Incorporating Purposeful Movement into Science Content Instruction
Shift to the classroom setting where much of the day (especially in upper elementary and middle school classrooms) is spent sitting at a desk listening and/or taking notes. Why not find ways to incorporate movement into instructional activities in an effort to improve student comprehension and overall concentration?
Although there are many opportunities for students in my STEM class to participate in hands-on activities or move around the room as they collaborate, there are also days when the lesson is pretty teacher centered. I have had to be creative when I plan for these lessons so that I can get students up and moving and refocused.
One strategy I incorporate regularly is the Kagan strategy Mix-Pair-Share. In this class building structure, students "mix" around the room while I play music. When the music stops, they partner up with the person closest to them and share their ideas or answers to a question. I love how this gets my students thinking, moving, and talking to each other about topics that we have been learning about. It also ensures that each student has a chance to share their ideas. Everyone is engaged in the discussion instead of just a handful of students.
Finally, every teacher recognizes that students aren't able to focus on content learning every second of every day. Even as an adult, I find my mind wandering and my attention drifting during especially long meetings. Using physical activity breaks in the classroom helps students get ready to learn and remember information better.
I use the activities in this set of Brain Breaks for Bigger Kids to get my students up and moving. To refocus them. To encourage them to think in a different way. To reward them for good behavior. I will even leave the cards for a substitute teacher as "filler activities". (My students LOVE that if they complete the assignment given by the sub they can have a brain break at the end of class!)
What other ways do YOU find to incorporate movement into your lessons?