Movement breaks for physical wellbeing
Research shows that integrating physical activity into learning has the following benefits:
- renewed energy and increased oxygen levels,
- increased oxygen improves focus and memory,
- increased efficiency in learning,
- gives brains time to process information,
- developing social skills through movement,
- and enhanced academic behaviour and achievement.
Examples of movement breaks
- Stretching or standing for 5 minutes.
- Class challenges such as holding a plank position for 1 minute, seeing who can balance the longest on one foot, musical statues, dancing or ‘Simon Says’ (language classes can practice vocabulary with Simon Says).
- Wall or chair push-ups to refocus.
- Running dictations: Choose a short passage or dialogue and make several copies. Put the copies up around the walls of the classroom or in the corridor. Put the students in pairs or small groups. The aim is for one of the students in each pair to walk to read the passage on the wall. They remember some of the passage and walk back to their partner. They quietly dictate what they remembered to their partner, who writes it down. They then swap roles. Over several turns they will build the whole passage. This means they really do have to run back and forth because students will only remember three or four words at a time. The winning pair is the team that finishes first - although you need to check for mistakes. If there are mistakes, they must keep walking to check.
- Rotating stations: students physically rotate through several stations during a lesson block.
- Gallery walks: This discussion technique allows students to be actively engaged as they walk throughout the classroom. They work together in small groups to share ideas and respond to meaningful questions, documents, images, problem-solving situations or texts.
- Standing opinion continuums.
- Class surveys.
- Going outside or to an alternative venue.