Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Not Getting Lost in the Movement

This is not Beethoven's Fifth, nor is it anything by Pina Bausch, as much as I love them both. It's teaching, and what we're trying to do here is not get lost in the movement.

Move yes, but with a purpose. We don't want kids pushing, running around the school, or just feeling lost.

We move a lot in my classroom.

There's transition time, when we go from playing to our circle, to our tables, to the playground, to the lunch room, loo, etc.

There's guided movement, such as physical education or traditional games like Simon Says.

There's free movement during playtime, and essential movement when someone needs to pee.

And then there's desk time, when traditionally they'd all be sitting still, quietly memorizing their lessons for the day.
Let me tell you, trying to have a baker's dozen of three-year olds sit still for an entire class is futile. It sucks the joy out of me; it sucks the joy out of them. And I don't kid myself into thinking it's "helping prepare them for the future" - do you know any adults who sit still all day at their jobs? NO! We get up and move around when we want to and know it's appropriate to do so. The little guys don't yet know how to decide when it's okay to move, making it essential to build movement into our daily routine.

They can get up for emergency pee-breaks when we're at table-time, but they know not to ask to get toys or water when Miss Tall is talking to them.
a balancing act between this...
We have a routine for our desk time - before we sit down, anyone who needs to goes to the loo or to have a drink of water. We sit down and I explain the activity. Then they go to their cubbies to get their workbooks and we pass out materials.

As they're working, they are focused, but they can chat with their neighbours and once they've finished working, they are free to move into the book corner or to get a toy. They can stand if they'd rather not sit, as long as they stay in their work space, although if they're feeling quiet or need some space, they can go to a small table for some individual work time.

Apart from routine, how to they know how to move and where to go?
... and this.
Signals - I try to use very clear body language as well as clear verbal instructions, and I post picture signs as we do things. As we transition from circle to desk time, we change the picture Tommy, our class mascot, is holding. 

It takes practice, but a combination of routine, verbal and visual cues helps everyone know when and where to move, and no one gets lost in the shuffle.

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