Walking the Colonies

One of my students' most favorite time during the school day is when we do The Walking Classroom.  That is one of the first things they ask me in line, before we enter the classroom.  "Are we going to do The Walking Classroom today??"

Sample of my bulletin board
I wanted to capitalize on this enthusiasm, as well as get a little bit of social studies in (since our unit, the Colonies, isn't actually covered in the lessons on the WalkKits.) So I thought and thought and came up with this little gem of an idea that is working super splendidly for me....Walking the Colonies!

This is actually something you don't need The Walking Classroom for.   We just are outside walking, so I do the two programs in conjunction with each other.

So what is this Walking the Colonies, you say?

Basically, my kids walk laps around the track.  As they are walking, they are keeping a tally of the amount of laps that they complete.  When we come back into the classroom, I add all of the laps up.  Then, using a scale of 1 lap = 1 mile, we go to our big map of the colonies (you can see basically what it looks like in the picture above)  and move around from destination to destination.

Just a sample of one of the Information Cards
When we hit a destination, I lead a little mini-lesson on the founding of that specific colony. Using information cards that I wrote, summarizing the most important events leading to the founding of the colony, the students get a nice introduction to the region.  We talk about it and discuss why the colony was founded.  Then, we head off to the next destination the next day.

I also have posted in the classroom a running tally of exactly how many "miles" have been traveled, both in total and between destinations.

Each of my students has their own folder with the little information cards that we have reviewed. That way, they have a record of the learning that they can then reference in our social studies unit. They also have a record of how many actual laps they have walked as well as how many actual miles they personally have walked.
As we move from one destination to the next, I have the kids input the miles it from the previous stop and then the total miles that have been walked by the class.  They also keep track of how many laps they personally have walked and how many REAL miles that equates to.  Usually they get in about a mile a day walking.

What I really like is that the kids are not just learning about the colonies when we get back to class, but they are pushing themselves to walk farther on the yard each day.  They walk just a little bit faster, getting their heart rate up just a little bit more, moving their blood and getting their bodies to work just a little bit better.  The added challenge of the "tour of the colonies" gives them an end-goal to work for too.  They want to go that one extra lap so that we will get to Maryland or New Jersey just a bit sooner.

Now, you don't actually have to walk to do this program.  You could have the kids read a certain amount of pages each day to equal a mile, then have the class move from destination to destination. They can earn a set number of table points, or complete a certain amount of homework assignments. You could also just do the mini-lessons and move around the colonies that way. 

 Anyway, that is just a fun little way I have tried to get more social studies into my day.  And now, I am going to give one lucky winner a chance to do the same.  Just leave a comment on my blog telling me how you get social studies into your day, then enter the Rafflecopter, and I will give one of these Walking the Colonies packs away to one lucky winner.  Enter by midnight April 20 though...as the rafflecopter will close then.  Good luck!

And if you just can't wait, you can get the Walking the Colonies pack here.  If you happen to win, I will let you pick something else from my store that is priced the same.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

45 comments

  1. I do two weeks of social studies & then two weeks of science. We have a single class period for both subjects. (4th grade, departmentalized)

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  2. I try to get it in three times per week and usually I start with a close read on one of our themes and then we do some further fact finding on our ipads & record those finding on post its or index cards...if time permits we gather into whole group & present our findings to each other. The kids usually do their fact finding in buddy or small groups in order to compare notes & ideas. Your walking through the colonies unit looks like a whole bunch of fun learning...thanks for the opportunity to win!!!

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  3. Since I teach ELA, I incorporate Social Studies by tying in our close readings and nonfiction texts to the SS curriculum, plus most of our fiction! Right now, we are doing a cross-curricular Holocaust unit.

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  4. When I taught 5th grade, we did about 30-45 minutes of social studies a day. When we became departmentalized, we had a class period for it.

