The Walking Classroom has become an integral part of my seventh grade classroom. I am a firm believer that students who make connections throughout their day take ownership of their learning. Why? Because they are able to understand the material that is being taught not just in one class, but several classes.
How do I help ensure that connections are made? I ask the science and social studies teachers what they are teaching the students that particular nine weeks. Then I make sure that the podcasts that are related to their other content areas are the podcasts on which we focus. I also incorporate other texts that are relatable to the podcasts. Connection is key!
I do not give the students a quiz on each podcast. Instead, I use a variety of assessment strategies. I might use plickers, which help provide instant feedback and allow for discussion. Another way that I provide “assessment” is to have students do an exit ticket as they go out the door. On the exit ticket, they are asked to write down three things they learned, two questions they still have, and one connection they can make, either from another lesson from science or social studies or a connection to something in their own lives. Also, I might have my students draw two scenes (using half a sheet of paper) that they visualized in their heads while they were walking.
My class and I absolutely love The Walking Classroom! The students really consider themselves very fortunate for being the first group of seventh graders to use this program at our school and one of very few classes in our wonderful state!
Belen Middle School