Research continues to confirm what many of us already know: Too much sitting comes with a barrage of negative health consequences. A sedentary lifestyle can contribute to obesity, a slower metabolism, fidgety behavior, trouble focusing…and the list goes on.
Dr. Ali McManus, an associate professor of pediatric exercise physiology at the University of British Columbia in Kelowna, recommends children should stand up and move around every hour. Here are a few strategies to integrate more movement into lessons.
Students explore texts or images that are placed around the room. Teachers will often use this strategy as a way for students to share their work with peers, examine multiple historical documents, or respond to a collection of quotations. Because gallery walks require students to physically move around the room, it can be especially engaging to sensory learners. Place texts on the whiteboard or walls and have students rotate around the room in small groups.
Bodysculpting is one strategy to help students debrief material that evokes strong feelings. Nonverbal forms of expression can be an effective medium for students when they are trying to process powerful emotional content that is difficult to put into words. Bodysculpting fulfills this by requiring students to represent ideas through body-positioning.
This active strategy gets students up and moving as they answer questions or express their opinion on certain topics. It works like musical chairs. Pick a topic, have students number off in small groups, begin the music, then when the music stops each student must find their group members and answer the prompt.
Have students line up along a continuum to represent their point of view. This strategy is especially effective for issues in which students have a wide range of opinions and encourages students to express their point of view to their classmates to determine their place on the barometer. The barometer activity is a great precursor exercise before an essay assignment because it introduces many different arguments.
This fun strategy is perfect for reviewing vocabulary or preparing for a test by assigning students a word or concept and letting them act it out in front of the class. Again, it’s all about standing up and moving.
For even more teaching strategies encouraging movement around the classroom, visit facinghistory.org. How do you incorporate more movement throughout the school day? Share in the comments what’s worked for you and your students.
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