Thursday, December 12, 2013

Learning and Movement in Your Classroom

This post isn’t about being physically active or about me really, but about allowing opportunities for movement to your students.  You have kids in your room, who like me, need to be able to move in order to learn.  I remember one time I thought doing a cartwheel in my second grade class was a great idea, until my heel caught the skirt of my teacher’s skirt and ripped her pretty outfit.  

I still behave that way- just not with cartwheels.  I have urges to get up and stretch during a long meeting or get up and sway from foot to foot, while everyone else is happily sitting for hours.

Movement helps me construct ideas.  Ideas are crucial to my line of work and moving helps me think.  In retrospect, I have always been this kind of learner.  I need to move to be creative and problem solve.  I wonder if I would have been seen as hyper-active in today's classrooms?  Why is it that from third grade up we expect our kids to sit at desks all day in order to learn?  

According to, only a third of k-12 students engage in daily physical exercise.  Many studies have also proven a direct link between the part of the brain that controls cognitive processes also controls movement.  Furthermore, most neuroscientist are in agreement that cognition and exercise and connected.

Reading was an awful experience for me beginning in third grade.  And guess what?  That is when I remember that reading under tables or performing plays were no longer frequent happenings during reading class.  Coincidence?  I don’t think so.  

So the next time you are insisting on a child sitting still in order to learn, think of me in yoga attempting a flying bird pose (please, because I can’t do it yet) constructing ideas, problem solving and giving thanks for my life.  

In light of many budget cuts, less PE classes, and the rise of childhood obesity, take it upon yourself to incorporate all kinds of great moving and learning activities.  Maybe its time to have a non-desk hour a day, a yoga break, a running club, or a dance break.  Check out these iPad related ideas for including movement in your room! 

GarageBand  Despite the grade level, garageband can be used to create sound tracks.  With music comes movement.  Allow students to create their music through a jam session that they record.  Then allow them time to move to their music for a creative interpretation of character, setting, or theater.

Camera  Utilizing video capturing through the camera also is a great way to get kids up and moving.  Whether the end goal is an iMovie that is used as a book trailer, or a project for main idea, video can always be tapped to force kids to get up and move.

Task Completion and Free Choice-  Set your kids up with mobile assignments that can be completed anywhere and that give them choices.  It doesn’t matter if students complete their assignments at their desk or on the floor or on a school bus.  If you set them up correctly, mobile learning is movement at its core. 

Physical Activity Apps  There are several apps out there that track physical activity and calorie intake.  Create challenges and use some competition between classes to increase health awareness in your students. 

YouTube Karaoke- There are so many great songs now on YouTube that come with lyrics.  A karaoke break might be just the thing to wake your kids up and get them moving.  Plus they are reading!  Disclaimer: check out the songs before choosing them!  Rihanna might not be ideal for the school setting.  One Direction might work better! 

QR Code Scavenger Hunts-  QR codes can be created for almost any content.  We love because it gives you options for all kinds of content, and you can customize the color.  Posting QR codes around the building is a fun way to engage your kids and get them up out of their desks.  We have teachers using QR codes in math, science, social students, and reading!  

Written by: Jennifer Krzystowczyk

1 comment:

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