10 Ways to Get Your Students Moving and Learning

10 Ways To Get Your Students Moving And Learning - Tips - Blog SKOOLGO

Learning should not be a static activity! On the contrary, most people learn better when their body is in motion. Staying seated for long periods is actually an obstacle to learning, so why do we keep having our students stuck on their chairs for hours on end?

“Sit and don’t move!”: remaining in a seated position has actually been used as a punishment for a long time. Therefore, we need to change the way we organize our classrooms and our activities in order to have our students moving. PE class and recess should not be the only moments when kids get the chance to walk, jump and dance!

You have heard about kinesthetic learners, the ones who need to move in order to process and learn better, as opposed to visual learners who need to see and auditive ones who need to listen. Moving actually benefits everybody and it helps both the body and the brain: it gets the blood flowing to your head and stretches your muscles.

Professional chess players are a great example of the importance of moving. During their 5 or 6-hour games of high concentration, they often stand up and take a few steps to stretch but also to take some distance and think differently. Moving is indeed recommended for creative thinking. Besides, the great majority of chess players practice a physical activity, which goes hand in hand with their demanding intellectual activity. “Mens sana in corpore sano”, a healthy mind in a healthy body, this is what every child should aspire to.

What Are the Benefits for Students of Moving Inside and Outside the Classroom?

What Are The Benefits For Students Of Moving Inside And Outside The Classroom? Tips - Blog SKOOLGO
Photo by Yan Krukau from Pexels

1. It Brings Oxygen to the Brain

According to L.T Benjamin, “when the lecture begins, most students are paying close attention . . . [and] for most students that attention lasts for about 10 minutes.” Loss of attention is one of the main reasons for academic failure. In their book The Movement and Technology Balance: Classroom Strategies for Student Success, Traci Lengel and Jenna Evans explain that “90 percent of the oxygen in the brain and body becomes stale, reducing the amount of glucose available to the brain.” Lack of glucose can lead to tiredness, attention deficit and also behavioral problems. By doing a little bit of exercise, we allow blood to circulate and bring oxygen to the brain.

2. It Produces “happy” Hormones.

Exercise is known to generate the secretion of endorphins, which make everyone feel happier. Therefore, it helps with the children’s well-being and disposition to learn by reducing feelings of stress, sadness or anxiety. It also helps with improving the quality of sleep.

3. It Offers a Change in Perspective

When you move, you see the world from a different place. Therefore, it forces you to think things differently, it activates your creative and critical thinking, besides breaking monotony.

4. It Helps With All the Cognitive Functions

Moving is not only important, it is absolutely essential for a good functioning of the brain. Attention, memory, visuospatial skills and executive functions all physiologically benefit from exercise. Many studies show that breaking prolonged sedentary positions at school or at work improves brain capacity.

5. It Brings the Whole Class Together

Studies have shown that movement in the classroom increases students’ participation, motivation and attendance. Besides, students feel like they belong to a group, they have fun and this enhances their social-emotional skills.

10 Great Ways to Get Your Students Moving

10 Great Ways To Get Your Students Moving - Tips - Blog SKOOLGO
Photo by Yan Krukau from Pexels

1. Start the Day by Waking Bodies Up

More and more teachers begin their class with a little bit of soft exercise. And they keep doing it, because they have seen the benefits in their students…and themselves! Try to vary your morning routines with different kinds of stretching and remember it’s still morning: don’t get too intense!

2. Roll the Dice and Move!

A good example of physical activity you can do between lessons is the following Roll the Dice activity. Rolling dice and following instructions adds a fun and unpredictable ingredient to the routine. So get ready for anything: frog jumps, run in place, jumping jacks, arm circles and even dancing!

3. Prepare an Activity Box

Just like the previous activity, you can add some randomness by filling a box or a jar with fun instructions that include movements that can be done in a reduced space.

4. Create and Practice Your Dancing Moves

Kids love dancing, well most of them anyway! Teachers can dedicate a few minutes every day to build a choreography in which every student participates by including a specific move. You can work with a specific song that kids love and improve the choreography every day.

5. Try Simple Yoga Positions

Yoga is a complete physical and mental activity that leads to well-being. You can try to achieve an easy yoga position everyday.

6. Mix Gym and Math

Ask your pupils to work in pairs facing each other, Then ask them to do between 2 and 10 specific moves. The first pupil makes the move a certain number of times and the second one does the same afterwards. Then, they have to add, subtract or multiply both numbers.

7. Have Breathing Sessions

Math, English and science are really important subjects, right? But what about breathing? More than important, it is vital. Breathing is a natural thing, yet we don’t seem to breathe properly. Having kids concentrate on their respiration will help them bring oxygen to the body and brain.

8. Run Challenge

Get your students to run a marathon! Not in one day, of course, but over a certain period. You can have a specific track or route that you have measured. Run a little bit every day and add the distances until you finish the 26.2 miles (or 42.195 kilometers)! This is not a race against each other but a personal challenge.

9. Spelling Bee With a Twist

You can organize a spelling bee with two or three teams of around 10 pupils. The only thing is that they don’t actually have to spell the word, but to represent the letters with their body! They have to position their body in the correct position to form all letters of the word: a fun activity to move the brain and the body at the same time!

10. Walk and Talk

Just like the philosophers of the Peripatetic School in ancient Greece, have your kids walk and talk at the same time. See which spaces in the school you can use to have them do pair work or debates.


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