It’s that time again! We’re heading back into our classrooms to start another year of learning and growth. I don’t know about you, but I love the freedom that summer gives me. I know our students do too. So as we head back into schedules, and structure, here are 5 ways you can boost thinking and productivity with a little movement in your classroom.
Movement allows our brains a break from the intense thinking and focus required in schools. It’s a chance to reboot, and even burn off a little of that extra fidgety energy. It can be a real struggle for many students to sit and focus. Give them a chance to be successful by adding some purposeful movement to the day.
1. Brain Breaks with GoNoodle
GoNoodle is a free website for brain breaks in the classroom. When signing up you’ll choose the grade level of your students, and GoNoodle will suggest videos for your students. There’s different categories of brain breaks, from yoga, to silly songs, dance parties and even exercise videos. Most videos are between 1 and 3 minutes long. I promise you have time for that! Every day after lunch our class did a calming yoga break. In the afternoons we usually danced some sillies out. We use GoNoodle several times every day. These brain breaks are an especially great way to ease back into school after summer break. Everyone will love moving with GoNoodle! Sign up now!
2. Jumping Jacks & Other Exercise
So, it’s first thing in the morning and everyone’s still asleep. It may be time for a quick exercise break. We use jumping jacks, stretching and deep breathing to wake ourselves up when we need to. While we LOVE GoNoodle, there’s some times that we really don’t have enough time, or I don’t want to totally lose the focus of what we’re doing. We’ll just stop, and simply do 15 jumping jacks, or do a series of stretches, then get back down to business. You might want to make a set of exercise ideas to draw from or let your students choose from.
3. Standing Tables
Last year I tried an experiment in our room. I brought a big screwdriver from home and raised the legs on this table so it was standing height for my students. It was a HUGE success! Students almost argued to stand at it (we’ll have two this year) and they even loved to sit under it. Research indicates that many people actually think better on their feet. Offering students this way to move freely while they worked had incredible results. I’d often see students moving from one foot to another or even jumping up and down while totally on task and engaged in their work. I highly encourage you to add some of these to your classroom!
4. Seating Choice
I do not have enough chairs for all my students to sit in. We lay on the floor with clipboards, sit on stools, stand at a table or even sit under a table. This year I also have two of these new wobble chairs, and I can’t wait to see how excited my new students will be. We work all over the room, and move from one place to another to be comfortable and focused as needed. I give this level of independence to my first graders each year, and they thrive. I think having ownership in your choice and comfort level as you work is extremely important.
5. Move Your Class Outside
It’s as simple as it sounds! Find a place to read outside or have a math lesson. Grab the sidewalk chalk and practice high frequency words. What if you drew a giant chalk bingo board and kids took turns using their bodies as the bingo markers? How fun would that be? The simple act of walking outside, even if it’s to sit and read, can be movement and excitement enough to re-engage your students!
Get moving with your students this year! You’ll really see a difference in their ability to focus and sustain tasks! If you’re looking for more resources on movement in the classroom you may want to explore this Pinterest board – Get Moving In The Classroom.
Feature image courtsey of Flickr, Pink Sherbet Photography.