So, you’ve got about six weeks left before you’re back at work for the 2017-18 school year. Most of your lessons have been fleshed out, you’ve got a brand new classroom configuration, and your interactive bulletin boards will be the talk of the school. You’re pretty much on top of your game!
But after attending a couple of workshops on creative movement, you are determined to implement some of the creative techniques you discovered. After all, you understand now how critical it is to get your kids up and moving but all of this is so brand new! What do you do to get started? How do you get yourself organized for movement? What will you need?
I admit that organizing yourself to use movement can be quite a daunting task; however, once you’ve made the commitment, the three suggestions below will get you off to a great start!
Can You Fit Movement in the Classroom?
Keeping in mind the dimensions of your room, the size of furniture in your room, and the numbers of students you expect to be enrolled, decide which areas of your classroom or school can be safely designated for movement.
- Will there be enough space to push desks or tables back or aside?
- Are there empty spaces in the classroom that might be movement-friendly to create flexible pathways or other movement openings?
- Would it be feasible to allow movement in chairs, desks, or at tables?
- Is it possible to allow movement on the storytelling rug? Can movement take place beside, under, above, or behind certain items in the classroom?
If movement-friendly areas in your classroom are non-existent or minimal, then, it’s time to begin contemplating areas in hallways, on the playground, in the cafeteria, or in other potential spaces beyond the classroom. Either way, no matter how you decide to make room for movement, safety should be the very first thing on your mind.
Can You Fit Movement into your Classroom Schedule?
We all recognize that, as educators, we are charged with packing and unpacking huge amounts of material in the space of a day, so it’s important to figure out how often you want to incorporate movement. That said, how often and when will you be infusing movement into your classroom? Everyday? Once every two weeks? At the beginning of each day with attention-getters? At the end of each day as a summary activity?
Perhaps you may want to contemplate using movement every other day as a kind of social reinforcement, or even as a recognition activity after your kids do well on an activity or assessment. Or it could be that you want to use movement sparingly and spontaneously whenever kids get the wiggles! You also may gear your mind toward using moving during a daily language arts block or during the first 15 minutes of a social studies lesson. The key is to construct a mind-map of when and how often you want movement to occur so that it doesn’t become an afterthought or just something to fill up time.
What Materials Will You Need?
Once you know where and when you want to incorporate movement, it’s time to decide if you wish to utilize equipment, props, musical instruments, or other materials. On the other hand, you may decide to use no props at all! But, if you should make up your mind to use props, think about these questions:
- Do you want your kids to move to selected videos or music?
- Will you be incorporating materials like scarves, flags, or stretch bands?
- Are you considering using tape or cones to provide demarcation of personal space or general space?
- Do you anticipate using balls, balloons, squeezable manipulatives or other kinds of toys?
Movement can be richly enhanced through the use of props and other inanimate objects; however, it will be critical to have an idea of which ones will bring movement to life in your classroom.
Whenever I go out to do workshops for teachers in creative movement and dance, my very first concern is whether there will be ample space to move about safely. My second area of thinking leads me to when and how often I will be able to strategically implement movement exercises as I’m making points during the presentation.
Once those two things have been determined, I can forge ahead with planning what, if any, materials I will need. So although there are many significant areas to consider before implementing movement, the three areas above always “move” me in the right direction. I hope they do the same for you. Happy Moving!
With a background in performing arts, special education, ESOL, and educational leadership, Francine Jennings currently serves as national faculty for Lesley University’s Division of Creative Arts in Learning. Francine’s position at Lesley enables her to travel around the country teaching educators to integrate the arts into the curriculum. In addition, under her company, MFJ Consulting and Edutainment, Francine works not only as a practicing performing artist, but also as an educational consultant using the arts to educate audiences on topics related to social justice, diversity, and culturally proficiency. She earned her doctorate in Educational Leadership at Virginia Tech University. You can locate her at www.mfrancinejennings.com and at www.harriettubmantour.com.