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Teacher: Jodi Palmer who teaches at Windermere Elementary School in Columbus, OH. Jodi Palmer can be contacted at jpalmer@uaschools.org.

Name of Best Practice: Walk Around Ohio

Rationale/Purpose of Event: To motivate kids to be physically active and to incorporate geography along the way.

Suggested Grade Level: 3-5

Materials Needed: Area to walk, large map of Ohio (or your own state), push pins, photos (can be found online)

Walk Around Ohio

The fourth grade teachers approached the special area teachers to integrate with their year long study of Ohio. I discovered that the bicentennial committee for the state of Ohio commissioned a person to paint the bicentennial logo on 1 barn in each of the 88 counties in Ohio. This was my inspiration!

We would "visit" each of these barns by accumulating miles in P.E. class. This would familiarize each student with the 88 counties (which was an emphasis in the 4th grade curriculum) and give them a landmark to remember. I began by obtaining a permission form from each student to leave the school property to "walk" around the neighborhood to accumulate miles (supervision while leaving school property is easy if they all stay together)!.

We walk two laps around the block (.6 miles each lap) one day a week with each class. On the other day of P.E. class the students jog laps in class and keep track of them in their fitness log. We then add each students mileage together to accumulate miles fast! We are averaging two barn "visits" per week. We average 20 miles per week per class (3 classes x 20 = 60 MILES per week!). I created a bulletin board using a large map of Ohio showing each county. I then downloaded pictures of each barn (all 88!) mounted them on construction paper and laminated. I then used a Web site to find out the mileage between each barn by typing in the address of each barn.

When we reach a barn, I place a push pin in the county and attach it to the picture of the barn. We then discuss the barn, where it is, and then set our goals for the next week. The students are very excited about this project and it's all I can do to keep them from running the 1.2 miles everyday! We hope to "visit" all 88 counties by the end of the year. The winter weather will slow down our outside walking opportunities, but we'll still accumulate miles through our indoor jogging.

This project is great for this year (being the bicentennial year), but I am excited to change it from year to year.

Variations:

I have already planned next year's walk, we'll "visit" historic landmarks in each county. This unit can be used in any state, with any amount of counties, "visiting" all sorts of places. Other ideas I have are: state parks, court houses, famous people, etc.

Teaching Suggestions/Tips:

Keep students close together while leaving school property.

Gather all information about your "visits" in advance to insure a successful walk.

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Posted on PEC: 11/18/2002 and has received 77 votes.

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