We Like to Move It, Move It!

Our school district's daily instructional framework ensures our students will read, write, think, speak, listen, and move in every class, every day.  Research shows that academic success increases when movement is incorporated.  We don't quite have an official source here, but one of our moms said it's true.  She's the healthful living director for our school district so we believe her.  As a high school teacher it can often be difficult to find ways to get our students moving that fits in our daily schedule and convinces our kids, who are obviously too cool for us, to participate.  We like to mix up our movement strategies.  One day we might incorporate the math content we are learning while the next we are just having a little fun during a quick brain break.  Check out some of our favorite ideas below!

  • Four Corners
    • Assign a number to each corner of your classroom.  Close your eyes (or have a student do this) and give your students five seconds to select a corner.  Call out a number between one and four - the students in that corner are out of the game.  Repeat this until you are down to one student.  To incorporate more movement, you can give students one "free" pass by having them do five push ups to get back in the game.  You can also relate this to your content area by assigning a multiple choice answer to each corner.
  • Cupid Shuffle (or any other line dance/dance song)
  • Who's the Leader?
    • One student needs to leave the room while all other students get in a circle.  Select one student to be the leader - this person begins a movement that everyone else needs to imitate.  Call your first student back into the room and have them stand in the center of the circle.  The leader will continue to inconspicuously change the movement while the center student is trying to figure out who the leader is.
  • Plyometrics 
    • This can be a quick and easy movement to throw into a lesson or even a competition when you have some extra time.  Give them one minute of wall sits or maybe a plank challenge to see who can hold it the longest.  Pushups, lunges, and sit-ups are great alternatives too!
  • Movement to/from Exit Tickets
    • Use sticky notes to get them moving.  Have them answer any content-related question on a sticky note and assign a specific movement for them to post it on your wall.  I like to have them lunge on the way to posting their answer and bunny hop back to their seats.
  • Roll Some Brain Breaks
  • Silent Ball
    • Students stand in a circle around the room.  They toss a ball across the circle but must remain silent.  Any student who speaks, drops the ball, or makes a bad toss is out.
  • Simon Says
    • This sounds juvenile, but I promise - high schoolers love it (especially when there is candy for the winner!)
  • Action Story (each adds a word, everyone acts out verbs)
    • Students stand in a circle around the classroom and each add one word to build a story as you go around the circle.  Whenever an action verb is used all students act it out.
  • Human Rock-Paper-Scissors 
  • Rock-Paper-Scissors-Math
  • Zip-Zap-Zop
  • Thumb War Tournament
  • Go Noodle
  • Scoot Games
  • Scavenger Hunts
    • Put math problems, reading passages, historical timeline questions, or any other content-specific assessments on individual pages.  Once they complete the question, deciding on the correct answer will help them find the next question to go to.  Spread these out around your room (or hallway/school depending on your flexibility) to get them up and moving.
  • Act out a Formula
    • I love to do this with the quadratic formula.  I've always taught them the song but last year I started incorporating motions.  The plus or minus sign is my favorite :)
  • Dance, Dance, Transversal
  • Graph Aerobics
    • Assess students' understanding of function transformations with graph aerobics.  Have them start by making their arms into one of the parent functions then give them a transformed function to model. There are a ton of videos out there to show you what this looks like.  Set up slides using powerpoint or smart notebook and play music along with it.  Get student input on song choice to help them buy in!
  • Gallery Walk
  • Chalk Talk 

We are always looking for more ideas to incorporate into our class.  What movement strategies do you LOVE? Comment below!

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