Movement and Play in Upper Grades

Making Room for Movement and Play in Upper Grades

by Barbara Michelman

Reading this article reminded me again how educators have been talking about the need to infuse movement into our instruction. Of course, MI theory highlights the equal importance of kinesthetic intelligence in human thinking and learning along with the academic related linguistic and logical mathematical intelligences. I appreciated Michelman’s article because it focused on the upper grades (and not just elementary children, which is the usual approach). She also highlights the important role of “playfulness” in learning and this counters the usual attitude that high school learning must be serious to be effective.

“It’s a strange way we’ve set up the education – that play is ‘extra,’ something that just little kids do,? Says Wendy Ostroff, an associate professor … “to bring play to a screeching halt just as students hit adolescence reflects a misunderstanding of the research literature on the importance of play for learning.”

This brief article also mentions how neuroscience evidence describes how physical movement can enhance attention and engagement.

“She also wants teachers to understand the “neuroscience rule of thumb?: Children can only handle sustained, focused attention in a sedentary state for about as many minutes as they are old, plus or minus two minutes (e.g., 10 – 14 minutes for a 12 year old), she said, “After sustaining focus for about 15 – 18 minutes, even the average adult brain then needs to something, such as move, talk, and so on.”

Read article here: