How Movement Impacts Learning and Why Students Need it More Than Ever Scott McQuigg Asking young students to sit still, listen, focus, complete assignments, not talk, and enjoy learning… all at the same time? We all tried, and it didn’t work. Thankfully, our education vocabulary is shifting with words like blended, personalized, kinesthetic, differentiated, inclusion, culture, learning stations, project-based, game-based, soft skills, grit, student-centered, makerspaces… and the list could go on. Among dozens & dozens of teaching philosophies, there’s a common thread. Students succeed when we think strategically about how they learn, and the world they live in. One crucial aspect of this is movement. One new study out of the University of Illinois shows a link between cortical thickness (sections of gray matter within the brain associated with maturation), fitness, and math scores. An earlier study from 2012 used fMRI technology to monitor oxygen and blood flow in the brain while kids think, pay attention, and thwart distractions. For more check out:
Waking the Brain with Morning Stretches You might remember a few weeks ago when I wrote about my take away from the Kagan training that I attended and how I was planning to Refocus Our Classroom. One of the big ideas that I touched on was waking up the brain through big muscle movement. So this month for the Bright Ideas link up I am sharing how it is going. The short version is that it is amazing! The long version isn't all that long, so I will share it with you. Each morning, after our class meeting, we do a series of stretches. To perform this stretch you simply start by reaching your right hand across the midline of your body as far left as you can while simultaneously stepping your right foot back. Then you repeat with the left side and say, "Cookies!" The first time we did this I chose milk and cookies, but now each time we name two items to say. I have found that by doing this each morning it helps all of us to wake up and be in a better mood to start our learning!
edutopia Doris Lessing once said, “Any human anywhere will blossom in a hundred unexpected talents and capacities simply by being given the opportunity to do so.” My wife and I experienced what Lessing described through a process with our third-grade girls as they were struggling with a multiplication math standard (3.OA.4). The girls were getting stuck in a couple of areas regarding the standard, and were developing negative feelings about math and about themselves as mathematicians. Lesson 1: A Numberless Word Problem Although the girls weren’t interested in learning the standard, I knew that if I found the right problem, I could pique their interest. Molly the zookeeper has 24 bananas to feed the monkeys. For the girls to access our problem, I used the Notice Wonder strategy, which asks a student to address these questions: “What do you notice? Before the girls engaged in looking at the problem, I needed a few more supports in place, so I modified a foldable sheet known as a diamond paper.
Why Crossing the Midline Activities Helped this Child Listen to his Teacher - Integrated Learning Strategies As I think back to the time when I was in kindergarten, I realize how much has changed. What was once naptime, coloring, painting, and running around the playground at recess, is now a place for reading, writing, sitting still in your chair and an introduction to math facts. Even preschool is now more focused on academics and many of them tailor their lesson plans to higher learning subjects that normally wouldn’t begin until kindergarten or first grade. While this push for greater academic achievement is good in theory, we are now seeing digression, even negative consequences in our students’ learning capability because their development is being pushed too far too fast. One of my students in particular came to me with auditory processing issues because his parents couldn’t figure out why he wasn’t retaining the information he was learning in the classroom. Ethan’s parents are not alone. Sensory Processing 101: Why All Parents and Teachers Should Read Sensory Processing 101 Leg Kicks
5 Tips for keeping kids active throughout the day | Teacher's Notebook Blog It doesn’t take many weeks into the school year before you start noticing a change in your students. Gone is the excitement generated at the beginning of the school year when learning is fresh. Now, students are struggling to stay on task. To boost engagement, give your learners ways to stay active throughout the day. According to the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, being more physically active offers many benefits to classroom children. Take brain breaks Every 30 minutes or so, aim for movement in your classroom. Ditch the chair The traditional classroom chair may be doing more harm than good for your students. Incorporate music and storytelling Add music to your classroom, and give kids permission to take “dance breaks” when certain songs play. Storytelling is another way to get kids moving. Active review games Are you reviewing concepts or math facts with your kids regularly? Consider “Pop Goes the Answer.” Send them outside About the author:
Could subjects soon be a thing of the past in Finland? Media playback is unsupported on your device Finland has long been renowned for the quality of its education and always scores highly in international league tables. Now it is rethinking how it teaches in the digital age - seeking to place skills, as much as subjects, at the heart of what it does. But not everyone is happy, and there are fears it could bring down standards. It is a chilly morning in a remote village in southern Finland, but the thoughts of this class of 12-year-olds are elsewhere - in ancient Rome. Their teacher is taking them through a video re-enactment - shown on the classroom's interactive smart board - of the day Mount Vesuvius erupted and destroyed the city of Pompeii. In groups they take out their mini laptops. They use 3D printers to create a miniature of their Roman building, which will eventually be used as pieces for a class-wide board game. This is a history lesson with a difference, says Aleksis Stenholm, a teacher at Hauho Comprehensive School.
