I am an orchestra teacher. After a winter concert, the kids and I are usually pretty exhausted. Creating orchestral music with young middle schoolers is nothing short of a miracle, and I push them hard to get ready for our presentation. With only a few days left to spend together before the beginning of our winter vacation, I decided to try something different. I used The Walking Classroom, a program for which a colleague had written a grant for our school to get.
We walked in the frigid cold. Soon, we realized that with only one lap around the track, our bodies quickly warmed up. It was actually the perfect weather in which to move our bodies. Some kids really took the brisk pace to heart, and others walked in a more relaxed pace. It didn’t matter though because I kept them following the track for ease my first time using the players.
I found that I enjoyed listening myself, and I learned right alongside the kids. As a nature lover, I was really drawn to the podcast about John Muir and his influence on trails and national parks. We decided we want to take a class trip to walk part of the trail some time (I wish!).
Later in class, as we began playing in our method books again, we came across a piece titled “The Muir Woods Trail” and became very excited that we had the background knowledge about John Muir. I wouldn’t have thought that I would ever be able to make a connection between The Walking Classroom and any of the music that we perform, but there you have it! We all were so excited to know something significant about John Muir because of the podcast about him in The Walking Classroom. It was a really neat connection!
Within a few weeks, the kids were able to recall many facts about John Muir, and the music meant more to them because of it. I can’t wait for the two days after our next concert and spring break when I get to take them out and walk again!
I just wanted to let you know that it isn’t just classroom teachers using the WalkKits! Now, when I have to be absent for any reason, The Walking Classroom provides a wonderful activity for a non-music sub to do with my class. The 6th through 8th graders all love it! In fact, my 8th graders think the players are just as cool as my 6th graders do!
Thank you to The Walking Classroom!
Tibbetts Middle School