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 have a comic strip posted on the fridge from when my kids were little that states, “The days are long . . . but the years are short.” That perfectly describes this time of year at school. How can it be May already? And how will we make it through these last crazy days of school?
Time for Some Extra Strolls
I love to add in extra walks at the end of the school year because it keeps the kids engaged in learning, but still lets them get outside. I make sure to fit in any walks we didn’t have time to enjoy earlier in the year and I also include a couple “choice walks” where the students can pick a podcast of their choice.
The kids really love to select topics that fit their unique interests. This year, I plan to have them do a “one pager” after their walks. This way, they will be able to share what they’ve learned. Students will walk and listen once to the topic of their choice, then return indoors. They’ll listen a second time while they each fill their page with notes, vocabulary, and doodles about their topic.
After that, we’ll do a gallery walk and discussion to see and hear what everyone else learned. I hope this will spread excitement and maybe give them ideas for what they want to learn on their next choice walk!
Time for Finding out Favorites
As we wrap up the school year, I also like to survey students about their favorite walks. While I have them list their top five to ten favorites, most want to list many more than that.
I also have students tell me what stuck with them most about those particular podcasts. Not only is it always interesting to see what they remember, the students also have a great time reviewing all of their learning throughout the year.
As I look over their surveys, I note which walks students enjoyed the most. Although I usually have a huge variety of favorites from the class (almost every walk will be a favorite of at least one student), there are always a few that are favorites for many students.
As I re-evaluate which walks best fit into our curriculum, I make sure to include students’ favorite podcasts when I lay out a tentative walking plan for the next year.
. . . and Time for Some Storage Tips Too!
After our last walk, I have students remove batteries for storage over the summer. This year, I think I’ll also have my students write a letter to next year’s students explaining The Walking Classroom and telling their favorite things about it.
Enjoy the last hectic days of the school year, and then have a fabulous and restful summer! Be sure to keep walking and . . . Happy Trails!
Fourth Grade Teacher