Archive for August, 2014

Movement Toward Learning

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

As a school teacher, I’m always looking for ways to fully engage students in their lessons. This summer, while teaching summer school, I taught my students how exercise helps their brains. As a reward for doing great on a lesson, the children would get to run a lap around the playground.  For brain breaks, we would do push-ups, jumping jacks, etc. in the classroom. It was the first time in my life I had to tell people, “No, I know you want to do more push-ups, but let’s sit down now and study more phonics.” The fitness trainer in me was extremely conflicted!

Last week, I took a fabulous workshop about how a story can be read, told or acted out – the latter being the most memorable for children.  I concur completely. Children will remember a historical figure better if they acted out the person’s life, rather than just read a book or were told a story about the person. They will also remember a foreign language better with physical movements.Dance

Physical and theatrical learning work! For the last six years, there have been a group of scientists and athletes who explain their Ph.D. research in dance. It’s called Dance Your Ph.D.   There is prize money for five categories: physics, chemistry, biology, social sciences, and the best dance of the year. Think about this: math and science artistically explained through dance.

Check out a fabulous explanation here: Dance versus Powerpoint. This talk drives home the point that very complex ideas and lessons can be broken down and simply communicated through physical expression, not just pen and paper.   This very funny one is the 2014 winner of the year.  Scroll down to the middle of the page to watch the sperm competition.

What else could we learn, teach and communicate if we did it through dance? Think about turf wars in break dancing, passion in tango, and excitement in Lindy Hop. Emotions, new information and self expression, all through dance. Try it with your children and see…

Parent Playground #3

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

-Bouncing your kids up and down using your hands, arms, feet, knees and legs. Do this while standing, sitting, laying down, etc.  Don’t just do it for 30 seconds. This is exercise for you and fun for your kiddo. Make it last! Mother bounces her daughter on her thigh

-Do the above bouncing, and invent a story to go with it, like “Pizza Man”.  The videographer is 5 years old.

-Let your kids “clean” with their feet or upside down with their hands as you drag them around like in this video. I’m not sure if the parent or child is getting the best exercise here, but both are having fun!

“Skate” with towels under your feet. Give your kids towels and spray and let them help clean the floor/exercise with you. Sliding and/or cleaning exercise

-Put a laundry basket on a blanket, have your child climb in, and push and pull them around the house. I am surprised every time how high my heart rate goes the first minute.  It’s the same with pulling them on a blanket at the beach or on a sled in the snow. Super high intensity interval training!

 

Everyone is an Athlete

Monday, August 4th, 2014

The great George Sheehan said “Everyone is an Athlete. The only difference is that some of us are in training, and some of us are not. ” Yet…Daughter copies mother stretching