8 Ways to Get Students Moving in the Classroom

8 Ways to Get Students Moving in the Classroom

Movement in the classroom is beneficial for many reasons. First and foremost, getting up to move in the classroom might help anxious students relieve stress. Moving around during class also helps to reduce stress, and it helps to get our blood circulating. Here are five ways to incorporate movement in your classroom to improve learning and student engagement.

Here is a list of 8 ways you can add movement to your classroom while also incorporating student accountability.

1. Collaborative Brainstorming

There are so many positive benefits that stem from collaborative brainstorming. Not only do students get to learn from and teach one another, they also gain self-confidence. To conduct group brainstorming in your classroom, assign a variety of different topics to each group. Each group should have a different topic. Students will get up and move to work with their new group. This activity also lends itself to a gallery walk activity to promote even more movement in the classroom.

To add in accountability, keep the groups small and circulate throughout the classroom as students work.


2. Sticky Note Questions and Answers

One quick and easy way to get students engaged and moving is to incorporate sticky notes in your lesson. Ask students a question and have them respond on the sticky note. After students write the answer to the question on the notes, they will get up and post their notes on the board. This strategy can work as a bell-ringer activity or as a quick little break in the middle of the lesson. It is also a great strategy to use to survey your students when assessing prior knowledge.

To add in accountability, instruct students to write their names on the back of the sticky note.

3. Stations

Incorporating learning stations in your lesson plans is a great way to encourage movement in the classroom. Several stations I frequently use in the classroom are a reading station, practice station, and tech station. The reading station might be a section from a novel you are currently reading in class, a speech related to the theme of a novel you are reading in class, or a nonfiction article that connects to your current unit of study. The practice station is usually a group worksheet or brainstorming organizer where students practice a skill they are working on. The tech station is generally dedicated class time for students to work on an assignment on the computer. These three stations require little prep on your part, and they help the class period go by much quicker.

To add in accountability, have students turn their work in at the end of each station.

4. Escape Rooms

Escape rooms are all the rage right now, and they make learning fun. In fact, students beg for more escape rooms. Recently, I conducted two escape room challenges in my classroom: a growth mindset escape room and a nonfiction reading escape room. My students were moving, collaborating, and problem-solving, and it was amazing!

To add in accountability, require every student to turn in either an answer sheet or a reflection.

8 Ways to Get Students Moving in the Classroom

5. Give One, Get One

Give One Get One is a great strategy that is easy to implement in any lesson. I like using this strategy best after taking notes or reviewing a film or Ted Talk. To incorporate this learning strategy in your lesson plan, instruct students to get up and share their notes or one of their takeaways with another student. Then, they will need to ask another student to share notes or for their takeaway.

To add in accountability, have students write down the information they receive.

6. Gallery Walks

Gallery walks are one of my favorite ways to get students up and moving. One way that I introduce students to new concepts is by having my students complete group posters. They research the new idea and write information about it on the poster. For the gallery walk portion of this activity, have your students post their posters (or other work) up on the walls. You’ll want the work to be pretty spread out throughout the room. Then have students walk around the room examining each poster.

To add in accountability, have students complete a chart or take notes as they circulate throughout the room.

7. Carousel Questions

The carousel questions strategy is similar to a gallery walk, but rather than taking information from the posters and learning from the posters, students are contributing to the posters. This is a great strategy to use when you are introducing a new unit or reviewing a unit. Post chart or butcher paper around the room, and write different introductory or review questions on each page. Instruct students to walk throughout the room and answer each question. Complete the introduction or review strategy by reviewing several of the answers with the class.

To add in accountability, you can assign this as group work. Have students circulate throughout the room in groups and assign a different color marker for each group. At the end of the activity, check to see if every single color is present in the paper.

8. Take them outside

One sure fire way to get students moving is to take them outside for the lesson. If it is a beautiful day and you have reading or writing scheduled, take students outside to complete the task.

To add in accountability, collect the assignment at the end of the class, or plan to do this again (especially if the students like being outside) as a positive reward for their conduct outside.

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    • I like your tip on accountability #8. My students loved going outside, so we did whenever possible. Thanks for your post. I found it very helpful.

    • Excellent collection of ideas! I love all of the work you're sharing with sticky notes. So bright and engaging. 🙂

      • Thanks! The kids love it too. Have them write on plain, lined paper and they sigh. Whip out the sticky notes and they volunteer to write the answers 🙂

    • I love stations and have just been getting into Escape rooms. My students LOVE Escape rooms! I would also like to try collaborate brainstorming! Thanks!

    • These are all great ideas–I'm going to have to implement "Give One, Get One" before the end of the year. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • I love using sticky notes in my class, but never thought to do it in the middle of class. Thanks for the bright idea!

    • Wow! What a great collection of ideas for getting kids moving! I've never tried some of these, but now I can't wait! I think Give One, Get One will be first on my list. Thank you!


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