Click play below to hear ways to incorporate movement in your instructional day:
The weeks between now and winter break can be long for both teachers and students, and a time when students tend to lose focus and need more engagement. One way to regain their attention is to incorporate movement into your instructional day. In Episode 53, I shared 4 ways to incorporate movement into your literacy block, so in a way, this is part 2 of that episode. Therefore, in today’s episode, I’m sharing 4 additional ways to incorporate movement into any part of your instructional day.
When it comes to utilizing movement, it’s important that you’re intentional by connecting it to a lesson that is engaging and provides an opportunity for your students to refocus on the task at hand. But before you jump in with any movement routine, there are some best practices that I share that will help each routine run smoothly and efficiently.
With each movement routine, the goal is the same: for students to be engaged, focused, and regain attention. Especially during this time of year, when you incorporate movement, it allows your students to collaborate and participate with the class in quick and simple ways. Try these 4 movement ideas in your classroom and watch your students go from distracted for focused in no time!
I find it important to take breaks and make it a goal of mine to be more present during the holidays. So, in order to accomplish both of those, I will not be releasing new podcast episodes for the remainder of December, but instead, releasing listener favorite episodes. But don’t worry! I’ll be back with new episodes and content on Monday, January 2nd!
In this episode on ways to incorporate movement, I share:
- Why incorporating movement throughout your day is beneficial for your students
- Tips on how to introduce and teach movement the right way
- 4 easy ways to incorporate movement in your classroom
- An explanation of each tip and how it regains a students’ focus
- Movement Slides
- Check out the Stellar Teacher Reading Membership
- If you’re enjoying this podcast, please leave a review on Apple Podcasts!
Related episodes and blog posts:
- Episode 53, Incorporating Movement Into Your Literacy Block
- Movement in the Classroom: Get Kids Moving With These 4 Easy Movement Routines
Connect with me:
More About Stellar Teacher Podcast:
Welcome to the Stellar Teacher Podcast! We believe teaching literacy is a skill. It takes a lot of time, practice, and effort to be good at it. This podcast will show you how to level up your literacy instruction and make a massive impact with your students, all while having a little fun!
Your host, Sara Marye, is a literacy specialist passionate about helping elementary teachers around the world pass on their love of reading to their students. She has over a decade of experience working as a classroom teacher and school administrator. Sara has made it her mission to create high quality no-fluff resources and lesson ideas that are both meaningful and engaging for young readers.
Each week, Sara and her guests will share their knowledge, tips, and tricks so that you can feel confident in your ability to transform your students into life-long readers.
Happy December. Oh, my goodness. Like seriously, how did we get to December already? In so many ways, I feel like I’m still like back in April or May of this year, which I know that maybe isn’t everybody’s reality or experience. But for me, this year has seemed to go by just so incredibly fast.
And even if this year has felt fast for you, I do know and I want to acknowledge that I know that these weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas can really be one of the longest stretches for teachers. So hang in there, the end is in sight. Get your little countdown going, think about fun little small things that you can do every day, whether it’s like special music, or a special coffee or something that you can do to just keep your spirits high until the end of the year.
And hopefully, today’s episode is going to give you some really practical ideas on how you can boost engagement, keep kids focused on learning and just have a little more fun with your kids. We are going to be talking all about how to incorporate movement into your literacy block. This is like a part two episode of an episode I released last year.
But before I get into today’s episode, I did want to let you know that we are going to be taking a break from releasing new podcast episodes for the remainder of the year.
I just think, you know, as I was planning out my content for this year and thinking about, you know, what did I want to talk about and what is my own personal bandwidth for being able to produce content on a regular basis, plus all the other things I do in my business, I have learned and maybe sometimes through the hard ways that taking breaks in life is so important.
And especially as we approach the holiday season, I am personally working on carving out more time to be present with friends and family and not let work become all consuming. And I would really encourage you to do the same. You know, obviously, if you are teaching in the classroom, you have to be at school during your work days.
But you know, consider taking a break from social media during the holiday season, I usually try to put you know my social media apps on mute or even delete them from my phone. You know, you might even want to consider deleting your work email app, if you have that on your phone, like get rid of it over the holiday season.
Think about taking a break from consuming podcasts or just you know, doing more things and think about how can I scale back to be more present with my family, with my friends with the people that I love.
