As many of you notice, when your child is at home, he or she enjoys spending a large amount of time plopped in front of a screen, texting or staring at their phones, or plugged into video games. Then, at school, there are often times when students are sitting for an extended amount of time. As a recent college graduate, sitting and listening in class was an ineffective way of learning for me. I was not engaged, nor was it always conducive to my learning. This is why I believe movement should be integrated into the learning process.
When a student is physically moving to understand or demonstrate their knowledge, it shows their engagement, which leads to excitement about learning. Research has proven that movement raises the level of understanding, especially in math. Sian Beilock, a professor of psychology at the University of Chicago, said, “We understand language in a richer, fuller way if we can connect it to the actions we perform.”
Learning should go beyond what is written on a paper or shared aloud in class. I try to incorporate movement activities into my lessons at least once a week. I have witnessed the large amounts of enjoyment, engagement, and development in my classroom by doing so. For example, when learning about adding and subtracting positive and negative number, my students went above and beyond when asked to physically show me how to do this on a number line. Here is an example:
Instead of having the students practice multiplying positive and negative numbers in a traditional way, I asked them to form the answer together without talking. This showed me a lot about the students, and made us laugh a lot! The students had so much fun with this activity and even asked if we could always do fact practice like this.
Not only is the incorporation of movement proven to have academic benefits, but it is fun for both the teacher and the students. The more fun, the better the learning environment!