It’s hard to believe that it’s been a month since my trek to California in mid-October, and my visit to Jennifer Oliger’s fourth grade glass at Edison Elementary! Time sure flies when you’re busy walking, listening, and learning!
The School’s Story
Part of the San Diego Unified School District, Edison Elementary is named after famous inventor (and subject of Walking Classroom podcast 5-#16, STEM-#9, and Combined-#162, in case you were wondering!), Thomas Alva Edison. In addition to being recognized as a 2018 California Distinguished School, Edison Elementary has also been cited as a National Healthy Schools Bronze Awardee by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. Led by Principal Dr. Eileen Moreno, the school serves nearly 550 students in grades K-5.
Ms. Oliger is in her third year using The Walking Classroom at Edison Elementary. She received her class set of Program 4 materials through a grant in August of 2016.
I arrived about fifteen minutes before our planned 9:30 a.m. walk, parked outside the school, and easily found my way into the office. There I was greeted by a friendly staff member, after which I signed in. With my visitor’s badge firmly adhered, I was directed to Ms. Oliger’s classroom. To get there, I left the main building, walked across a courtyard, and up a set of exterior stairs to her classroom on the second floor.
Once inside, I was greeted by Ms. Oliger and her students, who were anxious to learn more about The Walking Classroom. I shared a bit of background, answered several student questions, and then it was time to get ready for the day’s podcast.
Preview, Walk, and . . .
Ms. Oliger introduced the day’s podcast, Human Body’s Slimy Shields (4-#4, STEM-#29, Combined-#127) with the PowerPoint provided in The Walking Classroom’s Adopter Resources. She shared a summary of the podcast content, and the key vocabulary, and then called the students in pairs to get their WalkKits.
They were ready to walk, and so was I! I pulled my earbuds from my pocket, borrowed a spare Program 4 WalkKit, and we left the classroom. We headed out the door, down the stairs, and around the building to a large turf field, some of which was occupied with an outdoor p.e. class. The pace cars led us as we walked several large loops of one end of the field.
As students finished listening to the podcast, they removed their earbuds, and began to gather in the corner of the field, discussing the podcast among themselves. Once everyone had finished, they quickly formed a line to return to the classroom.
Ready for a Recap
Following the walk, the students returned to the classroom. They sat down and quickly paired up to discuss what they had learned. After allowing them this time to share with one another, Ms. Oliger led the students in a large group discussion where they summarized the “big ideas” from the podcast.
Then, Ms. Oliger had them compare the things they’d mentioned with the summary of ideas listed on the PowerPoint. Having been great listeners, they discovered their answers matched the slide point for point! Pretty impressive!
Time to Hit the Trail!
I wrapped up the visit answering some additional questions, then shot a quick video message from Ms. Oliger and her students for The Walking Classroom’s creator, Laura Fenn. After sharing some parting gifts, it was “Happy Trails” for me!