Walkabouts in an Elementary Special Education Classroom (South Carolina)
St. Stephen Elementary is a public school in Berkeley County School District in St. Stephen, SC, and serves roughly 300 students from Pre-K to fifth grade.
Brooke Malachowski is a special education teacher in South Carolina and has 4 years of instructional experience.
"My kids love Walkabouts. So that makes me love it."
- Brooke Malachowski
"For special ed, Walkabouts is amazing for getting the students active and engaged."
– Brooke Malachowski
Using Walkabouts with Special Education Students
Brooke Malachowski is a special education teacher with students in kindergarten to fifth grade. Instead of using a set curriculum, her students' IEPs guide the teaching and learning in her classroom. When she was first introduced to the Walkabouts platform by her district, she thought, "Even though it's not specifically for special education, I felt that it would be really beneficial to my students."
Engaging Strategy for Learning
According to Malachowski, "Walkabouts has a lot of great resources and covers many different topics. In my class, I have different grade levels, so I use the resources through all of the grade levels. Walkabouts gets students excited for learning."
The Walkabouts platform "is super engaging, especially for my students who don't always catch on to things immediately," Malachowski says. She explains that she teaches her students multiple strategies for learning new concepts and reviewing what they have already learned, and "Walkabouts is another strategy I give them."
Malachowski has noticed that some students even use Walkabouts' active movements when they are doing other classwork. She commented, "I may give them a math sheet to work on, and I'll catch some of them doing the Walkabouts movements while they're doing their math sheet. They like the fact that they get to get up and release some energy while they're doing their work."
Following Class Rules: Malachowski's students understand that if they want to be able to engage in Walkabouts, they must follow the rules she has implemented, including body control. She says, "They know the expectations, and they always seem to follow the rules."
Modeling Social Skills: Malachowski believes that Walkabouts serves as a good example for her students, "almost like a social story" they can follow. She likes how the avatars guide students through Walkabouts and model social skills such as interacting with and communicating with others. She notes, "A lot of my students have autism, so they need that social awareness."
Improved Academic Performance: "I've definitely noticed, more so in the area of math, that my students have grown" as a result of using the Walkabouts platform, Malachowski notes. For some of her students, Malachowski has seen a direct correlation between students' Walkabouts usage and higher scores in her data collection, specifically in math.