Our First Guest Blogger — So Exciting!!!
We are thrilled to welcome our first guest blogger, Stephanie Moorman. Stephanie is an amazing 5th grade teacher in California, and she has incorporated The Walking Classroom into her instruction for the last three years. We asked her to share how she fits it all in — enjoy!
Fitting It All In
When I first heard about The Walking Classroom a few years ago, I was crazy excited about it. I loved the idea of getting kids up and moving while still learning those all important standards. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the Walkits and move.
But when the kits came, I found that my excitement, though bubbling over, was hindered by a simple one syllable word — TIME.
There are just so many things that we, as classroom teachers, need to fit into our day that trying to squeeze one more in was proving to be a bit challenging at first. However, as the year went on, I was able to get into a groove that worked for me. So I thought I would share three tips I found particularly helpful when integrating The Walking Classroom into my schedule.
1. Plan it.
I know, I know. Duh. If you plan it, it will happen. Well, that isn’t always the case. I know I write things down in my plan book that don’t always come to fruition. So with The Walking Classroom, I make sure that my plan is written in pen and non-negotiable. I have worked my schedule so that twice a week, no fail, we go out on a walk. It becomes a sacred time that the kids look forward to and expect. Since they expect it, it becomes something that we do. There is no switching things around or putting it off. It just is.
I have tried hard to not only teach the skills in the actual Walking Classroom lesson but also to integrate it into social studies. When the kids walk, they tally their laps. Those laps then
help us “walk around the United States”. The more we walk, the farther we get on the map. Then we learn about the states as we go. The kids add up their own laps, figuring out how many actual miles (and fractions of a mile) they have walked, integrating our walks into math standards. Any little way I can find to integrate the podcasts and walks into our standards, I do!
3. Create Routine.
I have found that creating a routine around my Walking Classroom time has allowed the students to get to it faster and with less downtime. When our time starts, the students take out their kits, check the battery, find the podcast, get out their tally card, and sit down silently. I then dismiss them to the yard to start their walk. There is no side talking. There is no dilly dallying. We practiced this over and over and over again, until it became routine. The kids know what to do, they know how to do it, and they are now very efficient with our time.
I know that this was nothing mind-blowing, but honestly, these three things have helped me to work The Walking Classroom seamlessly into my schedule.
Thanks for sharing this. My biggest struggle right now is also TIME. We are on a 4 day week and are departmentalized, so I teach ELA 3 times a day for 50 minutes. Makes it very difficult to fit a walk in. Your idea about not wasting time was very helpful. This is definitely something we need to work on so we can walk more!