How to incorporate more movement into your classroom
We’ve all been there. Whether it was sitting through a long lecture in college, being confined in an aisle seat on a long flight, or enduring a long and tedious meeting, we all know how boring and miserable it can be to sit still for long periods of time.
Of course, the last thing we need our students to be feeling in our classroom is miserable and bored! Lack of physical movement in the classroom can not only reduce student engagement, it could also impair their ability to learn effectively, and be detrimental to students’ health and well-being. The good news is, incorporating more movement into the classroom can be easy and fun!
Want even better news? Adding more opportunities for movement throughout your lesson plans could transform your classroom! An abundance of research shows that movement can…
- Improve memory retention and increase focus
- Boost creativity and problem-solving skills
- Reduce stress and anxiety
- Foster a positive classroom community
Those benefits sound a whole lot better than a class full of bored, sedentary kids! This post will show you some easy-to-implement ideas to help you start adding more movement into your classroom right away. Let’s get moving!
Let’s Keep it Simple
Incorporating movement does not have to mean you need to roll out the yoga mats, dim the lights and ensure everyone is in the proper downward dog position! It can be achieved by simply altering a few of your classroom routines. Instead of passing out papers, place them in locations around the room where students have to get up out of their seats to grab what they need. The same could be said for classroom supplies.
Another simple hack could be incorporating movement or hand gestures when learning new concepts or vocabulary terms. If students are prompted to use meaningful gestures to accompany new words or concepts, research shows that their ability to retain that knowledge increases. In science or social studies class, for example, students could come up with actions to represent the different branches of government, or the human body systems. After they have the definitions mastered, you could play some of the following games with task cards over either of those topics!
Make the Old New Again
Take a quick inventory of all the task cards and flashcards you have on hand (I bet it’s a lot!). Why not try something more active instead of just having students partner off with the person sitting next to them when they review? Here’s a couple of options that will add movement into the day and serve as cooperative learning activities:
If your task cards feature answer choices , you can assign answer choices to each corner of the room.
Read or project the task card, then ask students to move to whichever corner of the room they think is the correct answer. We’ve got tons of task cards like this in the Think Tank store, covering a variety of subjects and topics! Check out this breakout task cards game about Ancient Rome.
This is a great way to review and gives students a chance to get up and stretch their legs. If you allow them to do so, this is also a great time to mingle a little bit and chat with their peers about which answer to choose. These conversations encourage students to reflect and reason about their answer choices.
Quiz, quiz, trade
Another great game to play with flashcards or task cards! This one is simple but it effectively gets students up and out of their seats, and moving around the classroom, all while reviewing key content!
Here’s how it works. First, distribute a card to every student, then ask them to partner up.
Quiz: Partner A reads the question, then Partner B answers. If incorrect, Partner A should provide the answer.
Quiz: Partner B then reads his or her question. Partner A answers. Partner B provides correct answer if necessary
Trade: Then, Partner A and Partner B swap cards and find a new partner!
Again, the Think Tank task card breakout sets are perfect for this activity!
Collaborative Learning Activities that Incorporate Movement
Remember when we mentioned that incorporating movement to your classroom into your classroom comes with a whole bunch of benefits like increased engagement, improved focus and memory, better problem-solving, creativity and more? Then doing an active, problem-solving based activity like an Escape Room or Scavenger Hunt must be a double whammy!
Activities such as these get kids up and moving around the room all while collaborating with peers and using critical thinking. When it comes to Escape Rooms such as this Constitution Escape, you can ensure that kids get out of their seats first when they move to a different area of the room with their group or partner. Then, you can place the decoders in different locations for them to find and use to solve their puzzles once they’ve read their clues and reading passages!
A Scavenger Hunt, like this Lewis and Clark one in the Think Tank store, is designed so that students must work together in a “cake bake-off” to determine the missing ingredients of a recipe. Place the 14 ingredient cards around the room so students have to piece together the recipe to win the bake-off! Each ingredient card includes a short reading passage, a multiple choice question and a clue that will send them to whatever ingredient card they should visit next!
Students love these activities because they don’t have to do a boring worksheet that keeps them in their seat for the whole class period. You’ll love that your kids will be reading and learning about important topics in your curriculum, all while having fun, staying active, and using important problem-solving skills.
We hope this post has given you some easy-to-implement ideas to help you incorporate more movement into your classroom! Even some simple tweaks can yield great results.
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