MOVING HELPS LEARNING:
WE NEED TO MOVE TO LEARN:
EASY WAYS TO GET STUDENTS MOVING TO LEARN:
I’m lucky to teach with some creative and inspiring teachers who use lots of active learning in their classes. One physics and math teacher has a trunk full of toys and games that get students moving as they learn about the principles of physics. If you walk by his class on the right day, you might even witness students in egg throwing contests. His most popular game, though, is in his math class, where enthusiastic students play “Sig Fig Says” to learn about significant figures. Another math teacher has a chin up bar hanging from the ceiling so students can take action breaks, and a biology teacher has exercise balls for students to sit on so as to better engage their core. Others have taken students paint-balling to re-enact battles in WWII or the feud between the Montagues and Capulets. The students in these classes clearly have lots of opportunity to move to learn. But do you have to go to great lengths to get your students’ bodies and brains moving? Do you have to spend hours thinking up crazy lesson plans and field trips? No, because there are some very simple ideas that you can use every day. Here are some of my favourites:
3. If you’re comfortable letting them leave the room, send them for a walk ‘n talk as they discuss their ideas. Send them in pairs or small groups for a walk around the school, or outside on the school grounds.
4. If students need to answer questions on a text: post them on pieces of chart paper that you will tape up in various locations in your room—use the hallway too, if you can. Students can move around from question to question with their notebooks to answer the questions. They can do this individually or in groups.
7. If you need your students to learn or practice skills: set up learning stations. Instead of giving them a long handout on how to write an essay or how to include research in their writing, break the process into small steps and have them do an activity at each station. For example, station one might have an exercise that teaches them how to write a thesis statement, station two might be about transitions, etc.
8. If you’re working on debating skills: write debatable questions on several pieces of chart paper. You will need one for each side of the topic. (For example: School uniforms should be mandatory and School uniforms should not be mandatory). Ask students to choose a topic and stand by the sheet that represents their views. They can write their reasons on the paper, and then they can take turns having an informal debate.