Saturday, 06 November 2010 17:45

Tip #11: The Morning Movement Warm-up (Part 1 of 4)

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This week’s tip continues our current theme: establishing an effective morning routine that prepares students for a great day of learning.  Every morning my students and I participate in a four-part morning movement warm-up.  Executing these movements helps my students achieve what I consider to be an ideal mindset for learning: calm, relaxed, focused, and confident.  Over the next four weeks I will describe these four movements, one per week.  I start by describing Cross Crawls.

Introducing Cross Crawls

Cross Crawls come from Paul Dennison’s well-known Brain Gym program, specifically its PACE (Positive, Active, Clear, and Energetic) component.  Brain Gym consists of a series of movements designed to help individuals relax, concentrate, and channel their energies in a positive direction.  I like to begin our movement warmup with Cross Crawls because it is the most active of our four parts, and while it benefits everyone, I have noticed that it particularly energizes (even wakes up) those students who may enter class a bit sleepy or lethargic.

Performing Cross Crawls

Standing in place, touch the left elbow to the right knee and then the right elbow to the left knee.  Continue alternating in this pattern.  Cross crawls should always be done slowly, with excellent posture and clean contact between the elbow and knee.  This movement activates both hemispheres of the brain and builds nerve networks between the two hemispheres.  Many kids tend to speed up while doing Cross Crawls, thinking that faster is cooler or better.  Emphasize to students the importance of moving slowly as they alternate in their pattern of connecting their elbows to their opposte knees.  Have your class perform this movement for 30-45 seconds.

New Teaching Tips appear every Sunday of the school year.