We’re almost there, we can all feel the break just around the corner. It’s been four long months and the kids are feeling it too. I can’t tell you how many teachers I’ve heard mentioning that the kids just can’t sit still, they’re so ready for break!
Then, right on cue, the world started sending all sorts of awesome information at me about brain breaks (thanks Betsy!), the importance of movement in classes, and the implications of sitting still. I know that many of you agree that getting kids moving is important but the challenge is figuring out how to do that while still ensuring the learning you want to happen. I think the important thing to remember here is that, movement will lead to learning…perhaps substantially more learning!
If learning is our objective at school (I think we all agree that it is) then our classes are just too long for our kids to be stuck in their desks/tables for the duration, not to mention how unhealthy sitting can be. So how do we get our kids up and out of their desks?
My first recommendation is perhaps the most important piece of all when it comes to a change like this: Loosen up, relax, and allow your kids the responsibility to make good choices. This is going to be very hard! Sometimes, I’m sure you’ve already got a few kids in mind, this sort of responsibility is just too much to handle for certain students. In that case, they need to be given the chance to prove that they aren’t yet ready for the increased level of freedom. Similarly, this is going to be hard for you. Releasing that level of control is hard, I want to encourage you to do this slowly – no need to rush! That being said, give it a try.
Okay, so you’ve loosened up and you’re ready to increase the movement in your classroom. To get started, try some of these strategies or at least a version of them. In particular I like the musical chairs suggestion. This can function just like a “think-pair-share” or a “turn and talk” but it gets the kids up and moving, as well as talking to different people. It is a very “ready to use” strategy that will take little to no effort to incorporate into lessons. Doing this, even two times during a lesson will change the entire dynamic of your classroom!!
If you’re still not convinced I encourage you to have a look at this article. A lot of the research floating around right now has to do with younger kids BUT I guarantee that these ideas would be good practice for middle and high school age kids. Get them up and moving, they might think it’s silly and resist at first but take the risk and you will see the results!
Finally…dance parties are fun for ALL ages 🙂
We’re a week away from a much deserved break, hang in there! Give some of these strategies a try next week or when we come back in January, I am confident that you will find that the learning opportunities increase the second you start implementing more movement into your lessons.