As students listen to the guest artist begin they begin to fidget. Some students are shushed and other students roll their eyes. The teachers want the kids to be respectful and sophisticated enough for the main message to come through. As the students realize that the guest artist is sharing about movement…they pine for more opportunity to join in. At last some are invited to stand up and wiggle or wave a scarf. The elephant in the room is ~ WHY HAVEN’T WE ALL BEEN MOVING all along?
Talk therapy, monologues of lessons, car rides daily, entertainment, and homework are all normal activities. They occur without us calculating the amount of time we spend on them. In the past few years I’ve encouraged my kids to identify when they are leveraging their bodies or standing with muscular strength. Because we have become a society of people who sit or stand still for a long period of time we have lost our body’s wisdom. I’m writing about the somatic wisdom that naturally occurs when we are moving and working with our body. It is possible to tilt and lean each bone to leverage the body into balance. When this happens we’re no longer using our muscles. They weaken and atrophy to the point of mush. The result is forgotten wisdom. This is a lesson that I often find myself teaching during a personal training session. YET!! I hadn’t thought about the activity of leveraging and propping students up at their desks to keep them attuned with the words.
Moving with academics is extremely simple to introduce to your class. Simple warm-up exercises from a fitness video can stimulate childrens’ body, mind, and spirit. In order to kindle an excitement in any classroom; I’ve created a short list of activities that will help children, parents, teachers, and all students.
WAYS to MOVE with ACADEMICS:
- Teach yourself and your students to distribute their weight. Begin in a seated or standing position and practice lifting a bone with the power of the muscle group under it. For example: Lift the head off the neck. Lift the arms off the chest. Lift the tummy off the hips.
- Take a dance break. Allow yourself and your students channel their inner Napoleon Dynamite. Nearly every movie is accented with a freestyle dance break. Let your credits roll and “move it move it” or “minion groove” to My Life.
- Turn up the creative station. Ask yourself and your students….if I needed to teach this lesson without the use of my voice or any reading…how would I get the message across? Stand up those students and ask them too. They will know vertical, horizontal, and perpendicular very quickly if you let them figure out how to show it.
If you would like to turn up the creativity on your own I suggest testing yourself. Are you leveraging your way through life or are you standing firm in your body, mind, and spirit? If you would like to see how other great minds, like yours, are figuring this out; check out Science Magazine’s contest, Dance your PhD and the Washington Post article, Why so many kids can’t sit still.
A guest artist is a wonderful place to begin. There are wonderful dance and physical education standards established for our young people. Another wonderful task is to adhere to the suggested dosage of exercise recommended by our doctors. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular movement three times a week. Any attempt to move will give your life a little something worth fighting for. I invite you to move more and consistently everyday!