You’ve seen the symptoms of a disengaged student: wandering eyes, shifting in the seat, kicking the table leg, disturbing the neighbor. Maybe you remember what it was like to be that student. With scheduled recess time at a historic low and fewer opportunities to release pent-up energy on the playground, students are even more prone to distraction.
In blended learning classrooms, giving students the opportunity to move around can be especially difficult. Computer labs are often set up with adult-size equipment, and students are expected to stay in one position, usually seated, to focus on the screen. Fortunately, the creative instructors and administrators at our partner schools are brilliant at incorporating movement into blended learning! Here are six of our teachers’ favorites:
- Wiggles and Giggles. At the halfway point of class, a teacher selects three students to lead a “Wiggles and Giggles” session of stretching and light calisthenic exercises.
- Two-Minute Sprint. On the way back to the classroom from the computer lab, Ms. A releases the kids outside for two minutes to either walk or run a couple laps around the playground before they move on to their next instruction block.
- GoNoodle.com. When students seem ready for a break, Ms. P loads one of GoNoodle’s interactive dance or athletic videos on her screen and spends three minutes moving to the music with her class.
- Exercise Ball: The New and Improved Chair! One of our teachers recently swapped out traditional metal chairs for exercise balls. With the students better able to move around naturally, their attention improved.
- A 2-in-1 Incentive System. Another one of our awesome teachers has a visual tracker for her Reasoning Mind incentive system on the front wall of her classroom. Anytime a student successfully completes a goal, she is allowed to silently leave her seat to mark her name on the tracker. This encourages students to monitor their own progress and stretch their legs during the class.
- Good old-fashioned bathroom break. Especially for younger students or if a class comes straight from lunch or gym, it makes sense to take a few minutes to resolve any human needs. Students who are constantly getting up and requesting permission to leave the room can be distracting. Sometimes it is easier to have everyone go and return together as a class.
Post by Jill Mailing, West Virginia Implementation Coordinator