SOMEWHERE IN THE MIDDLE

bits of sunshine grades 4-8

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Part 1- Exploring Attention Span

If you have taught grades 4 through 8, many of these facts come as no surprise. Managing and motivating teens can be as difficult as herding a bunch of cats! Their bodies are in a state of constant growth and change. No one understands this better than middle school teachers. The more we know about adolescent learners the better equipped we are to teach them. Everyone knows they have short attention spans, so how can we maximize learning in our classrooms?

30/90/10

How can we manage and optimize students' emotional states more effectively in order to maximize learning? We know that is information about attention span is correct, it might even be shorter for some. Imagine how we feel during a "death by powerpoint" presentation. How long is our attention span; energy ebbs and focus fades. Movement is a must to maintain focus and continue learning. So, at least once every 30 minutes take at least 90 seconds to get students out of their seats and have them move at least 10 feet. This strategy raises the heart rate, re-energizes, and shifts the focus so that overall engagement is sustained for longer periods of time. I'm not just talking about getting up and stretching- what I am describing is physical movement embedded in a discrete learning task. Let's examine four different strategies that will get your students moving with purpose!.

Four or More Corners

Post four to six possible responses to a question prompt around the room.


  1. Provide the question prompt.
  2. Reflect on the prompt.
  3. Move to the posted response on the wall that best reflects what you are thinking.
  4. Discuss your response with the others that chose to move to the same response.
  5. Share responses with the whole group.
  6. Return to your seat.
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