This post is part of 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 Caitlin Watson’s class.
Your favorite dessert, your favorite movie, your favorite book . . . how on earth do you choose a favorite? I feel the same way about picking my favorite podcast in The Walking Classroom. But since I have to choose, I’m going to cheat a little and say there is a series of podcasts that is my favorite — the podcasts on the Revolutionary War.
It must sound odd to hear this from a Florida fourth grade teacher, since this is not a social studies topic that is covered by our standards. It is, however, a HUGE part of our non-fiction reading unit that we will start next month.
In this unit, we compare and contrast fiction and non-fiction, as well as topics across different texts. This presents an enormous amount of higher level thinking for our students. To have to learn and understand the complexities of the causes and the repercussions of the Revolutionary War at the same time as this reading work is a nearly impossible task.
The Walking Classroom to the Rescue!
This is where the good ol’ Walking Classroom comes in. Instead of me giving my students another article to read to learn about a topic about which they have already read an article, I direct them to their WalkKits. Once they turn those on, they can have students their age explain the topic to them in a way they can really understand!
When we come back inside after our walk, my students can’t wait to read the article and passage for that day. They start making connections right away! It is so much easier for them to tackle the reading work for the day when the background knowledge is taken care of! Plus, they get to go out and get some fresh air before they have to sit and read for an extended period of time. As usual, with The Walking Classroom, it’s a win-win!
. . . and Here’s How the Lesson Looks!
First, I have my class do the pre/post test as morning work. Then, as the students take out their WalkKits, we discuss what sorts of things we will be listening for in the podcasts. We even make an inference about how this connects to what we are reading about the Revolutionary War in class.
After that, we make our way outside to happy trails! When we come in, we discuss the answers as a whole class and launch straight into our reading lesson. Before we start to read, I ask my students to look for evidence in the text that supports what we learned about in the podcast. At the end of the lesson, as an exit ticket, I might have them answer, “How did what you learned in the podcast help you understand the reading today?”
Incorporating The Walking Classroom into our non-fiction reading unit is a great way for kids to learn about a difficult but interesting time in history. When I am at a loss for words, The Walking Classroom always finds them for me!
Fourth Grade Teacher
Diamond View Elementary