It’s Move to Learn Monday! As announced yesterday, OuTcomes Therapy will be highlighting a different way to infuse movement into the classroom each Monday. It is exciting as research shows that movement is key to self-regulation and supports learning and achievement for all – not only kids. We are all healthier and more productive when we move.
As an occupational therapist, a common referral in schools is to support children who struggle to sustain attention and remain seated during circle time. A component of many circle times is to sit and listen to a story. For many children, this is a wonderful time as they are able to sit, listen to the story and turn the words being spoken into a movie in their mind. For other children, they are able to look at the pictures and begin to piece the pictures and story together. However, other children, struggle to remain seated, struggle to put the words/pictures into a story, and as a result of the inability to create the story in their mind, disengage or begin to distract others.
What is a teacher to do? Common strategies have been to provide alternative seating or access a fidget. For some children this can be all that they need – however, often this just keeps them from distracting their neighbour and doesn’t help their learning.
The best strategy to support listening and comprehension for all children in the classroom is simply to have them act out words, phrases, or actions in the story. You will be amazed at how well this supports their ability to sustain attention and comprehend the story. In addition, when your move with your lesson, you reduce the need for a separate movement break.
A great book to start with is Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry and Tom Lichtenheld. I love this book as it is short, the story is easy to follow, and children have ample opportunities to move if you simply have children curl up in a ball and hug their knees every time they hear the word, “stone” and stretch up (get on those tip toes) to reach the sky when they hear the word, “stick.” With over 30 opportunities to move in the book, your heart is guaranteed to the pumping at the end. Enjoy!
I am currently putting together a series of story books that support movement in the classroom. If you have a favourite, please share in the comment box. It would be lovely to have a long list of books that support children to move during circle time.