Back to School Night (aka Meet the Teacher or Open House) may be approaching soon for you, and one effective way to engage your students, family members, and parents/guardians is to grab their attention with movement breaks during their visit to your classroom. Depending on how the event is organized, there are various ways to incorporate this into your time with guests.
Small Group Movement Breaks
If the event is drop-in style, you can have a station where there is an activity video playing. A plethora of free resources are available on the Internet such as GoNoodle, The OT Toolbox, Cosmic Kids Yoga, The Learning Station, and education world, among others. If you have a smart board or projector, it would be simple and easy to have the video playing on repeat with instructions posted for students and their guests. Another option would be to have movement break cards in one area with encouragement for students to complete at least one of these with a friend and/or their guests. Think BINGO or checklist style with tasks students should try to accomplish during the Back to School Night! These are one- to two-minute breaks that allow students to be active in a small space. You can find 50 different activity ideas in one with Energizing Brain Breaks from Moving Minds.
Large Group Movement Breaks
On the other hand, if the event is one in which all parents/guardians and students attend and learn information at the same time, perhaps 5 minutes of the presentation could be devoted to a group movement break. This gives you an opportunity to share your philosophy with your students’ families, letting them know that activity is always good for students and helps with aspects of learning such as behavior and concentration. You can lead the activity, or while not 100% ideal, a video could be played to lead the students and families through. I suggest you engage in the movement break with the students and guests if you go with the video option, though!
Here are a few activities you can try:
- My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean: Sing this song with the students (or play it through the Internet). Students squat each time a word beginning with a B is sung. This involves lots of squatting!
- Color Hunt: Teacher calls out a body part and color, and the student must touch that body part to an object of that color in the room and return to his seat as soon as possible. The next body part and color are then called.
- 1-2-3: Teacher (or student) lists three different activities, and the students complete one of the first, two reps of the second and three reps of the third activity. For example, “jump-hop-leap”. The students would jump once, hop twice, and leap three times. Then the next activities are called out.
Don’t be shy! Have fun, and show your students and families your love of movement! They will be sure to remember their Back to School Night with you.
Heather is a Professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Promotion at the University of Kentucky. She is a former physical education teacher, and co-author of Dynamic Physical Education for Secondary School Children, 8ed. Heather was also the recipient of the NASPE Curriculum and Instruction Young Scholar Award and a AAHPERD Research Consortium Fellow.