Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Walking Classroom: My Final Reflections

Over the past few weeks, as the school year winds down, I have been getting lots of emails from you guys and gals (ok, so it was all gals, but I am sure some guys were curious too ;) ) about what I really thought of the Walking Classroom now that I have been using it for some time now.   So I thought it was about time to let you in on my end of the year thoughts on this program.

If I could sum up the Walking Classroom in one word it would be GREAT!  It really has been a wonderful and fun addition to my curriculum.  I was lucky enough to receive a grant for the program (which you can apply for here) but if I had purchased it, honestly I can say that it would be worth every penny spent. 



Pros:

*  My students LOVE LOVE LOVE it.  They ask me daily (literally) if we are going to be going for a walk.  Then, when we are out there walking, they are focused and serious and learning. 

*  The lessons are things I would be teaching in my classroom anyway.  There are lessons on idioms, personification, and Christopher Columbus.  We even did a lesson on money when talking about our classroom economy and keeping track of what we had!
The kids also loved counting their steps with these!

*  The lessons are short.  In 12-15 minutes, the kids get outside, walk off some of their energy, and still get the standards they were needing.  Plus, with them being short, if we needed to listen again on a different day, the kids still had an attention span for it. 

*  The kids love it.

*  It manages to tackle those kinesthetic learners who are dying just sitting down in a quiet classroom all day (and my class is uber quiet)  The kids get to move and then talk afterwards...so they are in heaven.

Laura sent us this when a few WalkKits stopped working!
*  Laura, the founder, is there every step of the way if I need help.  Anytime ANYTHING went wrong, or I had a concern, or she was just thinking about me, she was available and present.  It was like having my own personal TWC consultant!

*  Did I mention the kids love it?





Cons:

*  Batteries.  I seem to be changing batteries at the beginning of every walk now.  I mean, there are 27 WalkKits, and I am not changing the same ones each time...but batteries is something to factor into it all. (and Laura actually sent me a whole bunch of replacement batteries!!)

*  Time.  I still find it hard to get the kids outside as much as I (and they) would like.  This is totally a *me* problem though....not really a Walking Classroom problem ;)

Overall, I can not recommend this program highly enough.  My students felt empowered as they walked around our track with the WalkKits on.  It made them feel important and special....all while learning.  And what's more, TWC made a difference with in the health of the students.  My students finished the 5th grade mile run faster than any class before.  I had NONE of the walking laggers that I had in years past.  Everyone was finished in 15 minutes or less (and I know that isn't amazing as far as time goes, but you should have seem my classes in years past!)

OK...so those are my final thoughts on it.  I am so excited to have the kits to use at the beginning of next year.  And I promise to work on my time management with them ;)

Does anyone else use the program?  What are your thoughts?

And...one final thing....4th grade is slated for the 2013/2014 school year!!!!!!!!!!!!

9 comments:

  1. Sounds like a great program! I'll have to look into it for my classroom.

    Welcome to 4th grade! Nice to have another blogger friend in the grade level. :D

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    1. Oh! I am not going to 4th next year. The Walking Classroom will have 4th grade WalkKits available :) (this year there was only 5th)

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  2. very interesting read... I was wondering about batteries...LOL. Still sounds like a very rewarding program:)

    Would love for you to link of your reflection on my end of year linky, if you would like: http://teachertakers.blogspot.com/2013/04/backward-forward-linky-please-join-in.html

    Kimberlee @ iTeach 5th

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  3. What a thorough review of what sounds like a VERY cool option for meaningful movement. Thanks for sharing your insights! I love to do my counseling sessions on our track and don't take advantage of the great outdoors nearly enough. I will be putting that on my to-do list for next school year for sure.

    Barbara

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  4. Sounds awesome! I love being outdoors-and learning at the same time equals HAPPY SUCCESS! :)

    Shannon
    http://www.irunreadteach.wordpress.com

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  5. Yeah for 4th- been waiting for it :)

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  6. I just got The Walking Classroom about a month ago. I was told we are the first class in Texas to try the program. I originally found out about it because of your blog post, so thank you! My students also ask me every day if we are going for a walk. The podcasts are amazing. I walk and listen with my students, and I learn so much every time. I agree that Laura is so responsive to and supportive of me and the program. I am glad to hear she is adding 4th grade. I am teaching two sections of Language Arts/Social Studies next year, so I am hoping that I can find a way to walk with both classes on a regular basis. I agree that the timing issue is totally on me. Thanks again for introducing me and my students to such a novel way to learn. Happy Trails!!

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  7. Woo hoo! If fourth grade is slated for next year, then it's time for me to investigate!! I've enjoyed reading how it worked in your classroom:)
    Elizabeth
    Fun in Room 4B

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  8. The walking classroom is a really interesting idea and thanks for posting the link for the potential grant. It was a wise decision to use a pedometer, step counter, as well to make the walk more interesting. Change is a good thing and learning differently is absolutely a good thing.

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