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Park School students learn with walking classroom
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Park School fourth- and fifth-grade summer school students walk with instructor Eric Dowson at Brit Spaugh Park during Walking Classroom time. - photo by Courtesy photos

Park School’s fourth- and fifth-grade Summer School and After School classes are now getting fresh air and exercise while they learn. Thanks to a Masonic Lodge Literacy Grant, the class received “WalkKit” audio players for each student preloaded with over 100 podcasts on topics including science, social studies and language arts.

Dara Touslee is the After School-Summer/School coordinator at Park School. “I learned about the program at an After School Conference and was eager to use it with our students. The Masonic Lodge Literacy Grant made it possible for us to purchase the materials,” she said.
The Walking Classroom is simple. Students take brisk 20-minute walks as a class, while listening to the same kid-friendly podcast. The program gets kids out of their seats and walking without sacrificing instructional time. Students return to the classroom in better moods, more focused, and more likely to engage in post-walk discussions, Touslee said.

Park School teacher Eric Dowson is using the Walking Classroom with the Summer School students.
“The Walking Classroom is a very effective program. It works because many students learn when they are being active,” he said. “The program also works because not all cultures share their information in written form. For a student who comes from a culture that shares its history orally, the students are used to learning while listening to stories or music. The podcasts do the same thing, they teach by listening. Then, once the student acquires background knowledge of a topic, similar information in written form begins to have more meaning to them, becomes less tedious, and ultimately makes reading more enjoyable.”