This post, part of our Walk This Way series, shares The Walking Classroom experiences of teachers and students across the United States. It provides a glimpse into Walking Classroom Ambassador Toni Lehman’s class.
This month the challenge was to think about how The Walking Classroom’s podcasts help support our curriculum and allow kids to see something in a new way. So of course, I decided to take that challenge myself, and think about how I do Walking Classroom with my students.
During the month of November, we put extra emphasis on the Indigenous People who came before us in North Carolina. We study the eight nationally recognized tribes that still live, work, and thrive in our state. If you live out of state, you are probably familiar with the Cherokee.
As we brought our webquest research projects and presentations to a close, I selected The Trail of Tears (5-#40, Complete-#105). We did this walk in advance of our last group presentation on the Cherokee.
Taking to the Trail
We headed out on a surprisingly cool and cloudy day. It was hard to imagine the challenge of walking in these conditions (and worse) for the next six months. The longer I listened, the more I wanted to see what reactions the kids were having to the information.
So I stopped. I invited the kids to take off their headphones for a minute and talk to the person behind them. What information surprised them? Animated conversations ensued. Even more surprising? The focus and attention to listening to the rest of the podcast increased! They were truly hooked.
. . . and New Insights
When we got back in the classroom to share our final presentation about the Cherokee, the presenters revised their thinking as they presented. They added new insights. The class was focused, attentive, and really connected to the information.
In our morning circle the next day, Sid and Jett said it best: “I thought it was a series of events, not an actual trail.” “It was straight-up cruel and wrong.” Indeed.
Fourth Grade Teacher