I absolutely love The Walking Classroom, and my students do too! I find that once you start the process and teach students the procedure for walks, the students want more of it. It’s also important to be consistent.
Make sure you set specific days of the week to use The Walking Classroom, and stick to that. I personally like Tuesday and Thursdays, with a quick follow-up on Friday if needed. However, depending on the class needs, a Tuesday through Thursday could work too.
Just make sure that you set aside a consistent block of time two to three times per week. A hidden benefit of students knowing which days are Walking Classroom days? The students tend to make better shoe choices!
Furthermore, I usually have students listen to a podcast more than once. As a classroom strategy for reading, we need to go over something more than once. Usually the first time we focus on the gist, and then the second read we look for meaning. I feel that I can reinforce this strategy by using the podcast more than once for listening. You can also ask students what new information they learned from the second listen.
The podcasts that I choose tie in some way to the materials that we plan to cover that week or to preview or provide background knowledge for a topic that will come up the following week. The additional resources provided by The Walking Classroom help as well! I love the materials included on the teacher resource page of the website.
A few helpful tips:
- Slow down the playback speed for students on the first listen. Then, on the second listen, the podcasts can be played at the normal speed. Slower playback speeds help English language learners hear all the words and allow them to make meaning of the content.
- Change leaders after two or three weeks. Everyone wants the chance to be the “pace car”!
- Take lots of pictures and share with families using Class Dojo or Remind. This helps to open parent/student conversations at home. Additionally, then when you need water, batteries, and /or snacks for your walking days, parents are very supportive because they know about the program!