Friday, July 11, 2014

The Boy Friendly Classroom: Making Time for Movement

Welcome back friends to my series about boys in the classroom!  Last post I shared some of the startling statistics and research about what's happening to our boys.  I also talked about why it's a matter near and dear to my heart.  Today I'm going to explore one of the first tried and true ways to keep your boys engaged: make time for movement!

It's no secret that things like recess and specials have fallen by the wayside in our country's current high-stakes testing environment.  There's probably not much you can do about the fact that your kiddos are lucky to get 1-2 short recesses a day (when research shows they need significantly longer to engage in play and develop self-regulating skills) and maybe go to gym 2x/week (because it's not like we've got an obesity problem in America or anything).  THOSE are topics for another day.  Today I want to talk about you and me and focus on what we can do as teachers in our classrooms!

Get moving and grooving!  
In general, it's good to remember the minutes per age rule: as many years old as you are equals how many minutes you can give your undivided attention (or less in my case!)  I love the brain visual below:

Knowing these facts, be prepared to break up your direct instruction with brain breaks or other movement-related instructional strategies.  Be strategic and purposeful- for example, we always take a brain break in between our calendar routine and morning message.

You can also write your brain breaks on popsicle sticks and stick 'em in a cute jar, or hang them together on a word ring.  It's great to have these handy for days when your computer's not cooperating!  I love these EDITABLE brain break cards from All Students Can Shine.  They are adorable and affordable!

Put the active back in your activities!
I love this quote from Kelley King...

Truer words were never spoken!  :)  Here are some ways you can keep your kiddos moving, grooving AND learning all at the same time:

If you're interested, I have a handy dandy bundle of math surveys you can use with your class through all the year:

Try alternative seating!  
You don't have throw away all your ugly old chairs and spend tons of money on those super-awesome stability balls- be strategic!  During what time do your kids have to sit the most throughout the day?  Can you find a taller table to use as a standing station for those that want to work standing up?  Can you do something different for your guided reading chairs?

Head more to the great outdoors!  
Take the learning outside and have fun in the sun!  Relax and enjoy eating lunch or snack outside sometimes.  Take a quick walk for a brain break.  There are also lots of great things to learn from nature and lots of ways to incorporate math, science and literacy activities outside.

Respect Recess.  
I could not be more serious about this one!  There are many alternatives to the classic "sit out and think about it."  

I hope this post helps you get some fun ideas for great ways to incorporate movement more in your classroom!  I'd love to hear any thoughts or suggestions you have to share!  You can grab the suggestions from this post in a quick tip-sheet by clicking on the image below (I'll be adding more to the file in the near future!):

See you this weekend with a new Saturday Sweet and Sunday Steal!  :) 

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