Get Active in May

6416165319_0f6152fccb_zMay is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month and we want get your students moving. We all know the health benefits of physical movement, but equally important are the learning benefits. Students pay closer attention and often retain information better. It can be difficult to carve out time for extended playground or gym time when there is so much to cover academically. So here are some tips for weaving physical activity into your student’s daily routines.

  1. Act out the lesson. You’ve probably tried this one, but acting out a concept can really help students connect with the information. For example, when teaching revolutions, rotations, and orbits of planets, ask students to get up and move around the room like Saturn or Earth around the Sun. You might also ask students to recreate a scene from a book they are reading.
  2. Teach numbers while counting out the number of jumps or pushups students make or another physical activity they can count.
  3. Reinforce the concept of grouping and numbers by having students walk around the room in no particular pattern. Call out, “Groups of ___” and have students organize themselves into groups of that many. If any students can’t find a group, they have to do 5 jumping jacks.
  4. Call out a time of day, like 2:00 and have students show the position of the arms on a clock using their arms.
  5. Get students moving as they rotate from student to student asking each other yes or no questions to guess a science concept they have been assigned, like the water cycle, or a character from a book they represent. This could be used for a variety of subjects.
  6. To practice spelling, place multiple copies of cards with the letters A-Z on a table. Give one of the class spelling words and call on a group of students to spell the words with the letter cards. Each student holds a letter that is in the word and the group arranges themselves to correctly spell the word in front of the class. Ask the remaining students to correct the word if necessary.
  7. Instead of having students raise their hand for responses, get them up and moving. Ask them to move to a certain part of the room, or point to the ceiling, or clap their hands to respond.
  8. Take a brain break during a prolonged lesson or before a test or quiz. These are short 1 to 3-minute activities that give students a mental break and gets them moving.
    • Do a yoga pose.
    • Scrunch down into a ball and reach for the sky as high as possible. Do arm circles, touch toes, and some deep breathing.
    • Give students a series of tasks to do such as fist bump 5 girls, touch the west wall with your nose, and then wave to 3 classmates wearing red.
    • Have students create a rainstorm. Begin by asking students to rub their hands together, snap their fingers, clap their hands or slap their knees, and finally stomp their feet on the floor. Then have students to the same actions in reverse until the “rain” stops.


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