Lots of research shows that sitting at a desk for a full class period can hinder student learning and engagement, and just sitting in front of a computer screen during the school closure crisis isn’t great, either.
Movement throughout the day helps students to re-energize their bodies and their brains, helping them to focus and concentrate better.
Research has shown that movement during the school day benefits academic performance and improves behaviour. In the same context, incorporating movement into your lessons keeps the students engaged and excited about learning. Movement in lessons will also help your students to retain the content more.
Let's have a look at some fun ways to incorporate movement into school days and lessons:
1. INTRODUCE MOVEMENT AT THE START OF YOUR LESSON
It is important to ensure that once a learner steps into a classroom they are present in both body and mind. A good way to do this is by integrating movement into the start of every lesson. This may be done by:
a) Starting your class with a call and responses message that is reaffirming and uplifting.
b) Creating a short dance sequence that gets the learners up on their feet and moving their bodies. This can be a short routine that may just involve learners using their hands and legs to form a rhythm.
c) Playing a short motivational dance-themed video.
2. INTEGRATE MOVEMENT IN YOUR LESSON
The movement goes hand in hand with music and rhythm, and rhythm and rhyme are useful memorisation tools.
a) First, learn the music track and then create a song or rap using the numbers as lyrics. Write the lyrics on the board.
b) Ask learners to close their eyes and recite the song/rap (the rhyming will help learners remember).
c) Now add the movements. On an eight-count, or on an eight-count with an off step (one and two and…), or in accordance with the lyrics. Take chunks of the movements and teach it in bits at a time. The movements do not have to be complex. They can be anything from bobbing from side to side to twisting around.
d) Practice it. Practice it. Practice it.
e) Take the lyrics off the board and then ask learners to recite them. f) Now your learners know their multiples.
3. USE MOVEMENT TO CLARIFY A CONCEPT
Occasionally, some learners struggle to understand a concept no matter how many times it is repeated to them. In these situations, a teacher must think creatively about other ways to convey their message. Movement is one such way.
This may be done by:
a) Using your body to physically convey something. For example, using your hands to illustrate how waves travel.
b) Asking questions using movement instead of words. For example, you could create a number system based on movements instead of numbers. Instead of the numerical value 'four ', you can use the movement of crossing your hands.
4. USE MOVEMENT TO IMPROVE CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT
For novice teachers and even more veteran teachers, the most difficult thing to master is classroom management. Good classroom management is more than just being strict or authoritarian, and it is more than simply being organised. Movement is a creative classroom management strategy.
The methods outlined below are a template which you can build on to integrate movement into your teaching:
a) After creating the song/rap that you will use to teach your lesson, add dance steps.
b) Practice the dance steps repeatedly without music. If the learners are doing it right the sounds emanated from the steps should be uniform. Challenge your class to do the routine seamlessly so that it sounds perfect.
You can also visit our YouTube channel to find great movement videos to use in class or even at home.