This post is the second in this year’s Walk This Way series, designed to share The Walking Classroom experiences of teachers and students across the United States. It provides a glimpse into Dawn Rensel’s class.
I simply love this time of year! Nothing beats cool morning walks with 22 eager and energetic fourth graders! The classroom routines have gotten established; the rigor of learning has set in, and The Walking Classroom is in full swing!
“Will We Go on Walks Too?”
At Meet the Teacher Night, I frequently hear, “Will we go on walks too?” As a firm believer in the Walking Classroom, this certainly makes me grin ear to ear.
I remind myself to have patience as I start the program every year. It takes time for students to learn to walk, comprehend the information they hear, and navigate (and have trust in!) the device now hanging around their necks. Giving them ownership and responsibility of the WalkKit and headphones at the start really pumps them up for this program!
Parents Can (and Do) Participate!
At the start of the school year, I explain The Walking Classroom program to both my students and their parents. I start by going over the health benefits of walking. After that, I discuss the ability to listen, comprehend, and then produce a project, reflection, and/or discussion based on the podcast after our walks. My favorite part of the Walking Classroom is when parents join us for our walks. What a way to increase parent involvement!
As I start the implementation of The Walking Classroom, my class may listen to the same podcast over two or three walks. It takes time to learn how to walk, listen, and comprehend at the same time.
Based on the past five years, I expect very similar classroom results as we consistently walk three days a week. Typically, my students with ADD/ADHD become better focused and more attentive in class, and any student behavior problems diminish and/or disappear. The health of my students with diabetes improves. Students learn how to set and achieve goals by increasing mileage over time and reducing the time it takes to walk.
Benefits for All Students
As we begin our day with the Walking Classroom, clarity and focus improves for ALL students. Students oxygenate their brains, which has benefits for their moods and mindset (a hard concept to understand at age 9 and 10!). The excitement, enthusiasm, and academic content that the Walking Classroom delivers to my classroom, my parents, and myself cannot be measured!
Happy Trails from Mrs. Rensel’s Fourth Grade Class!
Fourth Grade Teacher