Most blogs on this site focus on ways to get students up and moving. While increasing activity in the classroom does engage minds and promote learning, it’s also important that I remind myself to MOVE! Let’s be honest, teachers need movement too! Small amounts of movement spread throughout the day helps give me little bursts of energy, it engages me throughout the day, and it makes me a more effective teacher! I’ve put together 5 ways that I stay active throughout my day.
1. Hit the Gym Before Work
I hit the gym before school at least four days a week! Most days my alarm goes off by 3:30 a.m. This helps get my day started on the right foot. There is no better feeling of accomplishment than coming into work after a tough workout at the gym. I aim for at least an hour workout or more each time! This helps me focus on the upcoming day while I get ready for my kids to arrive.
2. Move With Your Students
The easiest way for me to get in small amounts of physical activity at school is to jump in with my students when they are having a brain break! Whether it’s a dance, a series of exercises, or a game, I usually always participate! My students love when I jump in, and it helps get my blood pumping too!
Throughout the day, I try to take laps around the room during worktime. During recess, sometimes I’ll head over to our gym and walk back and forth on the basketball court. If the weather doesn’t permit, I try to walk around the room during indoor recess too! Having an extra pair of tennis shoes at work is a MUST. You never know when you might need them.
3. Lunchtime Walks
The time for lunch is short! Too short! I usually try to give myself at least five minutes during my twenty-five-minute lunch to get up and move. Even if it’s just down to the end of the hall and back.
4. Get an Activity Tracker to Hold Yourself Accountable
I always keep a step goal for every hour that I’m at school. I currently have my watch set to remind me to get 250 steps every hour. It will vibrate and let me know if I have been sedentary for too long. It also lets me know when I’ve hit my step goal for the hour. Like most teachers, I work over eight hours a day, so I’ve set a 250 steps/every hour goal for nine hours each day. This helps me stay sharp throughout the day and it reactivates my brain throughout the day.
5. Active Seating
I spend two large parts of the day teaching guided groups! For an hour and twenty minutes in the morning, I teach small groups at my desk and then do the same for forty minutes in the afternoon. That’s two full hours of sitting. I’d be lost without the small amount of movement that I get in from active seating. Moving Minds has quite a few options for students and teachers! I really enjoy the Safco Twist Saddle Seat Stool. I can adjust the height and angle of my seat so it’s comfortable to sit on throughout the day.
Bonus: Standing and Mobile Desks
I don’t have one of these in my classroom, but I’ve always wanted a standing adjustable desk. There’s a trend in classrooms where teachers are removing their teaching desks to change the classroom environment. It’s also a great way to save space. Not being hunkered down to my traditional desk would force me to move more throughout the day.
If you ever leave work feeling a bit grouchy, groggy, and scatter brained, try to increase your movement throughout the day. I don’t expect you to wake up at 3:30 a.m. every morning, but start with 5 minutes/day. Or get up with your students and participate in a brain break with them. It will make you feel a lot better! Don’t forget, teachers need activity too! I hope some of these small tips can help get you out of the sedentary funk and encourage you to start moving!
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Jessica Tice is currently in her fifth year of teaching Kindergarten at Western Elementary in Scott County, Kentucky. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a master’s degree in Teacher Leadership and English as a Second Language.
Tice is a mom to two very busy boys that are active in school, soccer, and scouts. She enjoys working out daily and instilling that same value in her students by incorporating physical activity and purposeful movement throughout the school day.