As we enter the 2020-21 school year in either a social-distanced classroom or a virtual classroom, one of the many concerns I have is the lack of movement or gross motor activities that students will be able to do.
The CDC recommends that children and adolescents ages 6 to 17 years do 60 minutes or more of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity daily. However, less than one-quarter (24%) of children 6 to 17 years of age participate in 60 minutes of physical activity every day
This school year students will not be able to move about the classroom freely due to social distancing requirements and may have restricted recess. Virtual learners may be required to sit in front of a screen for long periods of time.
I wanted to create a way for students to get up and moving while learning so I created activities that require students to show their answers to questions by doing movements instead of just saying or inputting their responses.
Students can safely do the movements while social distanced in the classroom. They can stand by their desk or spot in the classroom to perform the exercises.
They can also do the movements while virtual learning. I love that it gives them a much needed break from sitting!
Here is how they work:
Explain to students that instead of saying their answers, they are going to show their answers by doing specific movements.
Introduce the movements to students by showing the movement pictures on your whiteboard or share your screen during a Zoom Meeting. Have students practice each movement.
Show students the questions on your smartboard or by sharing your screen in a Zoom Meeting. Read the question and point to the answer choices for each movement.
For example, say something like “Which is the matching lowercase letter? If you think it’s this one do arm circles. If you think this is the correct lowercase letter march in place. If you think this is the correct lowercase letter touch your toes.”.
The visuals beside each answer choice show students how to do the movements so learners of all levels can participate (even nonverbal students).
If you are virtual learning, share your screen in Zoom Meeting. Be sure that side by side mode is selected so you can view students doing the movements (Under Settings click the Shared Screen Tab, click the Side by Side Mode check box). The student pictures are blurred in this picture for privacy.
Students do the movement that is next to their answer choice.
Look to see what movements students are doing.
You will be able to look and see which students know the skill by what movements they do, how fast they do them in response to the question, or whether or not they are looking to see what the other students are doing because they may not know the answer.
Show students the correct answer.
The activities are self-checking. Click the slide after students do their movements to show the correct answer (a green check mark will appear next to the correct answer). Optional: You can then have all students do the correct movement to reinforce the correct answer.
Brain breaks are a perfect way to get students engaged and learning! These activities also help with following directions and focus – students have to think about their answer and the movement associated with it.
These fun movement activities can be used for a variety of skills and are super simple to differentiate.
I wanted to be able to pick and choose how many slides to do at one time and what slides to use which is why I created them in both Google Slides and PowerPoint format. The slides can be rearranged in any order very easily making differentiation simple.
They can be used for a fun introduction, practice, or review throughout the year!
Some teacher friends who have tried them said the following:
“This is a great resource for students while on Zoom. It helped to keep them engaged. The kids loved it and gave them a chance to get up and move while still learning.” – Charlotte U.
“Fun and engaging for students” – Jessica G.
“This is a great resource! These are fun to use as a quick lesson, or when the kids really just need a break! It is something fun for them to do, and it helps them get up and get moving!” – Stacey H.
“This resource has worked great for distance learning for our on-line meetings! It keeps kids involved and I can see who is understanding the concept! Thank you!” – Diane B.
“My class had a great time participating!” – Karen A.
“My students are loving this for review and it helps me quickly check where everyone is at.” – Shelby S.
“This is very cute! My students were really engaged!” – Landy V.