How do I get my students up and moving during instruction? How do I ensure that all of my students are engaged and learning? How do I make learning more fun?
Yesterday, I was the sub for gym class during one class period, and it opened me up to a whole new world! We played hockey, and while I’m still not completely sure that I understood the rules, I had a whistle, so I had a load of fun!
Because the kids were running, moving, talking, racing, and competing, they were so engaged in this hockey game. It blew my mind! They were all working so hard, yet having so much fun. What better way to learn! I truly believe that middle school students need to move in order to best learn. While sitting at a desk period after period can make your students easily become bored and lose focus, movement enhances their learning experience so much and makes what they are learning memorable.
While many days there might be more information that I need to get across in my classroom as compared to a gym class, my ultimate goal is to have my classroom be a space like what I saw in the gymnasium: we might get a little loud, but we laugh, we have fun, we compete, we move, and we are so engaged. I want these elements so that my students can be learning to their best potential, and I’m guessing that you do too!
There are several activities I do in my classroom to get my kids up and moving. Here are my top three favorites:
Station Rotation– Whenever I see a worksheet coming, I instead create questions on separate pages to post around my room. Because I have my students practice skills at stations so often, I have numbers posted on my walls around my classroom. This makes it easy to manage because my kids know exactly where to go when I declare that it is station time. My kids lovingly refer to this activity as “the whirlpool game” because whenever I want them to switch stations, I yell “whirlpool!” Who doesn’t love a swimming reference?! See this freebie on my TPT store, where you can download my pre-made station numbers: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Station-Numbers-Freebie-4477703
Punctuation Pilates– Okay, so I know that this one is ELA-specific, but it could totally be modified for any multiple choice activity in your classroom, regardless of the subject area. In my Language Arts classroom, I wanted a fun game to get my students up and moving while practicing punctuation skills. I taught my students some “Pilates” poses that represented different punctuation marks that would be missing in the sentence. In the game, when I post a sentence on the board that is missing a punctuation mark, my students show me what mark should be inserted in the sentence by representing the mark with the pilates pose. My students were stretching, dancing, laughing, and most importantly learning! Plus, it was an easy way for me to quickly assess my students’ grammar progress and understanding without having a pile of papers to grade! I’d love for you to check out this activity on my TPT store here: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Punctuation-Pilates-Game-4478792
4 Corners– This fun activity is great for any subject. Many times, I allow my students to work on an assignment in their table groups. But, because I think it’s important for them to talk with other members of the classroom and get up to move, I simply count them off by 4 and then instruct them to go to the four different corners to talk with different classmates about their answers. While they might only be up and moving for a couple of minutes, those minutes are truly important and beneficial to my antsy middle school students. Whenever it’s time to bring them back together, they are always ready to re-focus since they got a break from their desk!
Movement in the classroom is so crucial to student learning. What other ways do you get your students up and moving? Share below!