The Physicality of Learning

While I was in the field this past week it was far too cold and rainy to be outside for recess. Instead, the class stayed in and used GONOODLE. If you have not heard of go noodle before, it is a very useful tool for days like these. It is a website full of interactive videos for children to get some physical activity in their day. In the classroom, this is commonly used for indoor recess, or just a brain break in-between class activities. While I was doing the GONOODLE video with the students this week, it made me wonder what the benefits of these things are. I know that they are very helpful to the students, but I am curious about the science behind it. So, I decided to do some research.

 

Here is a link to explore this website: https://family.gonoodle.com/ 

 

According to the research article Effect of classroom-based physical activity interventions on academic and physical activity outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analysis by Amanda Watson, Anna Timperio, Helen Brown, Keren Best, and Kylie D. Hesketh, there is a link between academic performance and physical activity in the classroom. There was a link shown between physical activity and cognitive focus. Basically, allowing the students to have time in their day to be active and get their blood flowing, allowed them to refocus better when learning in the classroom. This is an extremely important link in the classroom. Not only do these brain breaks allow for the students to be up and active in their day, it benefits their learning as well.

Image result for brain breaks

What I found even more interesting, is another link that was discovered in this research. The research in this article also showed that the connection between brain break and academic performance is stronger when the physical activity is based on the learning content. This is an amazing connection, that will allow great classroom connections. If physical activity is incorporated into regular lesson plans, the students will have a better opportunity to learn. Not only will the students be getting the content, it will be done in a fun way that actually allows them t get their blood flowing.

Image result for brain breaks

This article was a great find and a great read. It provides many insights into the benefits of physical activity in the classroom. We have to ask ourselves if we are doing the best possible things in our classroom, then adapt what we could do better. I feel that I personally could do better at incorporating physical activity into my lesson planning. It is in the best interest of the students in many ways, and that is all we can ask for.

Source:

Watson, A., Timperio, A., Brown, H., Best, K., & Hesketh, K. D. (2017). Effect of classroom-based physical activity interventions on academic and physical activity outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition & Physical Activity, 14, 1–24. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12966-017-0569-9

Why Play?

The past two weeks I have begun my observations in a Lebanon Preschool classroom. During my observations I have taken many notes about the classroom and school. However, there was one big thing I noticed. Most of the students’ school day is made up of free play. Whether it is centers, on the playground, or before class starts—free play makes up most of these students’ class time. So, we must ask ourselves why? Why is there so much free play? Are there benefits to this play? Should we (the teachers) add some

structure to this play, and how do we do it? Naturally, I had to find the answers to these questions, so here is what I found.

According to the 2019 article,” Validation of the Revised Knox Preschool Play Scale for the Brazilian Population.”, free play is essential to the early childhood classroom. The article states that free play is crucial to determining developmental stages of Pre-school aged children. This play also allows the teachers to see when learners are falling behind on developmental milestones. In another scholarly article, “The social behaviours of inhibited children in and out of preschool.”, the importance of free play is discussed in its relation to socialization. This article talks about how interactions with one’s peers is important to developing a young child’s social skills. It discusses the importance of free play in, and out of the school setting for these young learners.


So, how does all of this answer our questions? Well, this information tell us that that free play has many benefits to a developing child, and that it is important that this play is frequent. It also tells us that the FREE part of the play is arguably the most important part. The freedom the students’ have to explore and express themselves in the part that makes this work. You may say that these are only a few questions, and you have many more. Possibly the most important being, how does a teacher assess a student’s free play? Sadly, I will have to leave you to investigate that on your own, as I do the same. However, here is one method I like, to start your investigative journey.

Collecting and Using Anecdotal Records

This in-service suite describes how to collect and use anecdotal records to document child progress. More information is available at http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/tta-system/teaching/practice/assessment/iss/collect.html We accept comments in the spirit of our comment policy: http://www.hhs.gov/web/socialmedia/policies/comment-policy.html

Sources:

Sposito, A. M. P., Santos, J. L. F., & Pfeifer, L. I. (2019). Validation of the Revised Knox Preschool Play Scale for the Brazilian Population. Occupational Therapy International, 1–5. https://doi.org/10.1155/2019/6397425
Coplan, R. J., DeBow, A., Schneider, B. H., & Graham, A. A. (2009). The social behaviours of inhibited children in and out of preschool. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 27(4), 891–905. https://doi.org/10.1348/026151008X396153

My Educational Gurus

Welcome back!

I have told you a little bit about my  personal life in my last post, but in this post you’ll find out more about my educational life. Also, the things that inspire me, and the theories that I try to follow.

First and foremost, The person that inspires me to be a teacher, was one of my former teachers. My second grade teacher made one of the biggest impacts in my life, and ultimately made me want to have the same impact on others. When I was a senior in high school, I had the opportunity to go back to her classroom every day, as a teacher’s assistant. Since then, she has become somewhat of a mentor to me. I have contacted her throughout my college career, for insights and interviews. She has given me so many opportunities, and I can never thank her enough.

The main pedagogy that has been shaping my path is Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. I believe this is one of the most important aspects in learning. The basic needs of a child need to be met constantly, in order for a child to be able to learn. This is a hard subject to tackle in the education classroom, because a teacher can not go home and take care of a student. However, I intend to do my best to meet these needs in the classroom; to the best of my ability. For example, I remember reading about a teacher who had a student that was not able to get enough food at home. So, the teacher brought breakfast for that student in the mornings, and even helped the family with groceries occasionally. It is important for these needs to be met. A child simply can not focus on things like adding two numbers, when their stomach is growling all day. The question is, how do we help these students without crossing boundaries in their home life? (see bottom for article about this subject)

As for my current learning, the people teaching me the “how” and “why” of early childhood education, are my college professors. Most of these professors have had many years of experience in this field, and a few are still practicing this craft. They have all gone above and beyond in every class with sharing their insights, experience, and giving advice. I feel what I have learned the most in class is from the personal experiences that my professors have shared, and I am excited to continue to learn more. However, there are others who speak the truth, and share insights with me.

The most truth I have experienced was when I spent the year with my second grade teacher. I got a “behind the scenes” look at teaching everyday with her, and she spoke a lot of helpful “truths” about the things I went on to learn in college. On the other hand, the person that shares insights with me the most is my best friend/roommate. We are both early childhood educations majors, and while we are both undergraduate students, we have been studying the same things. We are both in the same place in our studies, and do most things together. All of our classes are the same, so we often do homework and study together. Often, we have discussions about what we learn, and challenge each other’s thinking. 

There are so many components that go int o my thought process of teaching, and this just breaks the surface. I am forever grateful to all of the people mentioned in this post, and hope to continue learning from them in the future.

Source:

Kroth, Michael. “Maslow—Move Aside! A Heuristical Motivation Model for Leaders in Career and Technical Education.” Journal of Industrial Teacher Education, vol. 44, no. 2, 2007.

Welcome to my blog!

My name is Miranda, and I am an education major here at Millersville. I have created this blog for a semester long research project. I will be posting all of my findings through this blog!

However, my first assignment is to research the medium that I have chosen to use for the project. This is my first time using a blog, but I would like to learn more. Please comment below and let me know any tips you have. I’m excited to learn more!

-Miranda