3 Genius Tricks for Using GoNoodle as Bait What is more motivating than a classroom dance party, yoga break with Maximo or ninja training session with Koo Koo Kanga Roo? Christy and Tammy from Fluttering Through First Grade know just how to use GoNoodle to keep their students on track, motivated and engaged. Check out their genius ideas for integrating GoNoodle into their classrooms, and be sure to hop over to their blog at the end for a special GoNoodle giveaway! Raise your hand if your class loves GoNoodle? It’s no secret most classes who try it, quickly become obsessed with GoNoodle Brain Breaks…And as long as we aren’t telling secrets, their teachers kind of love it too! As teachers we recognize the need for our students to move. We gathered some GoNoodle swag together and used our noggins to keep them noodling. Here’s what’s working for us… We used the GoNoodle Champ Stickers to create a little motivation in our class pocket chart. We also like to get our class involved in picking our breaks so there is major brain buy in.
Energizing Brain Breaks: Toe Tapping Energizing Brain Break Toe Tapping 1. Stand Up.2. Face your partner.3. Both you and your partner put out your right leg and tap your right feet together 1 time and say "1" out loud.4. Tap your left feet together 3 times and say "3" out loud.5. WHAT ARE ENERGIZING BRAIN BREAKS?
2 WAYS TO TEACH AND LEARN MATHS - A Learning Place A Teaching Place Richard R Skemp believed that children could learn intelligently from a young age. He defined two ways of teaching and learning which he called Instrumental Understanding and Relational Understanding. The attached paper by Skemp explains this much better than we can, but to summarise: Instrumental u nderstanding means a child knows a rule or procedure, and has the ability to use it. Examples of rules and procedures include, but are not limited to: • finding area by multiplying length by width, • algorithms for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division,• changing the sign on numbers moved from one side of the equals sign to other. Other examples of instrumental explanations can be easily found on other websites. Relational understanding means a child knows what to do and why. Maths abounds with related concepts. Skemp identified the short- and long-term effects of teaching and learning instrumentally and relationally: The Australian National Numeracy Review found that Research:
TRANSITION TIPS & BRAIN BREAK IDEAS TO INCREASE ENGAGEMENT We all know that lengthy periods with immobile kiddos spells trouble in the classroom - decreased engagement, behavior problems, heads on desks, and countless other undesirable outcomes. Well, with the wet weather coming and the standards kicking into high gear, here are a few movement/transition ideas that just may be the ticket for you and your crew. STANDARDS-BASED PE GAMESWe all have standards to cover . . . why not mix it up with a little movement while you are at it? This one is pretty easy to implement if you think outside of the box just a bit. Here's my backstory on this one. I am all about using music in the classroom to help further understanding and break up lessons. I’ll spill the beans a little here. This may sound stupid, but I pull these out in a pinch on more than occasion each year. KOO KOO, MR. Okay, so we all have those moments when we need to liven things up or eliminate wiggles without ANY sort of prep. Well, there you have it.
20 Three-Minute Brain Breaks Wednesday's guest post about why kids need to move from pediatric occupational therapist Loren Shlaes was so popular that I decided to follow it up with a list of Brain Breaks you can use with your students. These are great to use anytime your students are feeling restless and are struggling to pay attention. Most of these will only take a few minutes, and then you can get back to the lesson with your students ready to focus on the lesson at hand.5-4-3-2-1. In this simple game, students stand up and the teacher (or leader) has them do five different movements in descending order. For example the teacher would say: "Do fivejumping jacks, spin around four times, hop on one foot threetimes, walk all the way around the classroom two times, give your neighbor one high-five (pausing in between each task for students to do it).Trading Places Have students stand behind their pushed-in chairs. Please note that I did not come up with all of these out of my own head.