Even as the summer doldrums set in, it’s important to keep moving! After all, exercise is good for the body, mood, and mind. So once you’ve walked, listened, and learned, keep your crew active by mixing in more movement.
Some Simple Solutions . . . Snowballs in Summer?
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 . . .
Stay Standing . . . or Make a Move!
Two potential possibilities for you to try out a time or two are “Four Corners” and “Stand If”. “Four Corners” keeps your kids’ bodies (and mouths!) moving. You can even use it to quickly quiz them, labelling your corners with multiple choice letters!
“Stand If” can similarly 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!
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 they can summarize what’s been said!
Crowd-Pleasing Projects and Engaging Experiments
What more can you do? The possibilities abound! Listening to a science podcast? Extend the lesson with an experiment. Learning about Renaissance artists? Combine your podcast with a creative activity! Have your kids compose mini-posters illustrating each podcast to which you’ve listened and display them on a clothesline that spans the space. It will help them keep the content in mind by keeping it in view!
Games, Models, and Manipulatives
Rainy day? Hands-on is always a hit. From a simple beach ball activity the day after the walk to the incorporation of other options, it’s always great to mix things up!
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!
Take These Tips to the . . . Classroom!
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.