Don’t teach, take a tour!
Turn your teaching materials into learning stations, your learning stations into a tour, and your students into tourist. If you already have slide shows, textbooks, websites, maps, charts, etc., you are one step ahead and ready to plan a walking tour in your classroom.
Walking Tours are learning stations set up around the classroom where students research specific information on one topic. Students become tourist as they travel to each station, analyze sources, and answer guiding questions. This is the perfect activity for any history lesson but can be used in all subjects.
Are you ready to put some pep in your prep? Our tour to making lessons come to life is about to begin.
It’s easy as 1, 2, 3…
STEP 1: GATHER AND ORGANIZE SOURCES
Congratulations! You now have the opportunity to use all of those articles, images, websites, short videos, charts, quotes, PowerPoint, and games that you’ve collected throughout the years but never could find the time to squeeze into your lesson.
- Print important slides from a PowerPoint.
- Categorize sources into topics such as Establishing a Colony, Establishment of Jamestown, and Growth of Jamestown.
- Laminate, laminate, laminate!
- Include a variety of resources.
- Include a technology station with videos or websites.
- Give students background information on the topic or use a topic that you need to review.
STEP 2: CREATE A TOUR GUIDE
- Create a “Tour Guide” sheet with guiding questions or writing prompts for each station.
- Use questions from your Scope and Sequence or assessment as guiding questions on the “Tour Guide”.
- Divide students into “Travel Groups”. These groups will rotate to each station, analyze sources, and record information on the “Tour Guide” sheet.
- Set a timer for each rotation. Be flexible! I never seem to time this perfectly on the first round.
- Interact with the students as they travel to each station.
- Students love to talk! Make sure it’s accountable talk.
STEP 3: SET UP STATIONS
- Timing isn’t everything, but it sure can mess up everything. Try to organize the same amount of information at each station to avoid having too much extra time at a station. If one station includes a long video or lengthy article, another station can include a short article and several images to analyze.
- Label or number each station. Create a sign for each station and label the guiding questions accordingly.
- Location: Be creative! Use bulletin boards, desks, hallways, sides of cabinets, under a table, side of teacher’s desk, on the teacher’s desk, computers, iPad station, reading center…options are endless.
- Space the materials where all students in the group can view.
Get to steppin’ with this fun walking tour of Jamestown:
HOW TO ASSESS THE WALKING TOUR:
I, personally, despise grading a bunch of scribbled short answers, so I created a brochure template aligned to the “Tour Guide”. Students use the information gathered during the walking tour to complete the brochure. I use this teacher-friendly rubric to grade.
You are all set for your tour! Please leave feedback below to share your experiences.