With the school year well underway, most folks have established basic classroom procedures and organizational schemes, and things are chugging right along. Not always! Sometimes the best-laid plans go awry as even well-prepared teachers occasionally hit a bump in the road.
Maybe you’re facing challenges in your organization of your Walking Classroom materials. Perhaps you’re struggling to maintain a consistent routine in your implementation of the program. In either case, have no fear! You are sure to find some simple solutions among the tried and true tips we have gathered here!
Labeling Your Devices
Numbering your devices and assigning a specific number to each student is especially helpful. It encourages students to take responsibility for the materials, and it also makes it much easier to distribute supplies when you’re ready to walk and collect them when you’re done.
Taking the time to label those headphones by name or number can be beneficial too. Some folks fold a small piece of electrical tape in half around the wire and write the identifying information (students’ first name and last initial or a number) on it. Others individually label small snack-size Ziploc bags with students’ names or numbers for easy identification.
Like to keep your WalkKits in their cases? Clear storage containers are an option favored by many folks. If you don’t choose to keep the devices in their cases, you can use a standard pocket chart or an over-the-door shoe rack, labeling the pockets using a permanent marker.
Prefer a portable option? A popular solution for stowing a class set of WalkKits is the Stanley Sort Master, a sturdy plastic box with adjustable compartments. It happens to be our storage method of choice for shared sets, as it allows for easy transport from classroom to classroom.
Speaking of shared sets, if multiple students use the same device, each student can keep his or her individual set of earbuds in a Ziploc bag labeled with the student’s name and device number. These bags can then be safely stored inside the student’s desk or cubby.
A weak battery can waylay an otherwise well-planned lesson. Some battery-specific tips include the following:
• Have students check battery status before starting to ensure there is plenty of power for that podcast!
• Walk with a few extra batteries in your pocket … just in case there are issues during your walk. If there are, simply exchange your WalkKit with the student’s (remember to swap out the headphones for hygiene purposes!) so that he or she can proceed with the podcast while you remedy the situation.
• Even better, invest in a battery charger and take advantage of rechargeable batteries! Many teachers are currently making use of these with positive (pun-intended!) results.
Keeping it Clear
Be sure to identify the lesson first so that your students can cue up the correct podcast. Then remind them not to press play until you give the okay! Once students are in line and ready to proceed, they should check the podcast number of the closest peer. Lining up in pairs makes this easy!
Get Set to Start!
As you are heading out the door, a last-minute check can be a big help. This can be spoken by the teacher or by one of the students. In fact, since students are always eager to have a role in class activities, it might be a good idea to include a conductor (along with your pace cars and caboose) in your Walking Classroom-related jobs!
Once everyone is lined up and ready to go, the conductor could call out the following, allowing time for the class to respond to each question with a simple silent thumbs-up.
• Podcast number ___.
• Podcast cued?
• Battery checked?
• Shoes safe?
• Ready, Set, Walk!