My school is a Title I, high poverty, trauma-informed school in Virginia. I teach a total of 29 second graders, departmentalized by subject area, and I have 15 second graders in my homeroom here in Southwest Virginia. My second graders began using The Walking Classroom in October 2019.
As we began The Walking Classroom, I led the walk each time while the other second grade teacher served as the “caboose” bringing up the rear. We set a goal for the year to walk a minimum of one million steps. Each time the students and I listened to a Walking Classroom podcast we tracked our steps after taking a comprehension quiz on the podcast.
By Christmas, we had walked over 80,000 steps. Along the way, we had listened to podcasts like The Ocean Floor (5-#75, STEM-#27, Complete-#143), Similes and Metaphors (4-#11, 5-#72, Complete-#4), “Star-Spangled Banner” (5-#64, Complete-#74), and many more.
My second graders especially enjoyed listening to The Ocean Floor. We even discovered we had walked enough steps to reach the ocean floor to visit with some of the strangest fish, both known and unknown.
As we returned from our Christmas break, we had a three week adjustment period to help us refocus on the proper way to walk, care for, and listen attentively to the podcasts. During the month of January, the students thoroughly enjoyed listening to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (4-#64, Complete-#123). Several commented that they did not understand why people were so mean to him.
Then, during the month of February, the students had a list of influential African Americans to choose from during each walk. The students learned a lot from the following podcasts.
- Harriet Tubman (5-#50, Complete-#79)
- George Washington Carver (5-#29, STEM-#35, Complete-#158)
- Rosa Parks (4-#65, Complete-#124)
- Abraham Lincoln (5-#54, Complete-#83)
- Negro Baseball League (5-#4, Complete-#121)
- Barack Obama (4-#12, Complete-#125)
- Sojourner Truth (5-#51, Complete-#81)
They really enjoyed being able to tie these into their learning in both reading and social studies. The podcast on Harriet Tubman even inspired one student to complete her research project on this brave and kind woman! These were the most meaningful podcasts they had heard all year.
Thank you for this great opportunity for my second graders!
Second Grade Teacher
Highland View Elementary