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In Fountain-Fort Carson, students learn in "walking classroom"

Friday, December 2, 2016

Image for story on Fountain-Fort Carson's Walking Classroom program.

Fourth-grader Michael Adams opens up his new Walking Classroom mp3 player and begins to explore the lessons.

Lessons taught in classrooms throughout Fountain-Fort Carson School District 8 reflect students’ unique learning styles. Shawn Solon, a fourth-grade teacher at Mountainside Elementary, applied for and received a grant that adds a new tool to his lesson-plan toolbox: Walking Classroom materials.

“Like the students, I know that sometimes it can feel a little ‘stale’ when we are in the classroom all day," Solon said. "I saw this opportunity to apply for a grant to get a tool that would get my kids outside, exercising and learning at the same time, so I jumped for it!”  

The Walking Classroom is an award-winning nonprofit program that strengthens the physical, mental and academic health of students while they walk, listen and learn. In October, Solon’s class received 30 mp3 players that were pre-downloaded with lesson plans in a variety of areas, all of which align with the Colorado Academic Standards.

“I have read several studies and articles about how students are more focused on their learning after they get their heart rates up," Solon said. "After surveying my class on their unique learning styles, I also noticed that many of my students are kinesthetic learners. Given these pieces of information, the Walking Classroom seemed like the perfect fit for my students."

Solon’s students recently spent their first day with the devices learning how to use them, set the volume, speed, etc. The lessons are typically set for about a 12- to 17-minute walk, which allows Solon’s students to walk a little over a mile. The plan is to use the lessons from Walking Classroom a couple of times a week. So far, his students love the idea of walking and learning because it is “different and more fun” than being in the classroom. Solon will interweave both walking lessons and classroom lessons because “the audio is solidified with discovery and written work” in the classroom, to continue to accommodate and meet the learning styles of all his students.
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