In June 2018 when granted a set of Walking Classroom materials, my role changed from fourth grade teacher to AIG facilitator for our school. I wondered how The Walking Classroom would fit in with this new role. Little did I know then that this resource was exactly what I needed!
Recently, during a brainstorming session with students, I learned many had developed an appreciation for what I love about the Walking Classroom: equity through personalization.
What does that sound like in the language of fourth and fifth graders?
- “I really like having my own device, it makes me feel special.”
- “Being able to rewind and fast forward helps in case a plane flies by.” (Disclaimer: Our school is in the RDU flight path.)
- “I like that when it finishes, I can repeat it because on the second time I can try to remember the words from the first time.”
- “Sometimes if I get confused, I can rewind one or two minutes and try again.”
- “I get my own headphones, so only I can listen to the device on my pace.”
As an enrichment specialist, I work with all fourth and fifth graders as part of their specials rotation. In class after class, the above comments were repeated. Students voiced an appreciation for personalization that had not come up through our content-specific lessons.
Then I realized the program had come full circle. After all, it was this potential for personalization that had originally interested me in The Walking Classroom as a resource!
With The Walking Classroom, every student has a device. More importantly, every student has the power to use the device in a way that best works for him/her. Because of this, students control the pacing of their learning. Providing students with voice and choice in their learning contributes to the greater social/emotional needs and goals offered through The Walking Classroom.
The equity this resource provides directly aligns with the primary motivation behind the Enrichment special. This special is designed to provide access to ALL students in crosscutting concepts and ideas that span the curriculum.
While differentiating for gifted students, I wanted to find ways to allow ALL students access to higher level learning and thinking opportunities. I hoped that this special would provide students skills that could be applied across the curriculum, thus enabling higher levels of understanding and application.
Using The Walking Classroom as part of the specials rotation has done that! This wonderful resource has provided both a philosophical match and a content match. It brings equity to the learning experience AND it covers what I am responsible for teaching!
Cedar Fork Elementary