So we oftentimes just go go, go, go, go go, you know, to the point of exhaustion, and especially as we approach the end of the year, it’s like, okay, we’ve been going full steam ahead here since January. And rest is important, balance is important. And here at the Seller Teacher Company during the month of December, we are making both of those two things a priority.
And so one of the things that we are doing is you know, we’ve just decided not to release new podcasts for the last three weeks in December. So our next new podcast episode will come out Monday, January, 2, we will definitely be back and I am seriously so excited to kick off year three of this podcast with you.
I just I have so much fun with these episodes. I love the teachers in this podcast community. And so we will definitely be coming back.
And we are going to continue to release episodes every Monday for the next three weeks. They are just going to be previously recorded listener favorite episodes. So if you happen to be a new listener, you’re kind of in luck because if you want to keep listening over the holidays, we will be releasing new episodes.
And if you happen to be a longtime listener and you want to keep listening, there will be some episodes that you can kind of get a refresher on. But like I said we’re going to be just prioritizing and taking a little bit of a break. One of the ways we’re doing that is not releasing new episodes.
I will not be offended if you choose to take a break from the podcast for the next three weeks. Just mark your calendar January 2, you’re definitely going to want to return.
So with all that being said, let’s jump in to today’s episode. Like I said today is actually a follow up to an episode that I released last year around this time. Last year, I think it was towards the end of November, I released episode number 53 which was entitled Incorporating Movement Into Your Literacy Block.
And I got such good feedback from that episode, you know, so many teachers are saying, Okay, I know movement is important, I want to get my kids up out of their desks, you know, even just small little brain breaks that we can do that are still connected to our instruction. This was filled with so many good ideas. So I was like, You know what, there are more than four movement routines, you can incorporate. So I wanted to do a second part to that episode.
So today is part two, and I’m going to share four more super easy movement routines that you can incorporate into your literacy block or really any part of your instructional day. And they are definitely things that you could start doing between now and the end of school before you go home for winter break.
Now, first of all, just in case, you’re wondering, why do we need to incorporate movement, it gets kids out of their desks and moving around, you know, which is going to help with attention, it’s going to help with focus. You know, if you think about it, even us as adults, if we are sitting and doing the same thing for long periods of time, we start to get antsy.
It’s like, anytime I’d go to professional development or a conference, it’s like, I would just start to like tap my pencil, tap my toes, you know, just like whatever get distracted, want to start to like chat with my friends, which is like the ultimate distraction.
And our kids have even shorter attention spans than adults. And so anytime that you can be intentional about getting kids up and moving around, especially in a way that connects to your lesson, it is going to immediately re-engage them, you know, bring them back to the lesson focus. And just it’s great for engagement. And also just like giving them a chance to just get up and move around. You know, we all we all need that during the day.
Now, before you incorporate any movement routine, whether it is one of the four that I’m sharing today, or one that I shared last year, or one that you found somewhere else in the wonderful world of like teacher strategies and suggestions, you want to make sure that you introduce and teach the movement routines with intention to your students.
So I kind of want to just share some general tips if you are new, to incorporating movement or being intentional about letting your kids get up and collaborate and move around, make sure that you do these things.
First of all, it’s a good idea to introduce the routine and explain the big picture, right, so like, whatever it is that you’re doing. And one of the let me quickly scroll through my notes, the very first one I’m gonna talk about is find someone who so explained what find someone who is and explained sort of like the big picture so students can get a vision for it.
Then you want to make sure that you personally model and demonstrate what this looks like. And maybe you model by yourself, maybe you get a trusted student who is really good at following directions. And they can also help you model and you show students what this movement routine looks like.
And then you have a small group of students model the process to the class. So now maybe you’ve got five or six students up showing what this movement routine looks like, and you’re pointing out to your class, this is what they’re doing. This is why they’re doing it, you know, after this step, this is what they’re doing next. And then you’re gonna have the whole class practice moving.
And it’s really important that you practice this movement routine, before you add in the content. Because you know, whatever the movement routine is, it’s going to be paired with a comprehension question or a response, or some sort of, you know, passage or whatever it is, there’s going to be academic content to it.
