It has been a while since I’ve had the chance to stop by a school for a stroll, so I was happy to make a site visit locally, to Jessica Campton and her third grade students at Forest View Elementary. While the sky looked a little ominous, with rain in the forecast, I kept my fingers crossed we’d get our walk in. It’s always fun to hit the trail with a class!
The School’s Story
One of Durham Public Schools’ more than 30 elementary schools, Forest View Elementary cites a mission “to help students grow intellectually, socially and emotionally as they become creative, confident problem solvers prepared for global citizenship.” And they’re well on their way, as the school’s 700+ students represent over 40 countries!
Forest View is a Science Focus school, and its location provides plenty of outdoor space to explore and, of course, to walk, listen, and learn! Led by its principal Felicia Sledge, the school serves students in grades K-5.
Ms. Campton is in her first year using The Walking Classroom at Forest View Elementary. She received her class set of Complete Program materials through a grant funded by the bioMérieux Endowment Fund in August of 2022.
I arrived a bit before our planned 8:00 a.m. walk, parked outside the school, and easily found my way in to the school office. There I was greeted by a friendly staff member, after which I signed in. With my visitor’s badge firmly adhered, I waited a few minutes for Ms. Campton to lead the way to her classroom.
Once inside, I quickly said hello to the students, then went back to the office to wait for the representatives from bioMérieux and Healthier Generation, who would be joining us for the walk. When we returned to the classroom, we had a few minutes for brief introductions, and then it was time to get ready for the day’s podcast.
Preview, Walk, and . . .
Connecting the day’s podcast with their recent classroom study of Australia, Ms. Campton introduced Marine Life (5-#76, STEM-#34, Combined-#142) 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 she called the students to get their WalkKits, while I distributed WalkKits and earbuds to the others.
The students were ready to walk, and so were we! I pulled my earbuds from my pocket and connected them to my WalkKit as we headed out of the classroom. We walked down the hall and around the corner to the school’s main entrance, and started the podcast under slightly gray skies.
The student serving as “pace car” led us as we walked several large loops down the sidewalk, past a playground, and up some steps (a little extra workout there!), and the “caboose” made sure no one lagged behind. Just as we were finishing the podcast, we felt a few sprinkles, so the students quickly formed a line to return to the classroom. Based on my step tracker, we had covered more than 1.4 miles during the 15-minute podcast!
Ready for a Recap
Following the walk, the students returned to the classroom. They sat down and quickly shared among their table partners what they had learned from the podcast.
After allowing them this time to share with one another, Ms. Campton led the students in a large group discussion where they summarized the “big ideas” from the podcast. They then reviewed the PowerPoint recap to ensure they hadn’t missed anything. They had not!
To close the lesson, Ms. Campton had the students pair up to complete a Seesaw activity online using questions from the comprehension quiz provided by The Walking Classroom. Having been great listeners, many pairs earned perfect scores! Pretty impressive!
Time to Hit the Trail!
The students were eager to learn more about The Walking Classroom (and the other guests!), so we spent the remaining time answering their questions. After sharing some parting gifts, it was “Happy Trails” for myself and the others, so the students could resume their school day!