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.
The school year always begins with my new fourth graders eagerly asking, “When are we going to get to walk with the WalkKits?” They’ve watched my former students briskly walk by their third-grade classrooms a couple of times a week, all year long: Walk Kits hanging around their necks, headphones on or earbuds in. This is my fourth year using The Walking Classroom program. I will never go back to teaching indoors all day again!
Introducing the Program
The Walking Classroom provides wonderful teacher support materials, including a PowerPoint for the first few days. These lessons introduce the importance of physical exercise and its effect on the brain. Students learn about their heart rate, as well as the basic safety rules, and also get to familiarize themselves with the Walk Kits.
Fitting It In
Trying to fit one more thing into our already seemingly short school day was one of the biggest challenges. However, The Walking Classroom counts toward our 100 required minutes of PE per week. The range of topics allows me to choose podcasts that fit into my curriculum. As one of my students acknowledged, “We’re walking, we’re outside, and we’re learning. You can’t get better than that!”
Managing the Materials
In order to use our time effectively, I’ve developed a management system. I label each WalkKit with a student number. Not only can we spot which WalkKit belongs to whom, it also eliminates having to write new student names each year.
Students practice turning their WalkKits on and off, as well as how to wrap the lanyard around the WalkKit to store. Wrapped WalkKits are stored in numbered slots in a plastic case. It is easy to check and see if all the devices are returned.
Happy, Healthy and Knowledgeable!
Aligned with the Common Core State Standards, the podcasts elicit wonderful class discussions. My students and families are so enthusiastic about The Walking Classroom that my principal tells all the other district principals about the program!
Walking and learning can fit into any 20-minute time slot during the school day. The results? Happy, healthy, and knowledgeable kids and a happy and healthy teacher too!
Fourth Grade Teacher
Hesby Oaks Leadership Charter School