In the summer of 2007, as part of the annual Elementary Physical Education Workshop (or as I like to call it, â€œThe Best Week of the Yearâ€) held in beautiful San Luis Obispo, CA, I was fortunate to attend a five-day session conducted by Jeff Haebig, BBBM (Body/brain Boogie Man). Among the many important points he made, one that stood out to me concerned students and their need to move. Rather than fight this human tendency, teachers, according to Haebig, need to accommodate it. One way I try to do this is through Part 2 of our movement warm-up. Haebig describes five equally valid movement choices, and students, depending on their needs at the time, are free to perform the one matching those needs.
Performing Movement Choices
1) Big bouncy, angular movements: From a standing position, students who need to energize themselves move their upper bodies down toward the left side of their waist, come back up, then down to the right side of their waist, come back up, and repeat.
2) Slow, back-and-forth rocking movements: Also from a standing position, students needing to calm themselves should slowly rock their bodies back-and-forth in a straight line. Haebig uses the clever phrase â€œRock it to calm itâ€ to describe this movement. He also points out that when many students tip back in their chairs, this calming effect is what theyâ€™re trying to achieve. Armed with this insight, I now invite students who rock in their chairs to stand and rock to avoid the chance of falling backwards.
3) Combo: This third option allows students to combine the first two in whatever manner they wish in order to achieve both an energizing and calming effect.
4) Stop nâ€™ Go: With this option students may select any of the previous choices and pause periodically as they move.
5) No, thank you, I prefer to watch: Some students do not need to move and should not be pressured into doing so. Standing still while others move is a perfectly legitimate choice that teachers need to honor.
Throughout the day students are free to perform any of these movements as the need arises.
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