I LOVE the Walking Classroom! Here in Illinois, we have just been able to walk outside again, but we have been walking in the building all winter. Each year, I feel like I get better at using the Walking Classroom and integrating it into my curriculum.
I teach 5th and 6th grade ESL students — from newcomers to those who were born here, but need ESL support. My students are from many different countries and speak many different first languages. Here is how I have been using the Walking Classroom this year.
On Friday, after the kids leave, I update my Walking Classroom bulletin board for the following week. I have a spot for the podcast number, and places for the title and several vocabulary words. I take the vocabulary words from the lesson plan and quiz provided, or add words I think will be important for my students to understand.
Beginning on Monday, I introduce the topic and the vocabulary words. The best way I have found to do this is through a video to support the topic, either from The Walking Classroom’s Adopter Resources page, or one that I search up and preview on youtube. This helps to give my kids some background knowledge and helps introduce some of the vocabulary words as well. Then I discuss with them what they have seen.
Tuesday is usually our first day to walk due to scheduling (at least this year!). Again, I review the vocabulary before our walk and remind them of the topic. After the walk, we spend some time talking about what we have learned and what we remember.
This year, I am only able to do two days of Walking Classroom, so the second day is either Thursday or Friday. On the second day, I begin by having my students at their desks/tables and passing out the quiz.
I read through the quiz, question by question, and have them choose their best answer from what they remember. After we walk, they will have a chance to change any answers they want to, but now they know what to listen for. My students have been better second-time listeners using this strategy and have a higher final score.
When we come back from walking, I read through all of the questions again and let them change any answers they want to. If I want to use it as an assessment, I collect them and grade them myself. Otherwise, I read the questions a third time and let students answer aloud and grade their own quizzes.
The Walking Classroom has been one of the best things for my kids!
5th/6th Grade Teacher