There are many benefits to implementing The Walking Classroom. One is that students have an opportunity to learn outdoors! Of course, this rare opportunity to enjoy the fresh air and nature around them can also be somewhat distracting. Despite that potential, we often hear that while students might initially have difficulty paying attention outdoors, once the novelty passes, they are able to focus on the podcast and retain what they are hearing!
It takes time for your students’ listening skills to improve. Listening comprehension takes some practice, but is truly an invaluable skill for students to develop. You may find your students benefit from some additional support as they work to improve their listening skills. Here are a few easy to implement tips.
Activate Background Knowledge
It’s much easier for students to understand and retain what they are hearing when it can be connected to something they already know. Your students are bound to learn some new things when they listen to a podcast, but they most likely already have some knowledge, even if it’s limited, about the topic.
The Teacher’s Guide will help you to activate students’ background knowledge before they walk. Just follow these basic steps.
- Read the Synopsis aloud to students.
- Review the provided vocabulary in step 1 of the Procedure.
- Be sure to ask the question and share the podcast preview in steps 2 and 4 of the Procedure.
Preview the Quiz before Walking
Even if you don’t plan to assess your students by giving the quiz, exposing them to the quiz questions is helpful. Not only is it another way to quickly activate background knowledge, it also gives them something to listen for! If you are giving students the quiz following the walk, showing the questions in advance will also help alleviate anxiety about the post-walk assessment.
Check-In Midway Through the Walk
Have a halfway point in your walk where students know they are going to pause for a moment to check on their comprehension of the podcast. You could ask the same question every time, such as, “tell your neighbor a summary of what you have heard so far,” or you could create a question based on the podcast. Looking for a quick and easy option? Use one of the comprehension quiz questions as the midway check-in!
One of our adopters shared that she creates a bonus question which she adds to the comprehension quiz for her students. She selects something they would really have to be listening for to catch! If the students answer correctly, they get a bonus point on that quiz! This is not only a great idea; it’s also another great way to help students focus their minds and improve their listening!