Thursday, July 11, 2013

Dealing with the wigglies

I will be the first one to admit that I do not do well sitting still for long periods of time.  In trainings, I'm the one in the back of the room walking around taking notes. I rarely sit at my desk and often wonder, why do I even have this desk?  I feel the need to constantly move and fidget around.  As a grown adult, if I can't sit still for extended periods of time, I think it's absolutely ridiculous to make my ten year olds just "sit and get" at their desks. Thus, as often as necessary, we take wiggle breaks.

I don't mean that we have dance parties and flail about the room when we're supposed to be learning.  We just incorporate movement into our learning.

For math, I had my students do mini-math rotations where they would move every twenty minutes.  Part of the time they sat on the floor with me while I introduced new material, part of the time they were at chairs at the kidney table with the paraprofessional and the rest of the time they were at the computers or on the floor doing a station.  

When I introduced new vocabulary words, I tried as often as possible to create a hand signal or body movement to aid in understanding (total physical response, or TPR).  When students had repeated exposure to the vocabulary word, the word's meaning and a body signal, they tended to retain the word in their own vocabulary.

We did a lot of table sorts in our classroom and instead of having my students raise their hands to share out answers, I had them get up and walk around in a gallery walk.  They looked at one another's sorts and discussed similarities and differences.  Not only did they get a two minute wiggle break, all students got to participate, not just the ones who always raise their hands.

For some of my extra wiggly students, I put velcro strips inside their desks.  Students would write with one hand and play with the velcro strip with the other hand, thus helping them get their fidgeting out without distracting others.  For some of extremely wiggly boys, I got bouncing balls instead of chairs as well as took old resistance bands to do this:

It works.  Just make sure students don't try to stack those chairs :)

If students start to whine that they don't have one, remind them of the fairness vs. equal situation.  Not everyone needs the same tools to be successful.

No comments:

Post a Comment