Friday, September 30, 2011

Children Love to Move!

Most learning in childhood is done through movement so why not use a child’s natural learning style as a method when teaching?  Yes, there are auditory and visual learners also.  This seems to speak mostly to the intake of information and how that intake is preferred.  When it comes to processing (learning) the information the majority of children process that information through movement. Be it fine (small muscles involvement) motor movement or gross (large muscle involvement) motor movement.

Using movement in the classroom as a natural method in the practice of teaching has multiple benefits for the teacher as well as the students.  Allowing students, even requiring them, to actively participate in movement based learning can decrease behavior problems (a plus for the teacher) and allow students time to process information, increase blood flow to all parts of the body and brain, and give them the opportunity to re-focus (plus for the student).

When students have the opportunity to move and process information it helps them to decrease stress and anxiety levels, as well as promote self-awareness and social interaction. It also helps to build a sense of community within the classroom.  In turn teachers ‘notice’ a decrease in behavior management issues and find they have ‘more’ time to teach.

For teachers, start small. Add one movement based activity to the subject you love to teach the most. Experiment. Build on it and as you become more comfortable with students moving (with a purpose) in your classroom ‘notice’ if time management increases and behavior management decreases.

For parents, support the teachers as they experiment, expand, and experience this addition to their tool kit of lesson presentation.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Withholding Recess as Punishment

A New School Year is a GREAT time to try some NEW  Behavior Management Techniques.

With the increasing rate of obesity in the US why does withholding recess as a means of punishment continue? Why keep students from going outside and getting rid of some of that pent up energy?  The students who are unfocused / misbehaving the most are the students who need some physical activity. Movement not only helps with focus immediately following the activity time it also allows the brain some “down time” to process previously taught material. Students will come back to class more ready to learn.

With all of the research supporting physical activity as having a positive impact on cognitive development, social success, and stress relief one would think that more time for recess and activity would be promoted!  I came across some great ideas (about 60 as a matter of fact) on a site called Peaceful Playgrounds

Many of the ideas and suggestions I found on this site are a great beginning for new teachers developing classroom management programs as well as for veteran teachers faced with increased academic demands and who have experienced the effects of decrease recess time first hand.