January/February 2020 Issue
January 06, 2020

Sparking student joy with movement

Author: Liza Frenette
Source: NYSUT United
Share This Article...
kinesthetics demonostration
Caption: From left, Sarah Belile, Morristown Teachers Association, and Meagan Dupuis-Fregoe, Gouverneur TA practice playing “rock-paper-scissors” as a way to incorporate math with movement in the classroom. Photo by Andrew Watson.

Whether your students are visual, auditory, kinesthetic or more traditional learners, they can benefit from movement in the classroom, even during lessons.

Shelby Hosmer, a health and physical education teacher with the Clifton Fine Teachers Association, promotes simple energizers to help students improve retention and release stress. Making movement matter can begin with simple changes.

This year, Hosmer said, her school started an end of the day study hall, where students have the option of going to physical education.

Students who are active tend to see a reduction in depression and anxiety, have improved sleep, and are able to retain more information, Hosmer noted.

Their attention span will be heightened and their self esteem will increase.

Hosmer presented her session on kinesthetics during a Poverty and Trauma workshop held in Canton. Conditions of poverty lead many students to have limited food choices and reduced access to fresh, healthy foods.

Hosmer is concerned about obesity among the children she teaches.

Helping students discover the joy of movement can include creating a walking trail on school grounds, or getting grant money to purchase equipment for students to use. Being outdoors connects physical health with the restorative powers of nature.

Using a U.S. Department of Education grant, Hosmer was able to purchase bikes, snowshoes, cross country skis and geocaching equipment.

Subsequent, smaller grants have allowed for maintenance and replenishment. On weekends, fellow Clifton Fine TA member Trent Curry volunteers to teach middle and high school students how to bike.

The school recently received sleds, food processors and recess equipment through grants from the St. Lawrence County Health Initiative’s Creating Healthy Schools and Communities project, funded by the state Department of Health.

The school recently received sleds, food processors and recess equipment through grants from the St. Lawrence County Health Initiative’s Creating Healthy Schools and Communities project, funded by the state Department of Health.

Tips to get students moving

Have students stand up to ask or answer questions.

To combine math and movement, have students stand and do a “rock-paper- scissors” technique with each other.

The first student to say the total number of fingers thrown down will win. Switch partners, moving around the classroom.

Set up a sensory hallway using tape to make lines so kids can gallop, skip, hop or jump to different colors. In Clifton Fine, high school students designed the hall for elementary students.

Once a month have students walk a loop around the soccer field or track before school starts.

Have students stand up and start moving around class. Each student finds a person to follow around the room.

Eventually, students end up in a circle.

Institute a walking period. At Clifton Fine a daily walking period is held after lunch for students in grades 7–12.

One golden rule Hosmer advises: Don’t use access to recess as a punishment.

NYSUT Footer
Our Voice, Our Values, Our Union