There are SO many things I am required to teach my students. Between math, reading, writing, science, social studies, art, character education, and everything else, PE seems to be the last thing on my list. Giving up precious "core" content time to go outside just never seems to work for me. I try to get out, and somehow manage to get my time in, but really....it is a stretch.
But about a month ago, I heard about this really neat program called The Walking Classroom. This non-profit program, designed by a 5th grade teacher, really jumped out to me because it is unlike anything I had ever seen before. It is a way to combine those essential content areas with exercise and movement. The basic idea of the program is that students are given these little WalkKits, which are little iPodish things preloaded with podcasts, and the students head outside to listen to them. I knew I had to apply for a grant to get these into my room as soon as possible.
Now, you are probably thinking, how on Earth is this going to help you keep all the core? Well, the podcasts are all of these engaging lessons that are based on the Common Core. They are lessons on idioms, similies, parts of speech, explorers, westward expansion, conservation, healthy living, and much much more. The students listen to these podcasts, basically getting the lesson I would teach, AND they are walking for 10 - 15 minutes.
We went out for our first walk (and I can not tell you just HOW EXCITED my kids were) the other day and the students and I LOVED LOVED LOVED it! They were completely engaged the entire time. The kids kept walking.....*I* kept walking....and when it was done, they took out their earbuds and continued walking while discussing what they heard. It really was a fabulous feeling to be out there learning in a new and different way.
Now, this was only our first walk, but I have to say I am super excited and hopeful about this program. I will keep you updated on it as we get into more heavy lessons and as the "novelty" of it all wears off. But as for now, we are digging it!
If you would like more information about getting this program into your school, or even to apply to receive a grant for this program, you can visit the website here.