Movement & Learning in the Classroom

Educators have long known that movement helps children learn. Science backs that up. According to researchers, movement during instruction improves all facets of students' brain functioning.   
Just check out this fact...

Something as simple as stretching increases oxygen to key brain areas, and can help keep students focused and on task.  If we as educators tap into our students' natural desire to move, imagine what we can do for their learning.  Fortunately, infusing movement into the classroom isn't that challenging.  Read on for some simple-but-fun ideas that I’ve compiled from some favorite resources.

Rather than standing at the head of each row or small group to pass out papers, put the materials in strategic spots around the room. When it’s time to use them, have the students get up and get ‘em themselves!

OK, you already know that I'm nuts about learning centers/stations, so it's no surprise that I'm sharing them as a way to incorporate movement into the classroom.  Not only are learning centers a great way to tap into the way students learn, they also encourage movement.  Kids are up and moving after each center. That means that they're getting more out of each center.  How cool is that?

After a sedentary activity like watching a video or reading a chapter, have students draw fifteen circles on a blank piece of paper.  Inside 3 of the circles, have students write down something that they learned.  Then, challenge students to move around the classroom and share the ideas in their circles.  While sharing, they should write down any new ideas from their peers in the other circles on their paper.  Challenge students to fill all 15 of their circles before you call time. Moving, mingling, & learning!  Easy!

We ask students to answer questions all the time in our classroom.  Sometimes it's fun to incorporate movement into something as simple as reviewing for a test or going over the content from the previous class period.  It's easy to do if you tack a movement task onto each question that we ask.  For instance, while you're going over the characteristics of civilization, you might have students also "give you 5" jumping jacks or laps around the classroom or even push-ups. I love incorporating movement in my classroom with "give me 5" because often students that resist answering questions get more involved because they'd like to accept the movement challenge.  Gotta love that!

So, there you have it, just a few ways to get students moving and learning. What do you do to incorporate movement into your instruction?  Feel free to share in the comments below. 

Thanks for stopping by,

Mary Beth

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