scheduled 11:00 a.m. walk, parked my car in an enclosed parking area, then stopped by the office to sign in. Ms. Strong came by and guided me to her classroom, which was a short walk across an enclosed area and up a set of stairs. Several boys came up early and I had a few minutes to spoke with them while Ms. Strong went to gather the rest of the class. We were discussing Mount Everest when the rest of the class arrived.
The Podcast Path
Once all of the students were in the classroom, Ms. Strong gave a quick reminder about “Currents and Tides” (5-#77, Combined-#141), the podcast to which they would be listening. Then the class talked briefly about recent topics they had been discussing that had to do with marine life. When it was time to walk, the students were ready quickly. They picked up their WalkKits and earbuds, so we could head outside.
We went down the stairs and stayed in a group. The walk took us on a prescribed path around the courtyard and between buildings on one corner of the fenced in campus. We circled three times before the podcast was complete, heading up the stairs, then back into the classroom for our follow-up discussion.
What Came Next?
The students safely stowed their WalkKits and returned to their seats, where they shared with each other what they had learned prior to sharing as a class. Ms. Strong let the students know that they would likely have another listen to this podcast. She had earlier shared with me that for her class of ELD (English Literacy Development) students, she sometimes connects a WalkKit to a speaker to have a second group listen, thereby allowing the opportunity to pause and revisit new vocabulary or tricky turns of phrase.
Following this, we had some time for me to share a little bit about The Walking Classroom and answer their questions. And there were questions! A number of them focused on my travel to California from North Carolina. Thankfully, there was a map handy to remind me of the names of the states I had flown over!
A Bit about Meyler Street
Part of the Los Angeles Unified School District, Meyler Street Elementary is an authorized International Baccalaureate (IB) World School! The International Baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable, and caring young people in order to help create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.
Led by principal Louis Carrillo, Meyler Street also offers a Dual Language (Spanish) Program, as well as a School for Advanced Studies, with a focus in technology, for its gifted and high-achieving students.
. . . Back on the Road
A glance at the time reminded me that I would soon have to hit the trail for the half-hour drive north to my next visit. I quickly got in several group photos and a video message from Ms. Strong and her students to The Walking Classroom’s creator Laura Fenn, before distributing some Walking Classroom goodies for the group, and then I was on the road again!