"Students sit all day, and sitting is exhausting."
Reported Wiggins: "By the end of the day, I could not stop yawning and I was desperate to move or stretch. I couldn’t believe how alert my host student was, because it took a lot of conscious effort for me not to get up and start doing jumping jacks in the middle of Science just to keep my mind and body from slipping into oblivion after so many hours of sitting passively." We already know that students sit a lot at home, so it is concerning that their learning is passive at school.
Additionally, research shows that walking improves creative thinking. I know this is true for me. I get my best ideas while I am running.
Knowing that students are sitting all day AND that students are likely to be more creative when moving, I make a concentrated effort to get my students up and moving in every class. Here are some of my students' favorites:
- Simulations and station activities: We do many simulations and activity centers in my class. On those days, it is easy to get the students up and moving. Students are taking on roles and interacting or moving from station activity to station activity.
- Scavenger hunts and gallery walks: On the days that are focused more on facts or analysis, it can be a bit more challenging. Sometimes, I scatter the information that I need students to gather around the room and send students on a scavenger hunt to answer questions. Other days, we have a gallery walk. Primary sources, images and informational text are displayed gallery style around the room. Students view the gallery by walking around and gather information in a graphic organizer.
- Collaborative and individual projects: Other times, like when we are doing a quick and easy newspaper, the information and supplies are scattered in different spaces, so that students literally have to get up and move to conduct their investigations. Students are walking around to collaborate, gather information and materials.
- Presentation days: For presentations (which can be really long), I like to use the science fair format. Half of the students present while the other half of students go around to visit presentations. Then, we switch.
All this movement pays off in creative students and less yawning. Plus a few extra steps for them can't hurt...