Moving and Shaking

A few weeks ago, an article was circulating the edu- blogosphere about a Learning Coach shadowing a student in preparation for her new job.  After reading this and doing a little self reflection, I started to think more about sitting as a student in my class. And decided to take a little action:

1. I bought 2 yoga balls as a trial for student seating.

2. I decided to make sure that EVERY class incorporates movement.

3. I decided not to gripe when I had to clarify the instructions to individual students, but just repeat it to the students, no matter how frustrated I may have felt.

4. As a tech coordinator, I want to do this same activity with the lens of looking at tech use of our students throughout a day or two.  (THIS ACTION WILL NOT OCCUR AT THIS TIME – Hopefully in January.)

Here is what happened:

THE MIGHTY YOGA BALLS (aka Bob and Bob)

IMG_2241 IMG_2242

After the “Bob Introduction and Expectations”, it has gone swimmingly with the yoga balls.  Most of the kids want to use them and I’ve really seen great improvements with some students who struggle with staying focused and/or sitting still too long.

MOVEMENT

This point resonated with me.  I think my class is engaging and there is a lot of movement when we are creating, but on other days, while I think the kids are stimulated and there is a lot of student let inquiry and activity, they are sometimes very sedentary.  So, I have decided half way through the class that the kids would get up and do something physical/fun and hopefully tied to our learning.   Last week,  I made up an activity called “Left or Right” where students had to move to the side of the room of the graphic design there were more drawn to (that was shown on the projection on the board).  They then had to justify their selections with turn and talk and full class discussions.  This week, the movement wasn’t connected so much to our learning, but did a great job of getting them off their computers, moving, interacting and having fun.  I did the 5-4-3-2-1 activity from Three Minute Brain Breaks and plan to use more of their activities.

Here’s a clip from the activity:

From my observations, they seemed like they were better able to focus and got a lot accomplished as they were inquiring and analyzing graphic designs for their current design cycle project.

REPEATING INSTRUCTIONS

Not listening is a huge pet peeve of mine (ask my own children)… And I too, like the teacher in the article, would get frustrated when I would have to repeat something I just said in the class.  While I make a conscientious effort not to use sarcasm, I’m sure my facial expression and/or my asking someone else in the class to repeat “What I just said” was equally as not nice.  So, I’ve just taken a breath and repeated the instructions to the few students that need to hear it again for whatever reason.  That’s why I’m in class – to help.  If I see kids not listen to the instructions well, then I take a more proactive approach and use more proximity control when I see them doing something else or whispering to a friend.

All in all, these three very little things have made a huge difference in my classroom the past few weeks.  I think one of the most important things about being a teacher is connecting with your students and making the content fun and engaging.  I need to make the knowledge and skills connect with them however I can.  That is knowing my kids and also making the content interactive and engaging for every kid, for every unit.  And, honestly, I think I get better at this every year, but I can always improve.