I remember when I was in college and began my “teacher” courses. Every course I took was exciting and I seemed to be able to grasp every concept easily. There are some people in the world who are natural musicians or artists and I discovered my gift was understanding teaching. I knew where I belonged. I was so enthusiastic about everything; they practically had to tie me down.
I also remember one particular course where we learned about learning styles. Through this course, I identified what I had suspected all along about myself. I am a kinesthetic learner. I need to move. While others could sit still for hours, I learned best by pacing and moving my arms and adding movements to concepts. So, guess what happens in my classroom…
We get up and move!
Throughout the course of a day, my students are moving. Admittedly, the beginning of the year is a time of establishing procedures, rules and routines, but by mid-year, it flows like butter. Transitions in our room are seamless. We know how to gather materials, wait for a friend to finish before we try to get our own things, set ourselves up to work, (define our space) and most importantly, monitor our learning mood.
I stress the importance of being aware of an internal barometer. We check in with ourselves. We ask ourselves: How long have I been sitting? Do I need to stretch? Have I had anything to drink to stay hydrated? Am I feeling frustrated? My students learn self-awareness, which facilitates more success.
Through this self-assessment, the students can make changes to monitor their own learning. For my students with attention issues, this need to move can make all of the difference between a successful and frustrating day. They feel in control.
During a lesson, I will often ask the class to stand. Sometime I ask them to sit on their desks. Once I even asked them to sit backwards! Students need to move! This is not to say there aren’t times where we are still and focused on a task intently. My goal is to provide opportunities to allow for different learning styles and help them determine which one identifies them.
So, if you come into my classroom, you may be surprised by the high level of activity with me moving along with them.