One of the biggest hesitations that teachers have to getting their students up and moving seems to be that the students get so wound up that they have trouble calming back down and starting to work again. Some students definitely need more time or instruction on how to transition from movement time to work time, however the benefits of being active throughout the day are crucial to student’s attention and learning.
This week I had the pleasure of working with Elissa Cooper from Theraplay Pediatric Services.
When students are active in many of our movement activities it is focused on alerting the students using large vestibular movements which produce fun, high energy activities. To assist the students in regulating to an optimum learning level, it is important to end with incorporating smaller, more focused movements.
Within a classroom movement activity it is crucial to incorporate 3 main parts:
Vestibular – Alerting, high energy movements
These are many of the games, dances and activities that you are probably already doing to get your students up, moving and having fun. Check out previous blogs for some more fun movement ideas and resources.
Proprioceptive – Organizing, heavy muscle work
These are activities such as yoga, plank, slow motion movements (running, squats, etc.), and chair push ups that slow the body down and make the students more aware of their movements, balance and surroundings.
Tactile – Deep pressure paired with deep breathing
This is where students can focus on themselves, their breathing and prepare them to focus on the upcoming task.
Without each step many students are only able to handle the vestibular movement but then tend to have trouble getting ready to work. The proprioceptive work is important to start the “ slow down ” process, as well as being aware of their bodies and how they move, whereas tactile is needed to refocus the brain.
Download a document created by TheraPlay with more information on movement.
The following video is from Cheyney Kirzinger’s grade 1 class. She has them do one of their favourite videos from Go Noodle, then moves into slow motion running and squats, and ends with some deep breathing at their desks.