Increasing Student Engagement through Kinetic Methods



Increasing Student Engagement Through Kinetic Movement

By Andrea Wingett and Kelley Horner


 History & Early Implementations

At about the same time, Howard Gardner and Maragaret H'Doubler started writing about movement. Howard Gardner is known for his theory on multiple intelligences and wrote the book Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. This theory was that everyone has different ways of learning. Maragaret H' Doubler wrote and spoke about kinesthetic movement starting in the 1940's. She defined kinesthetic learning and this also translated into movement and dance.

So what is kinesthetic learning? Kinesthetic learning is a learning style that in which learning takes place by the student carrying out physical activity. 



















Timeline of Movement in the Classroom

  • 1960's attempt to have community control over the classroom in attempts to decrease discrimination in the classroom.
  • Late 1960's-1970's there was movement to have open classrooms which included having learning centers, tables set up for group work, students having the freedom to move about the classroom without teacher permission. Rooms were very large and open. 
  • By the end of the 1970's open classrooms were unpopular and being divided into traditional classrooms.
  • In the 1980's the accountability movement emerged emphasis on testing (also referred to as standards movement).
  • 1981- Interactions were very teacher centered and most time was spent with teacher talking, centered activities, explaining or read alouds, discussion and written assignments/tests. Questions were very factual.
  • 1990's- Standardized achievement tests began.







Here are the FACTS:

  1. FACT: There is a biological link to movement and learning.
  2. FACT: Activity stimulates the brain.
  3. FACT: Oxygen is essential for the brain to function. By increasing oxygen to the brain by movement and physical activity, the student is receiving more blood flow to the brain.



What does this lead us to? 

Brain Breaks

Brain breaks are a quick and effective way of changing or focusing the physical and mental state of the learners in your group (your students). They are also a useful tool for students to help activate, energize, and stimulate their brains. Research indicates that brain breaks also improve students' concentration and relieves stress.

















Today's Application In Your Classroom

Can this help my frustrated students?















Yes, kinesthetic movements can help frustrated students. Movement benefits all students, not just kinesthetic learners. Here are a few things you can do with your frustrated student:

  • Get the child to breath through their nose and count to four. Then relsease and exhale for eight counts. This can increase oxygen flow to the brain, which helps calm the student.
  • Joint compression.
  • Push down on shoulders, head, and arms.
  • Walking


What are some activities for my students?























  • Brain Breaks: A way to give your student short breaks so that they are able to concentrate and focus on the tasks given to them. 
    • Students should have a kinesthetic brain break every 25-30 minutes.
    • Brain break activities should take about 1-3 minutes of class time to complete.
    • Before implementing brain breaks in your classroom, be certain that you explain their purpose to the students.Set a timer for the activity so that it doesn't exceed set time limits. This might be a 10- second count down cue or a short musical clip like the Jeopardy theme song.
  • Kagan Strategies: Working with other students with movement to make learning effective.
  •  Classroom Yoga: This is an effective way to calm your students. This can be used by itself or with brain breaks. 




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