Use movement as part of your classroom culture in order to improve student focus and behavior to accomplish more throughout the day. Move and engage in more cross-curricular activities to improve student achievement. This article is an analysis of Lynn Pantuosco-Hensch’s article Make Movement Part of Your Classroom Culture, from NEA Today (August 2019.)
Lynn Pantuosco-Hensch is a professor in the Movement Science, Sport, and Leisure Studies Department at Westfield State University. In her studies, she has found that most students now take less than 5,000 steps per a non-P.E. school day.
Benefits of Physical Activity
It should be safe to assume that movement is good for students. Research suggests that more physical education, recess, and other structured activities can positively improve student academic achievement (CDC, 2015.) Classroom physical activity data has shown to increase cognition, memory, and recall.
Encouraging student to move around during classroom activities are also associated with social-emotional components of learning. These include mood, behavior, and stress levels. As a result, your classroom may also be easier to manage when introducing challenging concepts.
Making Movement Part of the Classroom Culture
Lynn Pantuosco-Hensch establishes that most teachers already incorporate sensory activities in which students move around the classroom. By doing these activities on a daily basis, they can be integrated into the daily routine. Additional recommended movement activities can be found at www.GoNoodle.com and www.brainbreaks.com.
Activities that require students and teachers to move around will feel the positive effects of physical activity. This energy should be recognized and led by the teacher. Be sure to celebrate and enjoy the observable experiences students are having.
Simple Strategies to Move More
Lynn Pantuosco-Hensch recommends that students should not just sit around. Rather, consider strategies such as standing up, walk and talk, keep count and take it outside.
When the instructional flow is right, have students stand up. In fact, allow students to use standing desks or move to different stations. This will increase student blood flow, oxygen intake, and muscular usage. As a result, students will use up more energy and burn calories.
Walk and Talk
When it is time for instructional activities that involve working in collaborative pairs, Lynn Pantuosco-Hensch recommends a walk and talk approach. Encouraging students to move from location to another in the classroom is a great way to get the creative juices flowing.
One way to gauge activity and improve movement within the culture of the class is to keep count. This can be done by providing students inexpensive pedometers, or cell phones with older students (when and if deemed appropriate.)
By tracking student steps they may be motivated and dare I say competitive. By keeping count of how much students move it will help them set goals and chart progress.
Take it Outside (If You are Able)
Finally, take students outside to learn. Students love a change of scenery and enjoy the fresh air. When students are outside you are able to engage them in activities that require gross motor skills. This opportunity allows for extra space to move around.
In conclusion, ultimately it should be an expectation that students receive some sort of physical activity on a daily basis at school. What is your moving checklist? With greater awareness of the importance of physical activity, teachers will be able to make movement part of their classroom culture and improve the overall educational experience of their students.
Pantuosco-Hensch, L. (2019, August). Make Movement Part of Your Classroom Culture. Nea Today, 38(1), 22.