This post is the first 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 Toni Lehman’s classroom.
A Walking Classroom Ambassador and fourth grade teacher, Toni is in her ninth year using The Walking Classroom. She has been working in education for nearly forty years!
Walk this Way . . . No, really!!
I don’t know about you, but this school year has been a breath of fresh air and an opportunity to reset at a very deep level. Students are so excited to be back in a more normal pace of life, but they don’t have the social skills other fourth graders have previously brought with them. The Walking Classroom has been an invaluable resource to help with that reset.
In the beginning of the year, students crave routine, new information, and outdoor time. The Walking Classroom provides opportunities for all three.
Our first walks involved staff members who are veterans at this program. The instructional assistant (IA) I worked with last year taught the kids and our new IA how to “do” our procedures so our walks would be safe and informative. We drew on last year’s experiences and had solid procedures in place.
Here are a few keys to our success:
- Pick podcasts and align with your curriculum. The buy-in from kids is immediate, and the content helps everyone!
- Have clear procedures for how you do your walk. This will allow you to maximize your walking and talking time.
- Have a dedicated path and communicate it with your front office staff so that in the event of an emergency, people can find you and your students easily.
. . . and a Few Student Strategies!
Here are some pro tips from our students:
- “Don’t swing or play with the WalkKits!” – Keelan
- “Carefully put your headphones into the device.” – Freja
- “Big headphones are better because earbuds can fall out.” – Catie
- “Bigger headphones cover more of your ear so you can hear it better.” – Margaret
- “Use whichever headphones you are used to wearing because it will be more comfortable. Fumbling around takes away from the story.” – Lyra
Plan to walk and listen every chance you get. You have 167 podcasts to choose from!
Fourth Grade Teacher