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 Paula Venable’s class.
As a little girl, Sunday mornings always meant a drive to the donut shop with my dad. When we entered Adams Avenue Donuts, the bells jingled, and I raced to the display case and pressed my nose to the glass. There were so many tasty treats from which to choose. I would sit and weigh the possibilities until Dad finally announced, “Okay, time to choose.” Reassuringly, he would remind me, “Remember they’re all good. You can’t lose.”
Such is the case with The Walking Classroom’s podcasts. And while each delights in its own way, teachers often ask, “How do you select your podcasts? How do you plan your podcasts for the year?” There are three ways I plan for my year with the Walking Classroom.
Planning Podcasts for the Year
How to I go about planning podcasts to use? First, I begin by grouping my Program 4 podcasts. There are five major academic categories: language skills, reading skills, science, social science, and “extras”. Next, I review my long-term plans for the year and determine where the podcasts best align with our learning. For example, we are currently in a study of figurative language. Similes and Metaphors (Combined-#4, 4-#11, 5-#72), along with Idioms (Combined-#3, 4-#7, 5-#3), are a perfect fit. When I use the podcast as an introduction to a concept, I often begin with the introductory lesson Power Point as well. On the other hand, when the podcast is meant to be a review, the electronic quizzes are an added bonus.
Some Student-Selected Possibilities Too: Biographies . . .
In addition to long-term planning with the podcasts, I create a sign-up poster with the over 50 famous people podcasts that are part of Program 4. Students each get the opportunity to sign up for one famous person podcast they’d like the class to enjoy. They prepare an introduction to the podcast when it is the week for their person.
This becomes a highlight in our class, as students look forward to introducing their famous person before we walk. Some even come dressed as their person!
. . . and Bonus Days!
One final way that I plan for our year with The Walking Classroom is by incorporating Bonus Days. This is where the “extras” category comes in handy. Each podcast in this category is written on a card that is placed in a treasure type box. As a reward in our classroom, students select a surprise podcast. And like Sunday donuts with Dad, we are always in for a treat!
Fourth Grade Teacher
Santiago Hills Elementary