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 Kathie Yonemura’s class.
The beauty of The Walking Classroom is that it’s not “one more thing” to try and fit into my curriculum. The podcasts are aligned with Common Core State Standards, so when I do my long-term planning at the beginning of each year, I sit with The Walking Classroom Teacher’s Guide to tentatively plan out which podcasts we will listen to unit by unit, at which time during the year. However, this is only a rough outline, since we all know flexibility is the key to teaching!
Focusing on Figurative Language
In the fall, I always teach about figurative language. TWC has terrific podcasts on idioms, similes, and metaphors. Hearing other students (along with Mrs. Fenn) explain and give examples helps my kids to grasp these often tricky concepts.
I love when I hear my students start to giggle (or even sing!) during a podcast because I know we are all listening to the same information at the same time. The podcasts lend themselves to great discussions once we return to class! The idioms podcast is still one of my kids’ favorites, as they roar with laughter: “I’m not hanging noodles on your ears.”
We listened to the figurative language podcasts before embarking on our class musical, Alice’s Adventure with Idioms. The entire play was about similes, metaphors, and idioms — complete with songs about each type of figurative language!
Tackling Science Standards
Our fourth-grade earth science standard focuses on landforms, erosion, layers of the earth and types of rocks. There are numerous podcasts on these topics, as well as fascinating interviews with geologists! Listening to the podcasts reinforces the information we are learning in class. Often students will reference a tidbit from the podcast in relation to what we are studying!
Allowing for Student Selections
Another way to use the podcasts is to let students select which one to listen to. We usually do this toward the end of a unit or if we have covered several related topics. Although I initially select which podcasts we listen to, I allow kids to re-listen to podcasts of their choice (within a list) to hear the information again. This has greatly improved their understanding of the subject matter.
If I’m feeling pressed for time to teach a full in-depth lesson, I often scan The Walking Classroom Teacher’s Guide to find a podcast that aligns with what I need to teach. In fifteen to twenty minutes, the information is covered in an understandable manner and students are walking and getting the oxygen flowing to their brains! The suggested questions are a great starting point for discussion. It’s a win-win situation!
Fourth Grade Teacher
Hesby Oaks Leadership Charter School