Sometimes a brisk walk is not enough, and you need to keep your crew’s bodies busy. After all, adolescents are energetic, and physical movement is a must! So, what’s the solution? Add in some additional activity, and increase engagement! After all, the more engaged kids are, the more likely they are to remember what they have learned!
Bring “Snowballs” Inside!
As you engage in your follow-up discussion, break it up with some simple movement. Write your discussion questions on individual sheets of paper. Crumple the paper into “snowballs” and toss a question at one of your kids, who opens the paper, answers the question and tosses it back to you, or to another student. Open-ended questions are especially great for this activity.
- Today’s character value is important because . . .
- Today’s health message made me think about . . .
- One more thing I would like to know about today’s podcast is . . .
- Today’s podcast connects to what I know about . . .
- I felt ____ when I learned about ____ because . . .
- Today’s podcast taught me . . .
“Stand If” can be used to informally assess your crew’s understanding of podcast content. Rethink your discussion content-based questions slightly, so that the answer choices would be “yes” and “no” only. Then let the students know they should stand if “yes” and sit if “no” and proceed.
Warning: It could be an adventure if their sitting option does not have chairs available—make sure they space themselves, so you don’t end up with a people pile!
Another take on “Stand If”, especially great for open-ended questions inciting opinions, would be to create a kind of human thermometer. Using masking tape, mark a line on the floor, with brightly colored cards at either end, one labeled “strongly agree” and the other labeled “strongly disagree” (or make signs with two statements of differing opinions), and have the students place themselves where their opinion falls on the continuum.
Statements to use for this additional activity might be things like the following:
- It is important to be different. – Carl Sandburg (4-#24, Complete-#35)
- You should approach things with patience and take your time.
You should approach things boldly and confidently. – Hot Springs and Geysers (4-#73, STEM-#18, Complete-#137)
- Strong ambition can be good.
Strong ambition can be bad. – The Gold Rush (5-#43, Complete-#108)
- Failure is an important part of success. – Thomas Edison (5-#16, Complete-#162, STEM-#9)
Allow each to share his or her perspective. Maybe even allow slight shifting as they listen to what others have to say. When you are done, take a few moments so that students can summarize what’s been said!
Games, Models, and Manipulatives
Rainy day? Hands-on is always a hit. From a simple beach ball activity after the walk to the incorporation of other options, it’s always great to mix things up!
Why not sit your students in a circle and test their memory? Go around the circle recounting vocabulary and facts from the podcast until the participants run out of steam . . . or information to share! Or try a Twenty Questions game to remind your students of previous podcast topics.
Looking for yet another additional activity? It might also be fun to play a bit of baseball. Split your group into two teams and establish two baseball diamonds, making the bases with construction paper, throw pillows, you name it! Then ask questions about the podcast, and, as they answer correctly, have them advance. The team with the most points when you run out of questions (or the first team to earn a run!) is the winner!
These Tips Transition to the Classroom Too!
It’s easy to incorporate these ideas in the classroom as well. Beyond those mentioned above, there are plenty of other ways to stay active post-walk. And if you’re looking for a resource to keep close by, check out Active Learning in the Middle Grades Classroom, for an array of activities to keep those middle grades (and beyond!) moving.