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 Paula Venable’s class.
Last month we talked about ways we listen and learn with The Walking Classroom. What better way to check our understanding after a walk than to play a game! I find that any time we “game-ify” anything in our classroom, the engagement goes up.
To add to the fun, we have a Harry Potter themed classroom, and each week teams receive points during our game time. The team with the most points wins the Tri-Wizard Walking Cup, which they keep at their table for the month. This fun “extra” builds excitement!
So what kind of games do we play and how might you consider making games a part of your walks? First, keep it simple. We have three games we play and each needs just minimal materials!
Up the Ladder
First, we play Up the Ladder. The game board is quite simple, and all teams play at the same time. There are four point values. The higher the point value, the more challenging the question. Each team has one whiteboard and a pen. A point value is randomly selected, and I read a question. (I often use questions from The Walking Classroom quizzes, or form them as I listen to the podcast myself).
Once I ask the question, students put their heads together and record an answer on their whiteboard. After a few minutes, all whiteboards go up in the air for an “air-share”, and we discuss the answer. If a team gets the question correct, they get the points. We usually play three rounds of Up the Ladder.
Letter Me This
Want another fun game? Try Letter Me This. For this game, I simply have a deck of cards with a letter of the alphabet on each card. Again, teams use their whiteboards and pens to record team answers. After our walk, I draw a letter from the deck. Students need to come up with as many words/terms that begin with the letter selected that relate to the podcast.
For example, last week we listened to the Myths, Legends, and Lore podcast (Combined-#39, 4-#66). I drew an “M”, and one team recorded mythology, Midas, mischief. The beauty of this game is the discussion. Because students need to connect their words to the podcast, there is often a lot of laughter, and a variety of connections get made with the podcast and prior knowledge.
After a few minutes, we do a class whip around and teams share their words. For each word that can be logically connected and explained, teams receive a point. The key in the whip around is to keep the conversation moving, so teams need to have a brief, clear explanation and to be ready if questioned.
Go to Your Corner
Finally, a class favorite is Go to Your Corner. Unlike the other two games, students play individually and not for team points. For this game you will need to print four simple signs. They should read: Strongly Agree, Agree, Strongly Disagree, and Disagree.
When we return from our walk, I have three to four prepared statements that relate to the podcast. These statements can have varying opinions. For example, with Myths, Legends, and Lore, I made the statement, “King Midas was a foolish man.” After I read the statement aloud, students move to the corner that matches their opinion. While in the corner, they discuss with partners their reasoning. After a few minutes, groups share their thinking. This often leads to some very animated discussions and interesting questions!
Well, there you have it! Three fresh, fun ways to incorporate games into your Walking Classroom lessons. Knowing that a game is coming, students not only look forward to the walks we take, they also look forward to how we will share what we’ve learned. Let the games begin!
Fourth Grade Teacher
Santiago Hills Elementary