All kids need movement. There are so many reasons that range from the increase in ADHD to the overuse of technology and everything in between. The parents blame the schools and the schools blame the parents and truth be told we all have a part in this.
I know in my own classroom, I have seen a rise in attention issues over the past 20 years. There is controversy over whether the number of students with ADHD has really increased or it just appears that way due to media coverage and it is more "acceptable" now. The bottom line is, our kids need help!
This epidemic is near and dear to my heart. I feel for these kids. It is so HARD for them to sit still and pay attention. I see the turmoil in their parents eyes as they need to make a decision when the diagnosis comes back: Do we medicate our child?
So what can we, as classroom teachers do? Angela Hanscom suggests "an hour long recess session every day". (Yes, you read that right!!) In addition, she says that children should play outside after school.
Realistically, we know that is not possible.
So what can be done?
ALTERNATIVE SEATING in the classroom provides the MOVEMENT that each student needs! Students have the opportunity to sit or lay on the carpet, stand at their desk as well as at the teacher desk turned work station, sit on a stability ball and yes, even a traditional chair!You can read more about our alternative seating HERE.
I am lucky enough to have a class set of STABILITY BALLS. Stability balls help strengthen our core. In the Washington post article, the author says "Most of the children in the classroom had poor core strength and balance."
If you want to find out more about my stability balls and Donors Choose,you can read my prior post HERE.
BRAIN BREAKS with Go Noodle or old fashioned cd's are a favorite. The author of the article notes brain breaks should not replace outdoor play.These are great to compliment recess and PE!
RECESS and PE are truly a MUST. As teachers, this is often out of our hands. It varies from state to state, county to county and even from school to school.
We have PE 3 days a week for 50 minutes a day.In years past, we were only allowed to take our students to recess on non-PE days.This year, parents partitioned the school board for MORE recess. The parents were heard and now there in a MINIMUM of one hour of recess a week.
Kids need to roll, run, dance and MOVE each day. This is not only providing exercise for our children, but will help develop their vestibular system (balance). As we work to accommodate our students who need MOVEMENT, we need to enlist parents in this MOVEMENT!
Kids need to PLAY OUTSIDE after school. SHUT OFF technology!! Let kids go back to being kids. They need to play with their friends, run and play tag, throw leaves and do somersaults and cartwheels!
Math center organization is the key to my sanity as I journeyed into the wondrous world of math centers! It not only keeps me in line, but it optimizes student learning.
Now, I have to say I have tried Daily 5 Math, BUILD and just about any other guided math/center framework. I don't think I ever saw it as a must do. Needless to say, there was never enough time so it was pushed aside. I started to follow Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits and learned A LOT about math centers. Reagan is an inspiration in the land of math centers! Did I say I actually got to meet her in New York at the TpT meetup? #rockstar
So now here I am in 2015 bound and determined to make math centers matter. I learned that simple works. My flexible groups and centers started off on hand written on index cards. (Gasp!!) I quickly saw the benefits of small group instruction during math and started on making something more permanent. My students voted and wanted to use animal names for our groups which gave me a starting point.
I write students names in dry erase marker because the groups are fluid and students can move up and down levels, depending on skill assessments. I tend to move students in math than reading because our units change every two weeks in our county. So the same student might understand fractions, but struggle with addition and subtraction. That's ok.
I then selected the 5 rotating centers that I would use. I chose to incorporate Interactive Journals in my Teacher's Group to help my struggling kids. This class in particular needs a great deal of scaffolding and this gives me the time to do it in math. I am lucky to have 4 computers and 4 I pads in my classroom.
Now that my students are grouped and I have the center cards set, I add them to a small pocket chart. (The ones from the Target dollar section are a great size!) I remove the bottom center card, move each remaining card one down one place and move the bottom card to the top of the rotation.
The classroom organization is set. Now is time for planning. I have added some planning pages to this pack to help me wrap my mind around the skills, activities and prep needed for the week! I will be back next week to share a bit about planning for guided math and centers.
If you would like to WIN a copy of MATH CENTER ORGANIZATION before it is available on TpT, leave a COMMENT BELOW about math centers: what works, what doesn't, what you would like to hear more about...Don't forget to leave your email to win! Winner will be picked on SATURDAY 2/7:)