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.
I love selecting podcasts I know my students will enjoy. There are so many to choose from though, and it’s sometimes hard to narrow it down to just the right one! This is how I plan our walks.
Planning and Previewing
First, I look at the general yearlong plan that my grade level partner and I have created. I make a note of which podcasts best fit the topics we’re covering throughout the year.
Then, when it’s time to plan the week, I make sure the walk I’ve chosen still fits my current lesson plan. I usually preview the walks before we listen to them in class. This way, I know what the students will be hearing and can guide our post-walk discussion.
While I do listen to the podcast as I walk with the kids, sometimes I miss things when I’m focused on the students! The Teacher’s Guide and quizzes are a great way to preview information, too.
Podcasts for Specific Purposes
Sometimes I use a podcast to prepare my students for a topic we’re getting ready to learn. Other times, I use a podcast to supplement or review a topic. Either way, the students are always picking up new bits of information to support our classroom learning.
Seeing Double — Covering Two Podcasts with One Walk!
A few times a year, I have two walks that address a topic, and I can’t fit them in separately, so I divide and conquer. I assign half the class to one topic and the rest to the other topic.
After the walk, students get together with others that listened to the same podcast. Together, they brainstorm things they think their classmates would like to know.
Then both groups share their facts with the rest of the class. It’s a great way to mix things up a little, and the students really love teaching their classmates what they learned!
Letting the Students Select!
I will occasionally do a “choice” walk, too. The kids love choice walks because they can listen to any topic they want. After the walk, they write down as much as they can remember about their topics in their walking journals.
We don’t preview questions or take a quiz on those days because it would be too chaotic! Instead, I give the students a few minutes to walk around the classroom and share information on their topic with their classmates.
Finally, I ask them to share at least one interesting thing with the whole class. Once they do one choice walk, they frequently ask when they can do one again, so it’s a great motivator for them!
What’s the Hardest Part?
When it comes to choosing podcasts for my classroom, the hardest thing is knowing we won’t have time to do them all! At the end of the year, I have the students look over their walks and let me know their favorite and least favorite podcasts to help me plan for the next year.
The great thing is that so may of the podcasts are “favorites” for multiple students in the classroom. You can’t go wrong in picking any of them!
Fourth Grade Teacher
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