I get to see a lot of early elementary classes as I drive from school to school. I admire the teachers who have a job that is similar to herding cats. The kids are fidgety and active. They have a difficult time sitting still, no less learning to read or write.
A lot of the teachers try to add PE to the curriculum. When I watch them, its obvious that they are not comfortable teaching PE or having kids move around. They spend so many hours trying to keep the kids under control, that to have them be running around seems like a recipe for disaster.
And yet, but giving the kids controlled movement activities, they will actually do better in class. They will be able to concentrate and focus longer. They will get along better with their peers.
So in an effort to help all of you teachers out there I’m going to have some blog posts about activities for Preschool and Early Elementary students. Of course, they are adaptable for Special Education classes and maybe even Upper Elementary.
The first one is to pick an animal and have the kids behave like one. Let’s pick an elephant and see what types of movements we can get. Do each one for 20 to 30 seconds.
1. Move like an elephant’s trunk. Students put hands together and swing them from side to side. They can pretend to throw dirt on their back or pick leaves off a tree.
2. Put an imaginary log in your tusks and move it or give it to other students. Hold the arms out in front of their bodies like tusks.
3. Walk like an elephant. On hands and feet, move the right side forward, then the left.
4. Make big ears and flap them like an elephant.
5. Make a line like a heard of elephants.
6. As the kids to come up with things elephants do and invent their own movements.
As you can see there are countless variations they can do. The kids will laugh, have fun and build critical gross motor skills. They will gain strength, coordination as well.
Afterwards, it is easy to tie on other skills such as writing or drawing to bring the lesson to a close.
Have fun and let me know how things worked for you out in the jungle!