But before your students can start to invest their energy and thinking through the academic content, they need to be familiar and comfortable with the movement routine, because sometimes when you put the two together, it’s like students are like, Oh, wait, I didn’t know where we’re supposed to move because I was focusing on the question, or students are like, Oh, I was, you know, just focusing on the movement that I forgot to answer the question. So actually practice moving a couple of times without any content.
And then make sure you provide feedback to your students. And then you want to go through and actually do the routine. And it can actually be really good. If you are introducing, you know, one of these routines, do it in the morning, and then do it again, in the afternoon of the same day.
And then do it again, the next day. If you can practice it two or three times within the same short period of time, your students are going to become much quicker and much automatic with it. And then of course, whatever routines you introduce, now, make sure you do them again in January, because the whole benefit of these is these are routines.
They’re things that your students are going to know how to do without you having to give directions and so you can just you know, at the snap of your fingers be like a great, we’re going to do find someone who. Great, we’re going to do a quick walk around, we’re going to do loops of learning, you know, whatever it is, and your students will know how to do those routines.
Another thing it can be really helpful if you have like an anchor chart or a set of slides that list out the expectations for each routine. So your students can refer to them either when you are introducing it, right before you practice it, whatever it is.
And so just as a visual explanation of it. And we actually created a set of slides for the members inside our Steller Teacher Reading membership. We also have it in our TPT store. And it has 13 engagement routines and seven movement routines.
And if you envision a slide half of the slide you displayed on your smartboard half of it lists out the sort of behavioral expectations, and really kind of maps out the steps to the routines.
And then the other half of the slide is editable. So that way you can add in your specific questions, your prompts, you know, the things that your students are doing that are content wise, and those are great, our members love them, because they are just a really easy way to refocus and remind students of the behavioral expectations when it comes to movement or specific engagement routines.
But let’s jump in. And today let’s talk about four more movement routines that you can incorporate into your literacy block. So the first one is what I like to call find someone who.
And this is a whole group movement routine, where students are going to walk around your classroom, and they are trying to find someone who can answer a specific question, respond to a specific prompt or help them complete an assignment. And you can create a specific and you might have seen some of these I’ve seen them on Pinterest or on Instagram, you might create a specific find someone who board so think of it like a bingo board where each box has a different prompt or question.
And so you could create a find someone who that is a refresher on genre and just helps your students have conversations about genre.
So some of the prompts might be find someone who has read a fantasy book this week, find someone who has never read a fable, find someone who has the same favorite genre as you. And so this just gets your students up, they’re moving around, they’re having conversations with their classmates around genre. But you can also do this type of routine with any questions and you don’t even have to create like a specific sheet for it, you could just put your questions on like the smartboard.
But the goal is for the students to find a classmate to collaborate and have a conversation with to be able to answer a question or solve a prompt. So your prompts could be find someone who can tell you what the theme of our story is. Find someone who can finish this fragment, find someone who can tell you what the root AUD means.
So all of those are options, and it just gets students rather than them answering the question at their desk or completing the worksheet on their own, they are finding someone who can help answer the question. And then they’re just talking about the question with their classmates.
I love this routine, because it gets students up walking around. I did this a lot with my class. And I would always encourage my students that when they’re walking around looking for someone, that they raise their hands high as a signal that they need a partner.
And then once they find their partner, they give them a high five, and then they proceed to answer the question, respond to the prompt and then put their hand back up because they are then looking for someone else who can help with the next question or the next prop. So it’s quick, it’s easy.
Students are up out of their desks, they’re talking with their classmates, you can do it with two or three questions you can do with 10 questions, but find someone who is a really easy movement routine that you can incorporate into your classroom.
Okay, the next movement routine that you might want to consider doing is a gallery walk. And I’ve talked about this on the podcast before, but I love doing gallery walks because they’re so versatile. And they can be used in a variety of ways. And a gallery walk is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. You are going to create a gallery of some sorts in your classroom.
And this gallery could be filled with anchor charts that are created by your students, they could be filled with anchor charts that you created yourself or posters that you printed off that are all related to a specific subject. It could be filled with images, or articles, or maps or artifacts that are related to a topic subject or text that you are currently reading.
It could be student work samples, you know, if your students are working on a writing piece, a narrative or an expository, whatever it is, or if they’ve created some sort of artifact for a text, it could be any sort of student work sample. A gallery walk, it could even be questions that you want your students to ponder and consider and respond to. It could be vocabulary words, so it really could be anything.
