It has been a few months since The Walking Classroom stopped by a school for a stroll, so I was happy to make a site visit to Robbins, North Carolina, while en route to the North Carolina Association of Supervision & Curriculum Development (NC ASCD) conference in Pinehurst earlier this month. There I got a chance to chat and take a walk with Kim Collazo and her fourth and fifth grade STEM students.
A previous adopter of The Walking Classroom as a classroom teacher when she was in the Lee County Schools, Ms. Collazo is currently the K-5 STEM Teacher at Robbins Elementary. One of the fourteen elementary schools in the Moore County Schools, Robbins Elementary serves over 450 students in grades Pre-K through five.
Chatting with the Children
I arrived not too long after the start of the school day and signed in at the school office, where Ms. Collazo was waiting for my arrival. Then we headed down the hallway to the classroom, where a select group of about 15 fifth grade STEM students and I had the chance to talk a little bit about The Walking Classroom and its origins.
The students let me know that they sometimes used their STEM time to walk and listen to podcasts on topics that they would encounter in their science classes. They revealed some of their favorites, which corresponded to topics they covered in science units they had studied.
- Skin (4-#5, STEM-#30, Combined-#126)
- Heart & Circulatory System (4-#6, 5-#31, Combined-#128)
- The Ocean Floor (5-#75, STEM-#27, Combined-#143)
- Rocks of the Earth’s Crust (5-#75, STEM-#17, Combined-#134)
We wrapped up our talk, and they headed back to class as the 15 fourth grade STEM students with whom I would be walking made their way into the room.
With the fourth graders soon to be studying geology in science class, The Walking Classroom provided an especially perfect podcast . . . Geology (5-#74, STEM-#15, Combined-#132)!
Ms. Collazo provided a brief overview of what the students would soon hear and the students hypothesized on what “geology” meant. She then took a few minutes to preview the first five questions of the quiz with her STEM students. They knew what they should listen for, and they were ready to head out the door.
Fording the Field
We were greeted by wonderful walking weather once we exited the building. While the air was a little cool, the sky was blue and clear! Led by the “pace cars” selected before we left the room, we headed past the play area to the large field behind the school.
We walked the length of it and were just turning left when we realized that it was a little muddy, so we’d need to make a mild adjustment! Rather than walking a wide rectangle one time then, we narrowed the circuit, which meant repeating a narrow rectangle about five or six times. The students navigated their new path with nary a misstep, remaining focused on the podcast as they walked, listened, and learned!
The class remained outside for the follow-up discussion, revisiting those first five quiz questions and other key elements aloud. The students were absolutely engaged in the discussion, actively sharing what they had learned. They even offered their own ideas about some geological resources surrounding us!
. . . and Hit the Road!
As the fourth grade STEM students made their way to their next class, I ended my visit to Robbins by having a brief conversation with Ms. Collazo. Then, I left some parting gifts for her (and the students!), and I hit the road.