There is overwhelming evidence that when children are physically active, they learn better, stay more focused and appear happier. So it confounds scientists that the typical school day still consists of sitting quietly to learn. Teachers complain that if they let students move regularly, they have trouble keeping order and accomplishing what they have set out to teach. If movement in the classroom can lead to more learning, better understanding and faster information-gathering, we should use integrated learning to improve achievement.
Break Learning Up With Movement in the Classroom
One way to bridge the gap between movement and instruction is for teachers to insert movement breaks after every thirty minutes of academic learning. Just five minutes of movement in the classroom can lead to a marked improvement in focus during the next thirty minute period. This encourages integrated learning because students are using their whole bodies and both sides of their brains, creating more balanced learners. Some teachers find using websites such as Go Noodle help keep students engaged and physically active, creating more dendrites in their brains and improving their ability to learn.
Design Learning Activities With Physical Movement in Mind
Another way to incorporate movement in the classroom is to deliberately build active learning strategies into lesson plans. One great way to do this is by becoming a more kinesthetic teacher and requiring students to stand up and use certain poses in order to answer questions. In this way the pose and the answer to the question become the focus of the learning, not just raising a hand or blurting out an answer. This is also a great way to teach strength and stamina, in much the same fashion as practicing yoga.
Using Kinesthetics to Showcase Different Learners
Once teachers begin to use more kinesthetic strategies in the classroom to help kids move as they learn, they also help some kids shine in new ways. Children who are allowed movement in the classroom may be able to learn things they previously struggled with because they are more adept at movement. Using all parts of the body and brain to learn may the best path to differentiated learning.