Most teachers are excited for the end of the school year. Actually, most likely every teacher is excited about the end of the school year! While the summer is meant to be a time of relaxation and rejuvenation, it is also the time when teachers start brainstorming or refining what they plan on teaching during the new school year. The summer is often a time of reflection. What did I do well this past year? What needs to be improved for next year? A constant dialogue is present in most teachers minds as they search for ways to become even better teachers in the year to come.
At the end of each school year, I often reflect on my classroom management. In actuality, I reflect on this throughout the school year. One year, I had a particularly difficult group of students. Individually, these students were great. They were considerate of each other, they were respectful, and they had good intentions. However, as a group, they were difficult to manage. Students blurted out, called each other names, threw things in the classroom, and so on. I tried multiple strategies to engage them and to control them. I was met with failure day after day.
I did some soul-searching. I realized that my goal shouldn’t be to control them but to engage them. I remembered a course I took during master’s program. The course focused on brain development and strategies that encouraged brain-based learning to occur during the class period. I remembered a group presentation on Eric Jensen’s book, Teaching With the Brain In Mind. During the presentation, the class had to walk around the room to take notes. The idea was that the movement would spark neurons in the brain, activating learning. I decided to try this idea in my classroom. After all, if it didn’t work, at least I tried something new. I printed some basic vocabulary notes and pasted them around the room. I informed the students that they had to take notes while walking around the room; however, they had to do this without talking. This was a pretty big task to ask of this particular group of students! The result was amazing. Not only were the students actively taking notes, they were doing so silently and respectfully. Furthermore, once they had completed the task, they were more attentive and behaviorally appropriate.
I continued to refine the strategy throughout the school year and the negative classroom behaviors were replaced with positive and attentive students. Thus, the incorporation of daily movement in my classroom was developed.
I challenge teachers to start to think about ways they can get students out of their seats during the course of a class period. As I add posts, I will offer ways, research, and thoughts about how to do so.