Have you noticed that this time of year, more than any other, your students seem to get a little antsy?
The need to move could be attributed to many things, and the itch for physical activity seems to permeate the fabric of classrooms all over. Author and researcher Eric Jensen devotes an entire chapter in his book Teaching With the Brain In Mind to discussing the relationship between Movement and Learning. Rather than fighting against the wiggles, consider using a strategy that capitalizes on the benefits of incorporating movement to enhance learning.
This month, we highlight how the Spotlight on Strategies can provide meaningful opportunities to get up and move as part of the learning process. Share how you’ve used these or other strategies in the comments.
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Visual Walkabout provides students with a sneak peek of the content in an upcoming unit. Teachers can prepare for using this strategy by collecting and printing a series of content-related images. These images are then displayed in the classroom. Students walk around the classroom gallery, making connections and asking questions at each image. This strategy gets students moving, encourages them to talk with one another, and provides opportunities for teachers to assess prior knowledge and address early misconceptions.
See how your DEN Friends have adapted Visual Walkabout in their classrooms.
Partner Time exposes students to a variety of opinions and make connections with a variety of classmates. Students initially set up 12 different partnerships on a Partner Time clock. The teacher prompts students throughout the lesson to get up and move to a designated partner. The teacher then prompts the partners with new information to read, discuss, or other activities to engage in.
Conga Line encourages students to talk with one another and incorporates movement to stimulate thinking and participation. Teachers prepare for this strategy by previewing media and identifying discussion topics or prompts. Students create two lines that face each other, with students matched up all down the line. The teacher provides discussion prompts and the students move through the conga line, talking with a new partner each time the prompt changes.
Hook ‘Em gives students a fun way to revisit content addressed during a lesson. The teacher prepares for using this strategy by writing content-based questions on paper fish. Students use a fishing hook to “catch” questions or problems they must solve. This strategy hooks students into practicing what they need to know in a fun play-based way that is engaging and fun.
Take a Walk provides a simple way for students to process material through movement and discussion. After watching a video segment, students walk and talk with a partner or small group about what they’ve just learned. Doing this supports higher-order thinking and increases the likelihood that students will retain material.
Act It Out involves students in the creative use of movements, routines, or dances to illustrate new learning. After interacting with curriculum-based video or reading materials, students work together to identify key information and then develop actions to represent them. This helps students reinforce their own learning and gives them a fun and creative way to communicate it to others.
Get in Line helps students arrange a collection of events or items in order, a critical skill that crosses all disciplines. Students become the items and work together to arrange the items, which provides them with opportunity to move and to discuss and negotiate with one another. Repeated exposure to content also helps students retain facts and information, which is an added bonus!
Music Video encourages students to strengthen their visualization skills. Students individually create illustrations to represent lyrics from a curriculum-based song, then gather in groups to share their illustrations, displaying them in the correct order as the song is played.
The QR Code Graffiti Walk strategy gets students moving, talking, and using QR code technology to access digital media. Teachers prepare by creating QR Codes that point to specific media selections related to content students are studying. The codes are displayed on posters hung around the classroom. Students work in small groups to visit each poster, leaving comments and insights as they move.
Snowball Fight is a favorite, game-based strategy that encourages students to determine and communicate the big ideas from a selected digital resource. Students write the big ideas on paper before crumbling the papers into “snowballs”. The teacher facilitates a snowfall fight, allowing students to toss their snowballs across the room at one another. Students open up the snowballs, read responses, and add comments of their own before the snowball fights starts up again.
See how your DEN Friends have adapted Snowball Fight for their classrooms.