Classroom Movement Matters:
How to Get Your School’s Minds and Bodies on Track
The research continues to pour in: Classroom movement matters. The benefits of a healthy lifestyle are a natural, wonderful consequence. It’s the school-related bonus, though, that should have principals and school leaders pumped. Study after study concludes that students who move more during the school day are able to focus better, stay on task longer, and learn more. Sounds pretty great, right?
What do you think has held your school back most from classroom movement?
“Your students will be able to reset their brains, and it will result in more attentive learning.”
While research shows movement—even just 5 minutes up from their desks per hour—provides greater learning, improved behavior and focus, it’s just not always that easy. But with great challenge comes great reward…solutions!
“I am under immense pressure to focus on core academic subjects. I have to keep a log of the time my kids spend focusing on reading, math, science, etc. [for my principal]. Because of this, I just don’t feel that taking valuable class time for movement can be justified.”
–M.K., third grade teacher
Get Moving Solution:
Learn the Benefits.
Principals worry about numbers. We get that. But there’s mounting evidence that even just a few minutes of movement per hour does not have a negative impact on academic success. One study even showed students that took daily physical breaks had significantly higher fluencey scores in reading and math and on standardized tests.
“I’m busy. Like, really busy. During the school year, I often work 50-70 hours a week with a large part of that being developing my lesson plans. …It’s hard to find time to fit in one more thing, even if that thing is important.”
–R.J., seventh grade teacher
Get Moving Solution:
Don’t Make Them Plan!
Imagine the look on your staffs’ faces when you ease the burden of adding to the TO DO list a whole lot of nothing! Share with them the ideas from the below infographic on easy, no-equipment needed ideas for classroom movement. Encourage the staff to come up with new ones and share with each other. Check and check. Well done, administrator.
“My darling students—love them as I may—just don’t always have a firm grasp on the boundary between fun and Crazyville. How do I kow that classroom movement won’t throw them over the line?”
–S.W., first grade teacher
Get Moving Solution:
Lay Down the Law.
You’re in an admistrative role, so it’s time movement curriculum comes from the top down. There are behavior expectations and conquences during math class—the same rules apply to a classroom’s allotted time for movement. Encourage teachers to front-load the class with expectations. This isn’t playtime, it’s an important part of their work day. (It just so happens to be a heckuva lot of fun too).
Five Minutes Per Hour…Can You Commit? So Many Possibilities!
Five minutes per hour. Think of all the creative and academic greatness that can be achieved with just five devoted minutes to movement! That math? It adds up to 30 extra minutes of movement in a 6-hour school day—that’s 150 minutes a week. Your staff and students will see and feel the difference. Game. Changer.
Here are some of our favorites…
DO THE WAVE
Take a cue from sporting events at “inning” breaks. Between coursework or switching rooms for classes, do a classroom wave.
DANCE PARTY DAYS
Designate a special day (Fridays? Student birthdays?) Periodically throughout the day, play up-tempo songs so students can show off their moves.
Students mimic various sports movements for 15 seconds. Serve tennis balls, bump volleyballs, block a jump shot, catch a football. Endless possibilities!
PLAY ACTIVE ROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS
Assign movements to rock, paper and scissor. Students pair up, jump three times in place, and then choose their position. Best of three wins.
TAKE A WALK BEFORE TESTS
Lead the class on a short walking break to unwind and increase focus.
Call out a spelling word, then toss one student a ball to spell it. For faster throwing, toss the ball with each letter so it’s a group effort!
QUIZ IN MOTION
Review for a test by asking students true or false questions. If true, students do jumping jacks. False? Students touch their toes. Mix the movements each session.
PUMP BACK(PACK) IRON
Use students’ backpacks like kettleballs for basic arm curls and raises with one or two books inside. Great for the end of the day when they’re packed up!
Staff Skeptics? Have Your Team’s Back and Make it Happen, Captain.
One fourth grade teacher says she was worried that if she transitioned to 5 minutes of movement between subjects, she would lose too much valuable instruction time. But she found just the opposite. When she began working movements like jumping jacks during transitions, her kids stayed on-task longer.
Applaud your staff’s efforts. Discuss what works and doesn’t work on their classroom watch. Lead with an open mind…this is a team effort!
“Cultivate a “we’re in this together” mind-set in your school. Students will love seeing that physical activity is beneficial for people of all shapes, sizes and ability levels. Your teachers will appreciate your dedication and passion for the cause.”
Is classroom movement a regular part of your schools daily plan?
And Now for a Little Video Inspiration…
Pass it along to your teachers. Play it at the next school assembly. No matter when or where, your school community will be inspired to move it, shake it, get up (and get down) with YouTube star MyLifeSuckers’ hilariously fun original rap.
Burn excess energy. Re-focus their attention. Find out how your teachers can get students’ bodies and minds ready to learn with all the great classroom tools and resources from Moving Minds!