Integrating movement in the classroom to get students ready for thinking and learning.

by Norman White

All Grades


I integrate movement in my classroom because I believe having kids get up out of their seats, and move around, prepares their brains for learning. Studies show that uninstructed breaks, and even instructed breaks, help children to be able to concentrate when it’s time to work.

I call the method I use the “Triple S” for Stand, Stretch and Speak.

I begin with a brief explanation of a topic (less than 10 minutes). Then we start the Triple S:

–First the students stand up and find a buddy near them. Together they do the assigned stretch (example, a side arm stretch).

–Next, they summarize what I’ve explained in my introduction to their partner. Then their partner does the same back to them.

–Finally, the students go back to their seats and write down their summary of what they’ve learned.

What I’ve found from this process is that students:

–Have better focus.

–Are able to summarize information in their own words, and therefore retain it better than if I’ve just said it.

–Often incorporate some piece of what they’ve learned from their partner’s summary.

Initially there were some challenges to incorporating this approach in the classroom–first my fear of losing control and having too much chaos with the movement in class, and second, the student’s discomfort with the unfamiliarity of the process. I had to learn to let go of some of my control and let the process dictate the best approach. I asked the kids for feedback about what they needed and modified accordingly. Within three weeks we had a successful format that worked for everyone.

About Norman White

Norman White has been teaching in Price George’s County, MD for sixteen years and has taught at every level from 1st to 6th grade. Serving as a mod...

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