My class the other day reminded me anew that I shouldn’t let anyone sit for too long. Sarah had us up out of our seat several times in the course of a 90-minute lesson. One time it was to arrange ourselves along a continuum of yes/maybe/sort of/not really/no as we answered questions about kids these days. Another time, as I mentioned, we did rotating lines to share what we’d written. A third time, we stood to “Stand and Deliver” our ideas.
I liked that Sarah didn’t make the standing seem arbitrary. Instead, it was an organic part of a given activity. Often inservices make us move around, but there’s no apparent reason, other than to make us move. I admit that I have kids stand and do brain breaks (the latest one is a complicated handshake, with crossed-hand shakes, fist bumps, hammers and high-fives so that they cross the midline and have to think about something else), but I also get them into circles to practice a song or a movement game, or to do question rotations. Our nurse encourages any student who is feeling sleepy to ask the teacher for permission to stand during the lesson, and several kids do that in my room when class is after lunch.
Today I promised my most difficult group that we’d do nothing for more than ten minutes. That was a hard promise to keep, but I did it, by breaking up each activity into shorter segments. The class flew by, and I think they may have acquired more language than on other days. At the end of the class, we played an online game with animals, and I was amazed by how many of the words they knew from stories. Every time they got something that I didn’t expect, they asked me whether I didn’t think they learned what I taught them. “But we had “goat” in just one story, a long time ago!” was my defense. Okay. TPRS works. Even when I don’t think it does. And when the kids get to move around often during a January afternoon, they have more access to what’s in their brains.