I first heard about The Walking Classroom years ago when I moved up from teaching kindergarten to third grade. I was looking for interesting ways to engage my students and came across The Walking Classroom’s website. I’ll never forget the day I received word that I would receive a class set of WalkKits!
The class I had that first year was PERFECT for starting this new program. I had an incredible group of kiddos. They were as excited as I was to pilot a new program that involved exercise and learning at the same time. I had two students with autism that year, and the program was so beneficial for them as well.
We explored so many science topics, language skills, and social studies lessons through The Walking Classroom. That particular class loved history. Their favorites were probably the podcasts where we learned about events from the past, such as The Underground Railroad (5-#48, Complete-#78) and Trail of Tears (5-#40, Complete-#105).
The next year, I was just getting into using the program and then COVID took over our world. We went home for the remainder of the school year, so I didn’t get to use the program with that year’s class NEAR as much as I’d hoped to.
Beginning the 2020 – 2021 school year, I wasn’t sure how to make The Walking Classroom work. We began the year in a hybrid mode with some students at school on Mondays and Thursdays, and others at school on Tuesdays and Fridays. I also had students tuning in live to our class via Zoom. To say it was crazy is an understatement!
As the school year went on, (thankfully!) we started to see some forms of normalcy return. I was able to use The Walking Classroom with my class in the spring semester. All of my “zoom students” returned to school in-person and everyone was at school daily.
We’d spent an entire year of sitting in individual desks vs. tables, eating lunch in the classroom vs. cafeteria, not sharing any supplies or books, and not being able to work in groups with partners. Being able to get my students outdoors and out of the classroom we’d felt so confined to all year was a true treat for them!
They were so excited to be able to get outside and take their masks off for the walk. Behavior was not a problem at all. They were totally tuned in to the podcasts and the walk itself.
We did a lot of ELA podcasts, like Simile and Metaphor (4-#11, 5-#72, Complete-#4), Idioms (4-#11, 5-#72, Complete-#4), Alliteration and Personification (5-#67, Complete-#5), to go along with our spring poetry unit. We also kept a Walking Classroom journal.
Once we came inside from the walk, we held a quick “2-2-2” session. Students spent two minutes doing a “quick write” jot of points they remembered from the podcast. They then had two minutes sharing with their groups, and two final minutes adding more from the group discussion to their journals.
It was so nice to have this program to implement in the spring. COVID restrictions started to ease up, and the weather was warm enough to get the kids outside more. I am so hopeful for a more “normal” school year in the fall and am excited to be able to use this program with a new group of third graders!
Third Grade Teacher
Pisgah Elementary School
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