Three Words... Ahhh MAZ- ING The Walking Classroom

Good Day Mates,

         If you are stopping by to read a little about The Walking Classroom you have jumped onto the right blog. We have had an interesting start to the year to say the least. No complaints, just seems like one of those starts where you can't get a full week in. Have you ever had one of those? Our students participate in some amazing activities provided by our school and county such as; The First Tee Program, Rachel's Challenge and a little hurricane fun brought to you by low pressure storm systems. All these activities are phenomenal, but a full week of instruction would be rockin' awesome.
        Anywho, our recess is near the end of the day. This doesn't necessarily break up the school day, but it's a fun play time for the kids. We have all heard about the benefits of energizers, right? Well, there is an amazing energizer where students still maintain focus on a skill while stretching their little bodies.  I know, I'm killing you with suspense.


         I filled out a grant for The Walking Classroom (which was created by a NC teacher... whoop!) and didn't hear anything for ONE WHOLE YEAR. Practically forgot about the grant. At the end of my tumultuous year last year, I found out on the last week of school I received a grant through quintiles for this amazing program.
         The program is simple. There is a small MP3 player attached to a lanyard with 130 preloaded lessons that range from 12-15 minutes long. They begin with a character education or health lesson for 2 minutes and then a fact filled lesson aligned to your grade level. There are kids who do the teaching, so it's on the kids' level and a teacher interjects great ideas on that topic.
        They sent me a Kit with a student MP3 player and a teacher's manual. I know what you're thinking... I don't use manuals. YES you WILL! It has a brief one page per lesson on prior knowledge vocabulary, probing questions, follow up questions and even a 10 minute quiz.... if you're into that kind of thing. HA!  Say WHAT? Are you serious? YES!
        These past two weeks we have learned all about hurricanes (to introduce us to Matthew making his way up the east coast), summarizing, 1st person/3rd person perspective and biographies. Seriously teachers.... 12-15 minutes, kids are walking, getting exercise, vitamin D, and they enter the class ready for more learning because they feel like they have had a brain break. They have been tricked into thinking that, but they have been learning the whole time. They fell victim to the great Vizzini! You're welcome.

         I'll post more on how I organize these wonderful teaching tools in my classroom soon. Have a great week friends!

Hurricane Matthew

        Good Evening Friends, your grammatically incorrect friend is back and okay.
         I'm writing this with a broken heart. Not so much of a broken heart for our local status after Hurricane Matthew up the east coast of the United States, but a broken heart thinking about our neighbors in countries that would love to be here and have the first world problems we have. 
         Locally, my friends in Florida up to North Carolina are dealing with a tremendous amount of flooding, roads that are washed out, houses damaged, and more. These are all great things to deal with during a Hurricane as it tears up the coast and scatters families and communities until they can come back together. I have worked hard to check on neighbors, widows in our area and other elderly that might need extra help in the aftermath of this natural disaster. 
        Globally, I have been shattered. I have worked closely with groups that have traveled to Haiti. I have great friends and traveled and worked with the orphanages in Saintard, Haiti. I have a deep love for the people of Haiti. I would spend my summers in Haiti if I wouldn't miss my husband so much. The death tolls in Haiti are too much to comprehend. Additionally, the devastation of structures that pale in comparison to our homes here in the US. The pictures are too much to bear. My heart is a fragile one. One that cares for everyone and wants to help anyone in need. 
        Today we traveled eight minutes to our local beach and discovered such a sad find. 

        Do you know what this is? This is speculated to be a Cuban Refugee Raft. After a mild hurricane on the east coast, a refugee raft has washed upon our shores. The craftsmanship of this raft is unbelievable. The flour sacks of the bags are marked with Cuban brands filled with water bottles of air (notice I didn't say empty). There is chicken wire and fencing with more water bottles on the bottom of the boat. There is a rudder made of scrap metal at the rear and it appears there was a mast in the center. 

        My heart just stopped. In the midst of one of the most shameful presidential elections I think I have ever been exposed to... I'm stopped to see something so amazing and sad. The people who fashioned this raft felt that they had no hope whatsoever in their own country they needed to save scraps and make a life raft in hopes of landing and staying in a country for a fresh start. I have never, ever felt in my life that I needed to make a life raft and sail away to a country in treacherous waters. What story could this raft tell? What demise or hope did these people see? 
        As I go to bed with a heavy heart, I am reminded that I am a teacher. The impact that I have or YOU have is greatly underestimated. The twenty-five children I meet on Tuesday morning will be introduced to such brave, creative, hopeful minds that could have created this raft. If you have't checked out NewsELA or ThinkCERCA, they have amazing current events. Search war and peace or the key word refugees. You will be opened up to several kid friendly articles about refugees from Syria, Jewish, European, etc. 

       So as you go your way, think big, think amazing. You are a teacher and a globe changer. You are shaping the minds of children that will make decisions for us in the future. Teach children to be compassionate and kind. They will change the world because you are determined to change the world, one child at a time.