Movement

Think stationary bikes in the classroom.

Photo of Meg Krause
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 "Imagine reading a book or just simply exercising while having a class on Idea Street?"

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Photo of Richard Brehl
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Super cool idea. We do five minute "Brain Breaks" that pretty much always involve movement to break up stretches of academics. The idea of stationary bikes is intriguing in that one could imagine kids reading and perhaps even writing while moving! What about those pedal units that can sit on the floor? Like this: http://amzn.com/B0027ZNH2O
Should we be putting these under desks during academics? Should every kid have one of those foam balls that they can squeeze during work or discussion time? (We give these to kids for whom fidgeting is an issue and it seems to help them focus, but perhaps it should be universal).
THe first hurdle that came to my mind when I saw the image of the bikes was space and storage. Check out this unit: http://amzn.com/B0090OKG38
Could we get a classroom set of these, store them all in a closet, and classes could reserve them for use? What about an academic/movement lab space outfitted with sensory and movement equipment as well as work surfaces, whiteboards, etc? The Fit Desk mentioned by David S. looks like it would work well there: http://amzn.com/B00CM9CBZY Very cool idea!

Photo of Meg Krause
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Rich

I am really intrigued with a movement component built into classroom design. Like you, we have frequent breaks between academic stretches. One thing our kids loved last year was a race around the building. It was especially exciting in the biting cold, and the cold air certainly woke them up!
I like the idea of the folding exercise bike that you linked because it takes up a minimal amount of space. I do think whatever is used needs to be out and set up all the time. I am imagining a space in the back of the room for 3-5 bikes. Kids can used as they need or the teacher could assign. (There is something affirming about choice and using them responsibly.)

Other ways that kids can move- using less space: jump rope, pogo stock, small trampoline (http://amzn.to/1PfmlRT).

I like the idea of a movement lab (to go along with a makerspace lab).

Meg

Photo of Richard Brehl
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I just had a vision of kids jumping on pogo sticks in time to poetry being read out loud...
I imagine a section of the classroom outfitted with movement equipment could be incorporated into station-type activities. Though everyone would rush through other activites to get to that station, and once there, no one would want to leave!

Photo of David Saunders
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I'm a HUGE fan of these in schools! I bought a FitDesk for the library and, having seen the demand for it - from students and teachers! - I'm ready to buy a set of them and arrange them throughout our space. I DEFINITELY would have benefited from having this option when I was a young student...

Photo of Molly McMahon
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Meg -- I have totally been intrigued by the "move while you work" movement that is happening in corporate culture. It's amazing the clarity of thought and flow of conversation that happens when you do get for a walk with colleagues. It makes me wonder, what are the subjects and that would be best for moving and working in the classroom. I love this!

Here is an NYT article on how companies are thinking about it
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/04/jobs/working-out-inside-the-office.html?_r=0

Photo of Meg Krause
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Molly
Thanks for sharing your question and the article about how companies are thinking about getting their employees moving. Regarding your question about what subjects would be best for moving/working in the classroom. I think I may be coming at this a little differently. I am reminded of an intriguing article I read about the Finnish education system. In many Finnish schools each 45 minute period is followed by 15 minutes of free time, and kids are encourage to move during this time. The schedule is based on research that says that kids have better focus and retention of material when they have regular periods of movement interspersed with academic subjects.
What do you think about this?
Meg

Photo of Emma Scripps
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Meg -

Love the idea of interspersing movement into instruction. Would love to see your post be taken to the next level - how does movement work to create a culture of innovation? How would you pitch this to a principal who might not see the value of movement to learning/school culture?

I think this idea has tons of potential.

Emma