And you’re going to post whatever your gallery displays. So whatever sort of piece of art, your gallery displays, whether that’s, you know, vocabulary words, questions, student work samples, all those things I listed are like the art and your gallery, you’re going to display those all around your classroom.
So have them evenly spaced in all of the corners on all the walls, you know, anywhere that you can put them up and during your gallery walk, you know whether it’s 10 minutes, 20 minutes, you know, five minutes in the morning, five minutes in the afternoon, your students are going to walk around and they’re going to observe the gallery.
And maybe you have an assignment where they have to write a question and stick it up next to it. Maybe they have to have a conversation with a peer. Maybe they need to you know, jot down notes on a recording sheet. You know, whatever it is there’s like I said it’s so versatile, you can do it in so many different ways.
And when I first started doing this routine with my students, anytime we start doing a gallery walk you know the very first time we do it, we talk about what a gallery is. We talk about what behavior is appropriate for an art gallery or a museum.
You know, students want to have quiet feet, slow movement, pausing to ponder we’re really being reflective and focusing and just like being curious and paying attention to what we’re noticing.
And students can walk around in any order they want, this is free rein kind of, it’s nice, like students can choose what order they want to go to if they want to walk through the gallery with a friend, but they get to go and observe whatever piece of art is displayed in your gallery.
And like I said, you can give them either like a sticky note, and they have to ask a question, or they can have a recording sheet, you know, where they have to have a conversation, whatever your sort of goal is, you can customize your gallery walk routine for that.
And this routine is great if you are wanting to build background knowledge around a topic. It can also be great if you’re wanting to review content at the end of the unit before a test. And it also works great as like an inquiry based learning activity.
Because basically, you’re showing your students all of these like artifacts, or words or images, and they can figure out what the connection is. And it can just also be a really quick and easy way for students to share their work with their classmates. So, so many different ways to do a gallery walk.
And you know, once you once your students have gone through and observe the gallery, obviously, you want to have a whole group conversation, you know, what did you notice? What did you learn? What can you take away? What are your answers to these questions, but it’s just a really easy way to get students up and moving.
And also, you know, put on nice quiet music, it can also just be a really sort of calming way for students to be out of their desks and still focused and engaging in content. So this can be a good one to do in the afternoon, if you sort of need to bring things down a notch or two in your classroom.
Okay, so movement routine number three is a whip around. And a whip around is great if you need a quick and easy way to let kids get out a quick burst of energy.
And it takes just a few, maybe a minute, maybe two minutes at max. And a whip around is simply where students stand up and share their response to a prompt or answer to a question. And usually you’re going to have students and they’re going to stand up and it’s literally a quick stand up, share their answer sit back down.
And students are usually going to respond in a specific order. So if your desks are in rows, the first row would go and then the second row go. And then the third, you know, you want your students to know the order. So they stand up, they sit down, the person sitting next to them stands up, sits down, etc, etc.
And so the order in which you want your students to stand up and share should be practiced ahead of time. And when you do your whip around, you know, you’re going to give your students a prompt or a question and every student in your class is going to stand up and share their responses.
So this can work great at the end of a lesson, at the end of reading a chapter, at the end of a novel, at the end of your reading workshop for the day. And it might be something as simple as what is a character trait you could use to describe fill in the blank.
What is the most interesting detail you learned in the story? What book did you read today? What is one vocabulary word that you thought was important to the text? You know, it can be anything, just an opportunity for students to stand up and contribute to the conversation. And like I said, students stand they share their answer, they sit back down and then another student gets to share.
And just a few things to sort of note with this routine, you want to make sure you give students some thinking time, so let them know, you know, I’m going to give you 30 seconds.
Here’s the prompt, write down your answer. Make sure students know that it’s okay for students to have the same answer as their classmates. So it doesn’t need to be an original answer. It just needs to be their answer. It’s also okay, if you let students pass you know, I think it’s great to give students opportunities to contribute to class conversations. But we don’t want to force it.
So students can simply just say pass or if they want to raise their hand and that means they want to be skipped.
Also, it can be helpful to let students write down their responses before the whip around. Sometimes students get nervous, they get stage fright, you know, it’s like, oh, I have to say something in front of the class. So if they have their answer on a post it note, all they have to do is read the post it note.
