Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Movement in the Classroom

A blog I follow on Facebook recently shared this article: The right- and surprisingly wrong- way to get kids to sit still in class. It is a follow-up article to another piece the author wrote in which she explained the dire need for movement and exercise during the school day. This new article details all the "wrong" ways teachers are trying to incorporate movement into the classroom, such as short movement breaks, sitting on exercise balls, or working while standing instead of sitting.  She states that students really need to play, not just get a little bit of movement here and there.

Photo: AP Photo/Matt Rourke

I absolutely agree that students need to move more, and that doing so would improve many students' attention spans.  However, I think that integrating movement into the classroom rather than always separating it (as seemingly recommended by the author) is a fantastic idea! I actually think this builds healthy habits they can carry with them later in life. When they're college students cramming for an exam, they'll know they need to take periodic breaks to refocus because they've been doing "brain breaks" since they were in elementary school.  I personally LOVE brain breaks and am definitely guilty of using that terminology when I need a break from lesson planning! The author disparages such alternative seating such as exercise balls or seats with bicycle pedals, but again, I think this is a great idea! I always allow my students to stand if they prefer, and I've recently looked into getting pedals for their desks.

All that being said, I think it's critical that students be allowed a full recess, enrichment classes, and extracurriculars.  However, I think we should be encouraging movement in the classroom too, not just taking an all or nothing approach. What do you think? Do you build in movement throughout your classes?

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