Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Teaching Kinesthetic Learners

Newton's laws of motion state that "an object in motion tends to stay in motion..."  This is especially true of kids.  We've all had students--some of us entire classes--that seemed to always be wiggling and jiggling around.  The young ones need to be able to move.  Why not give them some guidance and direction to make it a productive part of your class?  The older ones need to be shaken up a bit before their bodily inertia travels to their brains.  Why not get their blood flowing every now and again?

Movement seems to really help students, especially the kinesthetic learners.  Below are a few ideas to use in your classroom...

1) In Spanish, I always make my students play human bingo.  This gets them moving around and dialoguing in Spanish (something for which the extra blood flow is very helpful).  Obviously games shouldn't be restricted to certain classes.  Playing games that allow for movement is a great way to engage kinesthetic learners.

2) Gallery walks are great ways to get students moving around.  One way I've used them recently is to post giant chart sheets around the room with a different character's name from the novel we are reading on each one.  Students pair up and go to a chart sheet.  They have a few minutes to write down a detail and or quote about the character along with the page reference.  Then everyone rotates to the right or left.  They look at what is written and add one or two new quotes/details about the character.  Students proceed like this until they are all the way back to where they started.

3) Word sorts are a quick, easy review.  I write vocabulary on post it notes and divy them up among the students. Then I write headings on the board and have them get up and put their post its under the heading they think it belongs to.  Finally, the class goes over what is on the board to check for understanding and correct any misunderstandings.

4) Have students work on projects so that the lessons are hands on.  Having students construct, type, bake, glue, paint, manipulate, build, present, act, photograph or do anything that goes beyond just listening and seeing are stimulating.

5) Use role plays.  One of my favorite units to teach is one on how to land a job.  I have students participate in mock interviews with community members.  This is a great way to get students fully engaged in learning with a real world application.

There are so many ways to get moving.  If you have any great ideas, add a comment with a tip.


  1. My students sit on ball chairs, I teach using whole brain techniques, for whole group instruction I sit them in the center of the floor facing the board and me in third grade so that they can move to talk/ coach with their teammate and so that I can see them all at once at the same time.

    1. Great idea with the ball chairs! I wouldn't have thought of that. Thanks for your tips!


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