Picture this: You stop the class to allow a movement break, and you choose an oldie but a goodie – do the number of jumping jacks equal to the correct math problem shown. The students comply, but you can tell they might be getting a bit bored. It’s time to switch up your classroom activities! Without making drastic changes to your routine while simultaneously incorporating student input, you can create a class movement bank to make old activities seem like new.

Here’s how. Give each student two small slips of paper or notecards. Explain the types of activities you want them to brainstorm. For instance, “On your slips of paper, write down a movement you can perform while standing in place. One example is marching in place.” Then collect the student responses and place them in a cup or bucket. Voila! You now have about 50 movement activities that can be done to change up the math activity described above.

Another idea is to simply come up with the movement ideas yourself. I suggest including your activities in a 7×7 table and cutting them out. Place them in a cup, and draw each time to determine which movements to perform.

Here is an example.

Use the Movement Bank with the following ideas!

  • Deal or No Deal: Teacher writes a statement on the board or posts it on a smartboard (could be related to math, science, reading, social studies, etc.). If the statement is true, students perform one activity drawn from the cup. If the statement is false, students perform a different activity drawn from the cup.
  • Hide the Beanbag (Pangrazi, Beighle, & Pangrazi, 2009): One student (searcher) stands to the side with eyes covered while the rest of the class hides the beanbag. When prompted the searcher moves around the room trying to locate the beanbag. As the searcher moves, the other students perform an activity (drawn from the cup) in place. As the searcher gets closer to the hidden beanbag, students perform the activity faster. When he moves away, they perform it slower.
  • Dandy Dice (Pangrazi, Beighle, & Pangrazi, 2009): One student is the roller. The roller draws an activity out of the cup, then rolls the dice and calls out the number. The entire class performs the movement either the number of times shown on the dice or for that many seconds. Play continues with a new roller.
  • High Low Jackpot (Pangrazi, Beighle, & Pangrazi, 2009): A number between 1 and 100 is written on the board. The student who has not seen the number stands with back to the board, facing the class, and attempts to guess the number “jackpot”. After each guess, the class gives the guesser a clue of either “high” or “low” by drawing an activity from the cup to determine high and low signals. Once the correct guess is made, a new student becomes the guesser.


Pangrazi, R., Beighle, A., & Pangrazi, D. (2009). Promoting Physical Activity and Health in the Classroom Activity Cards. Pearson: San Francisco, CA.