Kids Need to Move!!

Movement is essential for special needs learners.

Why should kids move in school?

All learners, including those with special education needs, can benefits from movement during the school day. The cerebellum is the part of the brain that processes movement, and it's also the part that processes learning. Movement increases blood flow and oxygen to the brain, and influences learning and memory (Jensen, 2005).

Special Needs Students

For special education students, movement can have several benefits.
  • First, it can help kids get out of a counter-productive mental state (Jensen, 2005).
  • For some students, movement can activate parts of the brain that are essential for learning.
  • Increased energy, blood flow and chemicals in the brain (amines) that result from movement can improve the mood of students, making them more receptive to learning.
  • More active students need slower movement activities, helping them reach a calmer state and aiding concentration.

Suggested Classroom Activities

Time is always a concern among teachers; we never feel like we have enough time to devote to everything we want to share with our students! Fortunately, research shows that when teachers give time to exercise, student achievement on academic tasks increases. Try some of these:
  • slow stretching
  • quick games, like a ball toss to review academic content
  • role-play
  • cross-laterals - these exercises force the brain hemispheres to communicate (Jensen, 2005). Many of the "Brainercise" GoNoodle activities are cross-lateral

References

Jensen, E. (2005) Teaching with the brain in mind. (2nd ed.). Danvers, MA: ASCD.