We build in a lot of movement at JRA because we know, both from the research and from our own observation, that kids learn better when they are allowed to move. We start the day with kickball, go walking or running after lunch, have regular Bal-a-vis-x as part of our daily schedule, and keep balls, a mini-tramp, plasma cars, and fidgets in the classrooms. Today I was showing a family around the school when a teacher and a child walked by with their coats on. “I’m taking L out for a lap around the building,” the teacher called. We know how important movement is, but even so, it’s easy to forget how powerful it is.
I love all our students, but E always puts a smile on my face. Gentle and funny, he moves at his own speed and is unmoved by peer pressure. Third period is his “make-up” class, when he works with me to catch up on the work he didn’t finish the first two periods. Today I was trying to explain about commas in between items in a series. I’d explain, he’d smile and nod, and then I’d ask him to show me where the commas would go. He had no idea. I explained again, with similar results. I tried again. His face showed nothing but incomprehension. “E,”I said, “Can you tell me what I just said?” This sweet child, who does not have an ounce of meanness or irony in his body, looked at me tentatively and responded, “You said blah, blah, blah, blah.” “Well, that explains the problem,” I said. “I thought that might be what you were hearing. Let’s go jump on the trampoline!”
He jumped 30 times, I jumped 30 times, and then I followed him down the hall as he did his best Rocky imitation. He reached the table before I did, and when I arrived, he had already correctly added three commas. Movement’s powerful stuff and a cheap intervention. And it’s worth using for any child with a bad case of the blahs.