Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Walking Classroom - The First Few Weeks

There was nothing more exciting this school year than announcing to my class and their parents that we would be participating in The Walking Classroom program this year.  If you have never heard of this amazing program, I highly encourage you go to their website and check it out.  The whole idea behind it is to get students out there doing aerobic activity multiple times a week to help build brain cells WHILE listening to a podcast on subjects ranging from language arts, science and social studies.  The best part? Each podcast is tied into the standards, making it easy to justify spending this time.

I had been on the waiting list for a few years hoping (praying!) that I would be able to get a class set donated to my 5th grade.  I was beyond elated when I got an email during the summer that my wait was over!  The Walking Classroom Organization themselves, were providing a grant to my school and would send me the walk kits. I'm telling you the day I received that box in the mail it was like Christmas!!

You get a binder full of lesson plans that go with each of the podcasts on the walk kits.  Each of the lesson plans come with a comprehension quiz to go a long with it.  The walk kits come preloaded with the content on them, so there is no extra work (with the exception of putting the batteries in and strapping on the lanyards!) Easy peasy!   The Walking Classroom was developed by former 5th grade teacher, Laura Fenn, M.S., Ed when she saw there was a need for student activity during the day.

And student activity is what you get with this program!  My students and I venture out into our neighborhood taking a the same 1.1 mile walk three times every week.  Yes, you read that right!  Three times a week my students and I are out there Walking, Listening, and Learning!!   That is over 3 miles that I am working into class time EVERY SINGLE WEEK.

Labeled and stored in cubbies in the classroom
If you were to ask my students how they felt about the walking classroom you would get an array of answers.  But the most commonly said phrase is, "I love it!"   And they aren't kidding.  My students have really come to enjoy this time of the day where we get to take a break from the classroom walls and get outside.

A couple of weeks ago, we were even featured on ABC 7 Los Angeles for our participation in this awesome program.  It was exciting to see my students get their moment of fame for something so positive!  Even better, is the support we get from our school community about it.  Students who aren't in 5th grade are looking forward to participating when they are, and those who are past 5th grade in our middle school are sad they didn't get the opportunity.  Even better is they have recently developed the curriculum for 4th grade, which our school is looking into purchasing.

So far, my class has walked over 25 miles this school year and it's only the end of October!  Already, I am seeing a difference in my kids and their fitness level, as well as their attentiveness when we get back.  This is a program I would recommend for every school!

Head on over and check it out!  This program is definitely worth looking into.

Have you ever heard of The Walking Classroom?  If you are interested in applying for your own grant or purchasing the program, check out this link.

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