Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Walking to Learn!

This is the time of year where I begin to feel a bit frazzled and frantic about "fitting everything in"! I don't know about your school district, but we are constantly being required to fit in more & more into our limited school day. And here in California, we are mandated to teach 100 minutes of PE per week. Ever since my friend, Stephanie over at Teaching in Room 6, told me about The Walking Classroom, I've been determined to get this AMAZING program for my grade level! 
From their website: "With The Walking Classroom, students are active learners! Research consistently shows a direct positive correlation between a child’s physical activity and cognitive function. The Walking Classroom is an in-school fitness and obesity intervention program that improves health literacy and builds core content knowledge, while addressing different learning styles. Students listen to entertaining and educational standards-aligned podcasts while they walk. Different learning styles are addressed, and all students return to the clasroom in brighter moods with oxygenated brains that are better able to focus."

This program sounded too good to be true: a program to teach kids content, including health (I admit, my "health grade" on the report card used to include seeing if kids washed their hands and used a tissue). Students walk and learn, while listening to Walk Kits pre-loaded with a year’s worth of CCSS-aligned audio content. Most podcasts last about 15 minutes, and each podcast is supported with a lesson plan and a comprehension quiz. The podcasts vary from language arts: figurative language, to science concepts, biographies of people who have made a difference, to writing strategies, and even highlighting careers!
Before beginning to use the Walk Kits, students learned about the science behind walking and why it is good for the brain! (The program comes with an excellent, informative powerpoint presentation.) They learn to take their pulse before and after walking. Before we even went outside for the first time, however, students explored their Walk Kit: they pushed buttons, learned how to check the battery level, scanned the available podcast topics, put in their ear buds, and became familiar with their device.
I love that the beginning of each podcast begins with a health lesson, then the main topic is discussed by actual kids, as well as a teacher. Their conversations are very natural and often funny. It's not unusual to hear kids (& myself!) chuckling to themselves while walking. The end of each podcast encourages students to ask "thick" questions to discuss with a peer. Although we've been walking for a couple of weeks inside our school grounds, our goal is to get outside and walk through our neighborhood as we listen and learn!
Be sure to check back; I'll be updating on our progress throughout the year!

Click on the logo below for more information!

4 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing about The Walking Classroom. I think this program would benefit both general education and special education students. Research definitely supports a positive correlation between movement and retention of concepts. I am going to look into this program!

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    1. It is one of THE BEST programs I've ever used! Your students will love it (& so will you!) Yay for walking & learning! Thanks for stopping by, Monica!

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  2. I am so pleased to read this interesting post on The Walking Classroom. This program is just fabulous and will be successful in future. I am a teacher at a local Phoenix preschool and keep searching online for new activities.

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    1. The Walking Classroom is truly fabulous! At the moment, the podcasts are only for 4th & 5th grade, but I hope they will expand the grade levels!

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