Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Active Learning

    My recent training sessions have reminded me of a few things- not very many souls were endowed with the ability to sit for long hours just listening. I am an active learner and an active teacher. My body longs for a good stretch, a brisk walk, or even an interactive activity- not long term stillness.
     In my classroom, as well as my home school classroom, there have always been opportunities to 'get the wiggles out'. Restlessness does not seem to lend itself well to retained lessons..and I never expected it to. Bed sheet parachutes and hula hoops rested beside jump ropes and sidewalk chalk for those moments when the monotony had to be broken. Games were created to engage clapping, hopping, and walking around all while working through the times tables or spelling list. Activity wasn't necessarily a disruption, but often just part of our learning process.
      While I work now helping teachers implement gardening and physical activity into their daily curriculum routine resistance and reluctance have reared their heads. Many teachers find it a bother, unwilling to even consider getting kids out of their desks and onto their feet. Others may feel it is a good idea with obvious benefits, but just don't see where time can be invested in it. My answer..if it matters to you, you will find the time.
       So, while I head off to another day interacting with teachers I head out with optimism. Even if only one finds the enthusiasm to give it a try the experience of it may keep the spark alive. All of us feel better after taking a walk or moving around a bit..kids are no different. As we see our students' attention waning, let's give some activity a try. Settling them down is often easier than we think, and cooperation and participation will improve. Let's evaluate our learning routines and see if we can find a place for active learning time. 

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