But it can be really fun. Because once you practice this routine and get good at it, you know, you can kind of make it a competition and be like, Okay, can we do our whip round in two minutes or less? You know, how quickly can everybody get up and share?
And it’s just a good opportunity in a very structured way to let every student in your class participate to the conversation that you are having around whatever the topic is. So whip around, another super simple movement routine.
And then the fourth one is a personal favorite. So maybe you could say I saved the best for last, it is a snowball fight. And maybe you’ve heard about this or done this with your students before.
But this was always a student favorite. And we would go in phases where sometimes we would have snowball fights multiple times a day or for an entire week. And then we would take a break from it and then bring it back in.
But first of all, let me warn you that with a snowball fight, you’re going to have to do some serious training and prep. And you have to be very clear on your expectations with your students before implementing this because it does involve throwing.
But if you can train your students correctly, it does become a lot of fun and your students you know, they’re going to get really efficient at it. And like I said, it’s just a fun routine.
So with the snowball fight, you could give each student a quarter or a half sheet of paper. And a really simple way to do this is ask students to write a question about the story on their paper.
So you just read an article you just read it text, you just read a chapter of your chapter book, have them write a question that could be answered from the text you just read, then they’re going to crumple up their paper into a snowball, not too tiny, so make sure you model and explain to them how to do it. I usually like to have my students write their name on it.
So that way, if there is somebody who is not following our expectations, they can observe, which means they don’t get to participate, they just get to watch.
But once students have crumbled their snowball, then they have to wait for your command, but on your command, they’re going to throw their snowball and seriously it’s throwing a piece of paper, but students love it. And then as soon as they throw their snowball, they get out of their desks and they have to go find a snowball to take back to their desk.
So they’re finding another snowball that a student wrote, taking it back to their desk, they have to unfold it. And then they have to answer the question that another student wrote down on that piece of paper. And this is fun, because students just love the idea of having a snowball fight. You know, I taught in Texas, and we don’t have a lot of snow in Texas.
And so I would show my students, you know, a YouTube video of what a snowball fight is. And they were like, Oh my gosh, this is so cool. And it’s like, okay, we don’t live in Minnesota, which is where I grew up. But we can still have a snowball fight here in Texas.
And it’s a quick burst of energy. But then it’s somewhat easy to get kids back on task because they have to retrieve a snowball, and go back to their desks. But like I said, it’s really important to model and explain the expectations, you show them the right way to throw the wrong way to throw.
One of the rules that we had in my class was we were never allowed to throw the snowball at somebody that was like an automatic, you know, one strike and you’re out and you never get to participate in a snowball fight again. And I put that into practice once.
So my students knew that they could throw towards the wall, they could throw towards the window, they could throw at the ceiling, they could throw at the floor, we just can’t throw towards people. But my students loved it. It was seriously one of their favorite routines.
And it’s something you could do for like I said they could write a question and then to answer it, you could give them a question and they answer it and then they have to reflect on somebody else’s question or respond to it, so many ways that you can do it.
So those are the four movement routines that you can incorporate to your classroom right now, during this squirrely time for students. And the four movement routines are: find someone who, a whip around, a gallery walk, and a snowball fight.
And if you haven’t listened to Episode 53, go back and listen to that episode, because in that episode, you will hear about loops of learning, four corners, quiz, quiz, trade, and small group skew. And then you’ll have eight really awesome movement routines that you can incorporate into your classroom.
And like I said, if you like the idea of having a slide, a visual display to reinforce the expectations for each of these routines, and also being able to add in your content, definitely go check out the slides that I mentioned in this episode, you can find them at stellar teacher.com/movement.
I’ll put the link in the show notes. Or also consider come join us inside the Stellar Teacher Reading Membership. These slides are a part of the massive resource library that our members get access to. And you can learn more about our membership at stellar teacher.com/membership. Again, we will link to it in the show notes.
And finally, let me just say that I have had such a fun year of podcasting with you. I seriously enjoy connecting with so many of you and I just love all of the teachers in our podcast community. So thank you for tuning in each week. Just a reminder, for the next three weeks we will be replaying past listener favorites, but get excited new episodes will be released starting January 2, 2023. And I hope you have a stellar end to this year.