One of the best ways to give our brains a boost is through exercise. As John Medina points out in his book, Brain Rules, our brains evolved under conditions of almost constant motion, so our thinking and learning is optimized when we are moving.
And science is now showing us that SITTING is the one of the worst things we can do for our health, increasing the prevalence of heart disease, Type II diabetes and even cancer.
For this week's Try It Tuesday, we're talking about getting physical--strategies you can use to bring more movement into your work with students.
Walk and TalksNilofer Merchant is doing something that she says has changed her life--instead of meeting people for coffee or in a conference room, she now has "walking meetings," where she invites people to go for a walk to discuss ideas or plans.
You can easily adapt this for students. The next time you want them to brainstorm some ideas or think about an important question, have them go for a 15-minute walk together. If they have smart phones (as many of them do), they can record their discussion so they capture their ideas while they're walking.
Here are some additional resources to check out on the topic:
Post questions, topics etc. on flip chart paper and post the individual sheets around the room. Then have students move around to each piece of flip chart paper with a marker to respond to the question, add their ideas, etc.
2-Minute Movement BreaksAs you transition from one activity to another, look for ways to incorporate movement. For example, when you shift from role plays into a class discussion, take a short movement break where you and your students take a few minutes to stand, stretch and move around the room a little.
Design Some "Brain Break" Activities with StudentsTalk with your students about the benefit of movement and then invite them to come up with their own ideas for how to incorporate more movement into class. Send them on a Walk and Talk to brainstorm their ideas and then create a Gallery Walk around topics like "Starting Class," "In Between Activities," "After Lunch," and "When We're Feeling Tired." Then invite them to add their ideas and work with them to plan out how to experiment with their ideas to bring more movement into your work.
Or have them write their Brain Break ideas on note cards. When someone feels the need to take a Brain Break, they can call out "Brain Break," and then you draw a card and everyone does what's on the card. If you're worried about this being over-used, give students 1 Brain Break "pass" per day.