NEWEST Publication By Dr. Gillian Judson

The Walking Curriculum is an innovative interdisciplinary resource for educators K-12 who want to take student learning outside school walls. Walking Curriculum activities can be used in any context to develop students’ Sense of Place and to enrich their understanding of curricular topics. Based on principles of Imaginative Ecological Education, the 60 easy-to-use walking-focused activities in this resource are designed to engage students’ emotions and imaginations with their local natural and cultural communities, to broaden their awareness of the particularities of Place, and to evoke their sense of wonder in learning.

Teachers in urban, sub-urban, and even in rural areas, often have little imagination-focused curricular resources that can develop students’ sense of ecological understanding and contribute to their understanding of the mandated curriculum. This resource can help to fill that gap. Through walking we can enrich our students’ sense-making abilities, we can enhance their very being and, as we go, we can seed with meaning the contexts in which they spend so many hours learning.

In the 60 walks described in this resource you will see a variety of themes, perspectives, and motivations. For example, students may be asked to find different things (such as shapes, spaces or lines, evidence of growth or change, “the best” hiding places), to change perspectives (imagine being a beetle, a detective, or a visitor from outer space), to encounter the world differently (emphasizing one sense over another or moving through space differently), to seek evidence of human-nature relationships, to identify patterns, or to locate natural or human systems in action.  In all cases, the intent is to broaden students’ awareness of the particularities of Place. The activities are designed to: engage the body, emotions, and imagination in ways that can increase students’ familiarity with the local natural context in which they go to school; increase students’ attention to detail and their attunement with Place; connect Place-based learning activities with cross-curricular goals; and serve as examples for your own, Place-inspired teaching ideas.

Introductory chapters provide a rationale for the Walking Curriculum and describe the underlying educational philosophy it reflects. Detail is provided so you can prepare to use the resource as well as extend and enrich your students’ learning. The walks themselves are divided into three sets: The 30 walks are paired with guiding questions and an imaginative activity or prompt to engage students’ emotions. These are the easiest walks for you to employ; they require little direct teaching or guidance ahead of time. They are readily adaptable for students of all ages. The second set contains 15 walks requiring some direct instruction and guidance; they will work better if they are properly introduced and contextualized. The final set of 15 walks is specifically designed for High School students and reflects interdisciplinary curricular outcomes.

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