Use These Resources to Bring More Movement to Your Classroom
Science is now proving what physical educators have known for some time: It is essential to keep students moving during the school day.
Interested in making your classroom active, but not sure where to start? Read on for resources that will help you add more movement to your students’ daily routines. Your class will enjoy it, and so will you!
Read up on the science behind the movement.
Numerous resources exist to help you add physical activity to your classroom. For starters, check out Mike Kuczala’s book, The Kinesthetic Classroom: Teaching and Learning Through Movement, which is based on scientific research and contains activities that any teacher will find practical to implement, as well as John Ratey's Spark: The Revolutionary Science of Exercise and The Brain, which describes the benefits of exercise on the brain.
Both books are considered “must reads” for any educator, especially for those looking to add movement to their classrooms.
Explore sample activities online.
Innovative educators from around the world populate the Internet daily with new resources for incorporating movement in the classroom. Want examples? This set of Middle School Energizers from the East Carolina University Activity Promotion Laboratory provides tons of specific activities that can be adapted to any subject, the Jammin’ Minute contains movement routines lasting one minute each, and this episode of The Whole Child Podcast discusses how to encourage in-school movement in more than just phys ed class.
Mike Kuczala even has a group on the free app Voxer called “The Kinesthetic Classroom,” where you interact with him and other educators from around the world who are also implementing movement into their classrooms. Also be sure to check out his TED Talk about teaching and learning through movement.
Don’t reinvent the wheel.
There is no need to revamp your entire curriculum. Start small by kicking off each class with an energizer activity, or perform a brain boost in the middle of the class period. Also pay attention to certain content areas that might be more conducive to physical activity. For a specific example of how one health educator changed a typical lesson into a kinesthetic one, see how Andy Milne taught his class about STIs.
With gradual changes, movement will eventually become a consistent part of your classroom routine. Students will arrive to your class excited for the opportunity to do what their brains are telling them to do: Move their bodies!
NOTE: I’ve been using the term “brain boost” instead of “brain break” ever since I read this post by Justin Schleider. Check it out!