When it comes to getting students to learn, there are a lot of factors that influence that process. Of course, relationships come first but what happens after you’ve built the relationship? How do you get students to become truly engaged in their learning and grow academically? There are a lot of engagement strategies out there but one of the best ways to get students learning is to get them moving! Student engagement with movement helps turn lessons into concrete learning. Research shows that students learn and remember 10 times better when they are moving. So how do we get them moving? Check out these fun and unique ideas to get students up, moving, and learning in the classroom!
Student Engagement with Movement
Below, I have 6 unique strategies that will get your students up and moving in the classroom. Each one of them can be adapted to fit any grade level and any content area! It’s just up to you to add in your own spin and get going! I hope you find a new idea (or two) to try!
#1: 4 Corners
My absolute FAVORITE student engagement with movement is playing 4 Corners with my students. What is 4 Corners? It’s super simple! Basically, you pose a question to students. You can read this question out loud or you can display it using a document camera or projector. Then you give the students 4 choices for their answers and assign each of the choices to one of the corners of the room. Students will decide which answer they believe is correct and move to the corner of the room that matches his/her answer.
I have found that students will follow the crowd, so what I do to help this, is I bring all students back to their seats to stand after each question and I have them write their answer on a dry erase board before they are allowed to move. This makes them do their own thinking and not be persuaded by where their friends are going!
You can easily do this on the fly with made up questions and simply point to the corners as you give out the answer choices, or you can be prepared and have slides ready to display for your students to read (this is how I do it!). I have a ton of 4 corner games ready to go in my Teachers Pay Teachers store! Many for math, reading, and even the beginning and end of the year! Definitely head over and check those out! There will be lots of movement in your future with these!
#2: Gallery Walk
Another unique student engagement strategy for students movement is by having a gallery walk. A gallery walk is where the teacher hangs up a display around the room of work or problems that have been completed. Students then take a walk around the ‘gallery’ to observe, read, and evaluate what is being displayed.
Want to make it more interactive? I love giving each student a marker and have them write questions, comments, or give feedback onto the paper that’s hanging on the wall. This makes the display more colorful and it holds students accountable for their thinking during the gallery walk! You can do this with math problems that have been solved, you can take a section of texts to chunk apart and display to have students read and react to, or you can have comprehension questions and answers displayed to have students analyze. There are a ton of options!
#3: Graffiti Wall
Speaking of colorful, another awesome student engagement strategy to get kids moving is by having them make a Graffiti Wall! What’s a graffiti wall? It’s an interactive display that students create by writing words or phrases on a given topic. I typically use them when I’m reviewing for a quiz or a test.
Check out this post to learn more about how to use graffiti walls in your classroom!
#4: Cocktail Discussions
No, there’s no alcohol involved – don’t worry! But this is a super fun and easy way to get students up and moving and engaged in a discussion with one another! How does it work? Simple! On the front board, write a question in the form of a web (like for brainstorming) and have students copy that question and web into their notebooks. It works best if the question is a ‘deep’ question that has many possible thoughts and answers.
Then have students walk around and create groups of 3-4 to begin discussing the question. They write responses around their web. Allow them to chat for about 3-4 minutes and then time is up. They then mosey on to find a new group of 3-4 students. It’s perfectly okay if a few students in the group overlap from time to time but no groups should ever be the exact same!
As they rotate from group to group discussing the question, their web should become filled with tons of answers and ideas!
I absolutely LOVE using the fishbowl student engagement strategy with my students. It’s the perfect way to put students into the ‘teacher’ role and allow students to learn from one another. How does it work? Pick 2-4 students to be the ‘fish’. These students will be in the middle of a circle, with the rest of the class forming the circle around them. The fish will then model or demonstrate the concept for the students who are watching.
They can solve math problems on dry erase boards, think through how to answer a comprehension question, model fluent reading – anything! The students on the outside of the circle are watching, taking notes, and are prepared at the end to discuss what they saw and noticed from the fish. It’s a strategy that gets students up and stretching their legs but doesn’t take up the whole class period!
There are tons more ideas where this came from! If you’re interested in more, then definitely check out my Engagement Strategy Cards ! They have over 50 unique ideas (just like these) and almost ALL of them get students up and moving!
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