This post is part of our Walk This Way series, designed to share The Walking Classroom experiences of teachers and students across the United States. This post provides a glimpse into Kathie Yonemura’s class.
Spring . . . the time of year when the school year feels never-ending. Teachers are tired and kids often start regressing in behaviors. Spending time outdoors walking and listening to The Walking Classroom podcasts is a lifesaver! Each podcast begins with a health or character lesson woven naturally into the conversation between the students leading the lesson.
Personal Space and Boundaries
We have had some issues with certain students not respecting others’ personal space. What perfect timing to listen to a podcast about America’s poet, Carl Sandburg (Combined-#35, 4-#24) as we gear up for April (National Poetry Month!). In this podcast, the first few minutes are all about boundaries!
During the lesson, the podcast kids gave (often humorous) examples of physical and emotional boundaries. This resonated with so many of my students and elicited a lively discussion when we returned to class. All of them know they’re supposed to keep hands, feet, and body parts to themselves, and they related this to giving each other personal space. But the concept of non-physical boundaries; saying no or standing up for ourselves added a new perspective. This podcast made it easier to discuss friendship issues such as peer pressure, gossip, and tattling.
Bringing up Bullying
While learning about literary devices, we listened to First Person vs. Third Person (Combined-#19, 4-#44). This podcast began with the kids talking about bullying; again, the perfect connection to relationship conflicts that were happening on the yard! Not only did this podcast share tips for preventing bullying, such as speaking up by talking to an adult, but the podcast kids also did a great job discussing different types of bullying.
This linked back to the earlier podcast, which addressed setting physical and emotional boundaries. My students all understand physical bullying and they are more likely to report someone getting hurt. But more damaging is verbal and emotional bullying. Again, this podcast led to meaningful discussions (and many more conversations!) about speaking up for yourself and standing up for others. Of course, this led to additional dialogue about cyber-bullying.
Character Lessons Continue!
Teaching students character lessons is never just a one-time lesson, but on-going throughout the year. The Walking Classroom provides another avenue for these discussions!
Fourth Grade Teacher
Hesby Oaks Leadership Charter School