As an Instructional Assistant for a fifth grade class using The Walking Classroom, I am primarily assigned to one of our special needs students, who receives the bulk of my attention. However, we do spend several hours a day with the rest of the students. Therefore, I have seen their reactions to this program as well as that of my primary charge. That response has been overwhelmingly positive.
Students always welcome the occasion to escape the confines of their classrooms. Previously, recesses offered one of the few opportunities to do so. Incorporating The Walking Classroom offers them not only that escape into fresh air and movement, but also infuses that time with exposure to content.
The physical activity of the walk, usually through a wooded area close to the school, has an invigorating effect. The students have also repeatedly expressed how much they enjoy the podcasts themselves, no matter what the topic.
In the case of my student with special needs, I have witnessed his very positive response to this program firsthand. One time, for instance, we walked and listened to Neil Armstrong (Complete-#152, 5-#82). The podcast covered Armstrong’s awakening to aviation as a young boy and his dedication to flying and education. Of course, it centered on his accomplishments as an astronaut and particularly his distinction as the first human to set foot on another world.
After we returned to the classroom, the teacher administered a short quiz on the podcast. My student displayed an amazing degree of retention of the material to which he had just been exposed. I only wish more of the work I helped present to him was retained this well, this quickly!
Alpena Public Schools
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