Address Learning Loss With This Fun and Active Summer and Afterschool Program
Photos courtesy of: Natalie Carnine and Laura Schmitz
Addressing learning loss due to the pandemic is an important task where afterschool and out-of-school time programs can make significant impacts. The Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) requires implementation of programs that address learning loss while also responding to students’ social, emotional, and mental health needs.
The key for afterschool professionals, particularly when planning for summer programs, is finding content that aligns with those funding requirements but that is also easy to use, effective, and (most importantly!) fun for students.
Afterschool professionals across the country are successfully using The Walking Classroom (TWC) for in-person as well as virtual programs. OST professional Ana Castillo from California said she used TWC with her students through their Distance Learning for Afterschool Program and online via ZOOM with her After School Programs, Inc. students. Beth DeHart, an OST professional in Arizona told us, “We used TWC for our After School Academy both virtually and in person. I used it as a focus lesson for mini-lessons each week.”
How Does TWC Work?
The Walking Classroom, which closely aligns to ESSER requirements, is a series of kid-friendly educational podcasts on language arts, social studies, and science that kids listen to while they walk. The program builds core content knowledge while boosting physical fitness, health literacy, and social and emotional understanding. Best of all, students love it.
Supporting Social and Emotional Learning
Each 15-minute podcast begins with a brief health message and also weaves a character value (empathy, confidence, respect, perseverance, etc.) throughout the core podcast narrative to support social and emotional learning. Lesson plans guide educators in helping student understanding.
Tackling Learning Loss
TWC improves engagement and differentiates instruction to help students learn more of the information presented, retain the information longer, and perform better on cognitive tests. Educators report higher test scores, improved attendance on Walking Classroom days, better behavior, and improved motivation to learn.
Helen Bocook, a 21st CCLC director in Kentucky said, “With the learning loss that every student and school experienced due to the pandemic, we were lucky to have TWC as a resource that students not only needed for learning but also loved to use.”
What Do Students Think?
“The podcasts help me focus and help things stick in my mind much better.” — Isabella, 7th grader, NC
“My life gets better every day. I get smarter every day because of The Walking Classroom.” — Naveah, 4th grader, OK
“Ever since we got the WalkKits, I could run or walk for longer periods of time, and I feel like I know more about history (and food chains) now.” — Katie, 4th grader, CA
Written by Lee Ann Obringer, Communications Manager for The Walking Classroom