Occupational Therapy Tips for the Classroom-Students Who Need To Move!!!

Teachers who are noticing students that frequently move may be seeing learners who are trying to meet needs based on sensory preferences and/or these students are natural kinesthetic learners. Physically, these students use their bodies a lot throughout the day but may choose inappropriate ways or times to move. To support the needs of these students, teachers may consider the following tips to embed into curriculum or throughout the temporal timeline of the day.

• Consider using creative drama for older students-this strategy can be integrated into curriculum which provides movement through understanding literacy, current events; remember kinesthetic learners like to move and can show their knowledge by pantomime, skit, or charade

• Chair push-ups: sit and hold on to sides of chair, push down on hands and try to lift hips off chair-can students do as many repetitions as their age?

• Popcorn in a chair-have students sit with hands on sides of chair, demonstrate slow bounce and gradually fast bounce on chair pretending to be a kernel of popcorn heating up and popping-then slow down and stop-ready to learn after a quick movement break

• Animal walks: crab walk, bear walk, lizard walk (army crawl)

• Seat walking on floor forwards and backwards-can students move from desk or table to circle area by seat walking?

• Create a stress basket filled with acceptable quiet fidgets-you may need to remind students that eyes and ears are on you

• Moveable seating such as sit-n-move cushion, camping cushion, partially inflated beach ball, ball chair with stabilizer dish

• Have a rocking chair in the room

• Create workstations that allow students alternative positions to do work: stand, kneel, lying on floor or carpet

• Plan to send students who need lots of movement on errands, possibly with a reliable buddy

• Locate supplies or resources within the classroom so student may need to get up and move when needing these items

• Incorporate voting (agree/disagree) with movement: standing, stomp feet, clap hands, etc.

• Create foot fidgets with bungee cords or thera-tubing on the legs of desks

• Animal toss-use beanie baby to throw from teacher to student, whoever catches much answer or participate (can also use a koosh ball)

• Practice muscle tensing and relaxing isolated parts of body

• Do a stretch break

• Musical movement CDs for a quick whole class move to the music break

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