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 Kari Lawson’s class.
Click here to read all of Kari’s articles.
The health lessons are an integral part of The Walking Classroom podcasts, since keeping kids healthy is a major focus of the program. The health tips include a variety of both physical and mental health topics, which are beneficial to all of our students.
Many of the topics deal with physical health, such as the benefits of exercise and making good food choices. When discussing the health ideas after a walk, my students get excited about sharing their personal connections. Students will often refer back to health tips when playing on the playground or making lunch choices at school. They are eager to share health tips with family members, too!
. . . and Mental Health Too!
The mental health topics are always timely, as well. Topics such as sharing feelings with others, personal boundaries, and recognizing personal strengths and weaknesses lead to excellent classroom discussions. The students and I can refer back to specific situations in our own classroom to really make those lessons stick when dealing with peers. The Walking Classroom is a natural springboard for great health discussions in our classroom!
Educational Engagement . . .
As for engaging students, The Walking Classroom is one of my favorite programs to get students thrilled about learning! I always look forward to our walking days and the students do, too. If our schedule varies during the week and our regular walk time is interrupted, they are always disappointed and want to know when we’ll “make up” the missed walk. They always get excited to go on our walk, especially when the weather cooperates and we can get outside!
. . . and Engaging Others!
Our walks set us apart from other classrooms and students always walk with a little extra pride when we pass by another class in the hallway (on indoor walks). Older students look at them longingly, remembering their own walking experiences, while younger kids look at them with awe, wondering what the “big kids” are doing. Sometimes adults in the hallway will ask what we’re learning about that day. Occasionally, we’ll get waves and hugs from younger siblings as we pass!
This week, we’ll even get the chance to “mentor” a third grade class at another school in our district. They just got their set of Walking Classroom materials, and the teacher wants to bring her students over so my class can show her how we do a typical walk. I love sharing The Walking Classroom with other teachers, and I’m so excited my students feel pride in the program, too!
Fourth Grade Teacher