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  5. I teach Social studies every day for at least a half an hour, and will do it 3 days a week and 2 days of science, or switch it up. I also tie in reading/writing and social studies together, so it's always on their mind. We also do virtual field trips and write expository or opinion papers on certain topics. i.e. segregation, slavery, or kids working in factories. With the common core, it's easy to tie in SS with nonfiction.

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  6. I wish I did more social studies! And I wish I had a more interesting way to do it - I know it's not the kids favorite subject. I've got 2 days a week (about an hour and a half total) to work on social studies. We've just gotten to the colonies - so your walking lessons would fit right it right now!

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  7. Our class integrates social studies into our reading block. We use a combination of our textbook, videos, articles, and even selected texts to cover the curriculum. Right now we are reading "Redcoats and Petticoats" and using the Redcoats and Petticoats- An American Revolution Mentor Text Unit for ELA by Collaboration Cuties.

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  8. I have been incorporating social studies through close reading and nonfiction texts during our literature block each day. One of my professional goals this year was to incorporate physical movement to keep students engaged and your Walking the Colonies fits right in with our curriculum and my goal. Thanks for sharing the idea!

    Sarah

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  9. I love all of your ideas! I can't wait to get my hands on this, as I still have colonies to teach!!

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    1. I fit social studies into my day by alternating science and social studies units! Next year I'm looking at home to integrate it into my ELA block!

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  10. I always try to make social studies fun and engaging--simulations and experiences instead of just reading a text book. This looks like a great way to do Colonies--and my group needs to be up and moving!

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  11. What a great and interactive way to teach Social Studies!

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  12. What a great idea! This could cover Program Review for practical living as well ;)

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  13. Thank you for sharing a fantastic resource and how you do this with your class. As we enter spring we have more chances to get outside the ideas are flowing. Even in the winter I know we can do this. We have long winters (Maine) and a large school (K-8). I know the PE teacher has mapped out an indoor track for his running club and is looking for ways to incorporate academics. This is a project we could work together on!

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  14. I love social studies, but struggle with curriculum. Our district won't spend money on it because students aren't tested on it :(

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    1. As another poster does, I alternate social studies and science every few days. I hope to include more non-fiction reading of the topics in language arts/reading, as well as writing about our learning in our writer's workshop, to really mesh the curriculums/units!

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  15. I love this idea because it gets kids moving. I usually focus on Science or Social Studies. Right now I am focusing on Science because we have the CST on Science coming up.

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  16. We integrate S.S. into ELA and have a S.S./Science block every other day. Love your idea :)

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  17. I have about 45 minutes scheduled into the day 4 times a week. I also try to incorporate history into reading and writing.

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  18. I teach SpEd resource and do not actually have to teach Social Studies, but I do anyhow. Knowing my students struggle with comprehension, our speech pathologist and I work social studies and science into our reading and writing lessons. We try to keep up with the general ed. classroom, so the kids are hearing it at least twice. I love this idea! Most of my students also have ADHD, in addition to their learning disability, so this would be the perfect way to get them up and moving, while reinforcing those topics.

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  19. I absolutely LOVE this! I don't get to teach Social Studies this year, but we have a time set aside on Wedensdays, Thursdays, and Fridays where the other 3rd grade teacher and I switch classes for 30 minutes. That's it… we BOTH wish we had more time to switch! But, I try to incorporate a lot of SS in my Reading block, especially when we do Scholastic News.

    Sara
    Miss V's Busy Bees
    ventrellasara@gmail.com

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  20. I teach ELA, so I do a lot of integration of Social Studies with my ELA. I use S.S. passages teach my reading standards and for close reading activities.

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  21. Since I teach at a small school and I'm only part time I try to incorporate social studies into my language arts class. When we read novels we talk about the time period and how things were different then. This month we've read about the Titanic and the history of Easter and the traditions that go along with Easter. My students loved reading each of these short stories.

