One of the many newsletters, blogs, and other writings related to education that I receive is The Big Fresh newsletter, produced by Choice Literacy. This is a site that provides a vast array of tools, strategies, lessons, and advice on teaching literacy at all levels. The newsletter, which I get in my email each Saturday morning, offers a collection of resources, mostly in the form of teachers’ blog posts, about literacy instruction. About a month ago, I read a newsletter post from Brenda Power, founder of Choice Literacy, about a strategy she uses called “Walk and Talk.”
One of my favorite ways to break routine with students and colleagues in the fall has always been a “Walk and Talk.” The activity couldn’t be simpler. A brief article, issue, or idea is shared in the classroom, and then we pair up and go outside to walk and enjoy the sunshine while the partners discuss a focus question based on the reading or topic. After 20 minutes, everyone comes back to share insights and next steps.
I shared this with several of my colleagues, including Miss C, who immediately suggested we consider using it with our learning buddies. Of course, then we had several days of rainy, gloomy weather, so we had to put off trying it out. Today, though, promised to be sunny and warm (comparatively) and we decided to modify it for our needs.
We decided to have the students walk one lap around the front of the schoolyard. Both classes have been working on identifying the beginning, middle, and end of a story, so we wanted the buddies to complete a graphic organiser for this purpose. Before they started walking, they had to pick a book and write a brief summary of the beginning. Then they walked to the halfway point of the perimeter sidewalk and stopped to write a summary of the middle of the text. They finished the lap and wrote about the end of the story. While walking, they were expected to talk about the story that had been selected.
It turned out to be an excellent strategy! The students were all engaged, they got to enjoy some extra sunshine and get some physical activity in, and their organisers turned out to be written very well! I am hoping that the pleasant weather will last longer so that I can use this strategy with my class on their own, too. And maybe Miss C and I will have our buddies do it again before it starts raining and (ugh) snowing this year!