Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Hopscotch--It’s just a Game…or is it?

Last summer I read an article called ‘Why Hopscotch Matters’ posted on, which I linked to from @movingsmart. This post did a fantastic job of breaking down why playing hopscotch is good for children. What first caught my attention was how this game helps midline development. In other words by hopping on one foot a child develops more concrete connections between the right and left hemispheres of the brain, which in turn have a positive impact on learning, creativity, and social development. The rest of the article convinced me that this ‘game’ should be brought back to our school.
Last weekend, my husband and I painted two hopscotch courts on the playground for the students to use during recess and this week students are learning how to play hopscotch.  I wasn’t sure how well this ‘new’ game would be received especially by the boys, but so far everyone has been captivated.
As I supervise students practicing the hops and jumps, and watch the personal interactions between students, it’s as if I am watching the “wheels” turn as they preplan motor movements for themselves and anticipate what the other students are doing while completing the course.  One student reached the number 5 and the other children who were waiting their turn began clapping and congratulating that student for doing well. High fives all around!
The looks of concentration and even frustration turned to smiles of accomplishment and confidence as each student began to master the different skills necessary to be successful.  

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Teaching Kids to Be Healthy

The following link will take you to 'Action for Healthy Kids' . There are many great articles, event listing for our State, and ways to get involved. There is also a link to Face Book so you can keep up to date with what's new with 'Action for Healthy Kids'

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Taking Away Struggle Takes Away From Victory

About a year ago I purchased a kayak, one large enough and sturdy enough to use on larger lakes and rivers.  I have become accustom to its handling on the water and feel very comfortable and safe in the changeable weather conditions. I have not (as of yet) filled the kayak with excessive amounts of water nor tipped out in any depth of water.  With the weather and water being so warm of late I decided that it might be a good time to practice remounting the kayak from deep water. 

This past week, my husband and I were out on a nearby lake that had a sandbar about 200 yards off shore.  This sandbar also happened to be the gathering spot for other motorized boats and swimmers (people we knew). So, we decided to paddle out to visit with some of our friends.  We tied our kayaks off on one of the other boats and swam and visited.  When it was time to leave and since we were already in the water we decided to practice getting in our kayaks from the water (neck deep water-over our heads).
We told our friends we were going to do this and no (thank you) we didn’t want help.  As our friends watched our attempts to get in the kayaks from the water I could see their discomfort grow.  After the first couple of failed attempts they asked “do you want us to hold them for you?” I replied “no, that this was part of practicing getting back in”.  They continued to watch and I watched them.  Their discomfort with our failed attempts was growing with each attempt.  They began to offer suggestions and again offered to hold the kayaks for us. 
On several occasions I was so close to getting in and at the last moment I would over adjust and go over the top and into the water again.  I was actually having fun with this practice and was OK with my errors.  I was tweaking my technique and knew that I would get back in some how.  My husband was the first to get back in his kayak and I followed shortly after.  We got a standing ovation from our friends in the boat and it felt really good to be successful and to have their support.
As we paddled away I thought about how we as parents do this with our children.  We want them to be successful and not to have to struggle or experience possible embarrassment. What we need to remember is that the practice can be fun and if it is fun they will continue to practice until they get it right or at least to a level of performance that they are comfortable with.  If we take away the struggle, we also take away their victory. 

It would have been so easy to give in just to alleviate their discomfort of not being able to help.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Integrative Movement Camp - Summer 2012

Integrative Movement Camp - Summer 2012

Could your child benefit from:

*  Physical Activity?
*  Academic Readiness in Reading, Writing, Math, Test Taking?
*  Focused Attention?
*  Self-Challenge?
*  Developing positive relationships with peers?
*  A love for learning new things?
*  Self-Responsibility?
*  Organizational Skills?

Your child will be introduced to simple, effective ways to help them move forward in reaching their full potential by improving the sensory foundation for learning in hands-on, research-based activities

For Students going into 2nd - 5th grades

Register your child for 1, 2, or 3 two-week sessions to be held at Douglas Elementary School
269 Randolph St. Douglas, MI 49406

____Session 1     July        10, 11, 12, 17, 18, 19
____Session 2     July        23, 24, 25, 30, 31, Aug. 1
____Session 3     August    7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16

Time:        9:00 am - 11:00 am           Cost:     $120.00 / per 2 week session

If you would like a registration form or have questions? please contact
MaryAnn Short

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Are We Missing A Key Element in the Learning Process?

For students who struggle in school academically we provide Reading RTI and Math RTI in an attempt to fill the gaps.  The key to improving learning may rest with Movement RTI.  Children who are behind physiologically are often the ones who struggle academically. There is no standardized test for movement so it is believed there is no reason to spend time with this aspect of child development.  In fact we cut out time for movement both structured and unstructured to make time for remediation.
Research has established a direct correlation between physical development and cognitive development. Most children must first go through the appropriate stages of growth and development physically before true learning can take place.  If we supersede this progression with unrealistic (though well meaning?) expectations we short circuit the process and we miss the opportunity to help children develop the critical thinking skills necessary to acquire a love for learning that will last a life time.