Movement Matters 101

Why “Movement Matters 101”?

In my many years as an educator I have found it’s true that most students are kinesthetic learners (85% based on a current survey ). I’ve also found that if you can get someone moving, and show them how the movement relates to the topic at hand, they learn both quickly and deeply.

The problem is we don’t. Most teachers are uncomfortable with bringing movement into their classrooms and for good reason! If you don’t have some idea of what you are doing when you introduce movement the class can swiftly devolve into chaos.

As a dance and movement college professor, and now as a Title 1 educator in a rural elementary school, I want to help. I know we’re all after the same thing: fnding effective ways to help students learn, so they can live productive, happy lives. I believe that through a combination of:

  1. easy to follow cards for the classroom

  2. simple professional development workshops

  3. easily accessed videos that can be linked to specifc learning outcomes

  4. on-demand, online coaching

    we can get movement into classrooms where it can signifcantly support teachers in teaching, and students in learning.

    As we help teachers we help students.

    Some Examples from my Second Grade Class:

We were introducing arrays to the class. As we all know arrays lead kids into multiplication and the lessons start with defining rows and columns. Many of the kids felt confused as to which was which (as had I when I first saw the worksheets) so I made up a song with movement. Here is the song and the movement that goes with it:

Row, row, side to side ,this is how we go. [have students put their arms out to the side and slide or step on a horizontal line, anywhere in the classroom]
Columns up and columns down [staying in one place put your arms up and then put them down and lean over towards the floor] Find a row and GO!!! [look for another place in the room and run to it] Repeat.

A few days later this happened:

We were further into arrays and the students were having trouble getting the concept from the x’s on the whiteboard. I asked if we could all get up and use the chairs to make arrays. We did. They got the fact that columns were at the top of the page (or front of the classroom) and that rows went side to side (think above our song). It got them up and moving and they all could participate. The next day I heard the teacher in the other classroom use this exercise for her class (we had told her about it) and she refned it even further, asking groups of boys and girls to do the frst array, second array etc., and then she combined everyone for one fnal array. Brilliant!


This may not help all children understand and retain this concept, but it helps a lot of them. Physicalizing somewhat esoteric concepts is critical in both understanding them and retaining them. It also helps to come at it from different angles or perspectives. This, in turn, deepens transferable knowledge which, as all teachers know, is a crucial part of meaningful learning.


We are developing an easily deliverable template for classroom teachers whereby they can integrate best practices in movement with curricular learning goals.

We don’t need consultants delivering this, we need teachers who can do it as the need arises and individualize it for their

classrooms. Those teachers need support. We are developing online movement ideas (such as the ones we used to teach arrays) so a teacher can type in their topic e.g. “arrays” or “subtraction” and get ideas and examples (videos) of ways to teach those concepts through movement. We also plan to partner with an online delivery platform such as GoNoodle to incorporate these curriculum specific movement spots into their classroom teaching. An easy-to- incorporate workshop session is also part

of our design, – a simple session that could be added to a faculty meeting or brought in during professional development work.

Who is it for?

K-6 classroom teachers to begin with, but it will be developed to work in any classroom (given proper training and design).

Has this been done before?

YES! The ancient Greeks were strong believers and practitioners of holistic practice: combining athletic or physical activity with mental training and moral practice. What we might call SEL these days. There have also been lots of people who know this is critical for kids, from researchers to education practitioners in all areas

How To Get Started:

The frst step is to decide if your school or district is a good ft. My fees are based on the scope and needs of the client. I would love to talk to you about partnering with us and individualizing your project.


Chaz WilcoxenEducation