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  22. I am moving to 5th grade next year…so excited about social studies! I, also, happen to be moving up with my 4th graders. They are a pretty physical group. This would be awesome! Thanks!

    stephudy@gmail.com

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  23. I teach social studies integrated with language and technology. Right now my students are researching and presenting the topic Canada's Global Connections. They are reading online, taking notes on and offline, sharing with their groups, and they will be presenting to each other. Also "creating" maps using longitude and latitude and then connecting this topic to our science topic biodiversity. It's a lot to cover but it sure is fun!
    teachingisagift@outlook.com

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  24. We have Social Studies every day for 30-40 minutes. At 5th grade, we study American History...love teaching it! :) I have several novels, as well as smaller books, that I integrate into our studies: Pedro's Journal (exploration-Columbus), Sign of the Beaver (the time between the French and Indian War and the Rev. War), and George Washington's Socks (Rev. War). We also do Journey North's Mystery Classes each year, which so wonderfully integrates, geography, social studies, technology, and science into a real life application experience for my students. Your idea to get the kids up and moving as they study the 13 Colonies is amazing...would absolutely love to do this with my kids! Thanks for the opportunity to win your awesome activity!! :)

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  25. I implement a lot of social studies standards into my ELA instruction. There just isn't enough time in the day, but we make it work! :)

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  26. I absolutely LOVE everything about this - the walking, learning, student motivation... I live just north of Boston and I was thinking of heading on in to visit the Old North Church and Paul Revere's house today. Plus, we've been studying this in Social Studies as well as the Boston Tea Party. (we're going there for a field trip in June). Thanks for sharing this brilliant idea!

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  27. Replies
    1. It is hard to fit in my schedule. This would be perfect!

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  28. My grade level colleagues and I alternate between teaching Science and Social Studies. We try to integrate it into our reading lessons when we can, but we also try to pump up the excitement with special activities like simulations. This looks so fun, AND I'm just getting ready to teach colonies! Thanks for sharing! :)

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  29. I read lots of non-fiction passages related to social studies (and science) concepts during small reading groups. During social studies we do alot of graphic organizers where they cite evidence they find in the passage.

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  30. Currently our system is on a rotation with science. Every other quarter. Social studies kund of intimidates me, but all your posts give me courage...and excitement!

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  31. This would tie in perfectly with my social studies unit that I am teaching right now!

    Ms. Smith
    Adventures of Ms. Smith

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  32. We have a set block of time to teach social studies/science.

    Ms. Smith =)
    Adventures of Ms. Smith

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  33. I have three sections of fifth grade social studies each day! :)

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  34. Before my school adopted ReadyGen, we wrote our own reading and writing curriculum using our social studies standards and the CCLS. We taught the content while focusing on specific reading and writing skills. I miss it! I also have 1 designated social studies period per week.

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  35. We do social studies every morning. At this point in the year we are just reviewing the things they learned last year in fourth grade, but it's always exciting when we are doing "new" stuff!

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  36. I'm an ELA Teacher and I make sure that we have plenty of nonfiction each day.

    Meagan
    oodlesofteachingfun

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  37. This looks like a great way to liven up the social studies! I struggle to get in as much as I would like. I'dlove to have this to use with my 5th graders!

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    1. I try to connect SS reading to what we are working on for ELA as much as possible. We use the weekly studies newspapers along with out text book & any other informational texts I can find!

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  38. We are on trimesters, so I try to do 6 weeks of science, then 6 weeks of social studies. For me, it helps with the continuity of each topic. I know next year, with full implementation of Common Core, I will need to do much more integration for my science and s.s. topics. We just finished our Colonies unit, and with the horrible winter we had here in Chicagoland, my students would have loved the walking tie-in as they learned about the Colonies!

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  39. I basically do 2 - 2 1/2 weeks of SS and then switch to Science. I also try to incorporate both subjects into my reading workshop as much as I can!

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  40. I teach Social Studies to 2 alternating classes and we are just about to head into Colonial America.....this would be an awesome resource to add excitement to the unit!

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  41. I am going to be moving into 5th grade next year. I can't wait to use this!! It's looks like so much fun. :)

    Brianne
    Hooo-Ray For Teaching

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