Friday, October 17, 2014

Sitting still in school.

You know how there are so many links to articles on facebook these days? So many of them look ridiculous to me, but occasionally I see one that looks good (meaning something substantial, interesting, and legitimate, rather than seeing which famous person was caught without make-up) and read it. Last night I read this article below and immediately wanted to write about it.

Why so many kids can't sit still in school today

I know people don't always like or have time for reading articles, but this one was worth the time for me and extremely interesting (from a teacher mind-set). It talks about how so many children are struggling to sit still, focus, and pay attention in school today, and how as a result, the percentage of children being diagnosed with ADHD is increasing. I do believe ADHD is a real thing, but I also think there are many alternate strategies that teachers/parents could and should try first to help the child cope/manage without medication. I know, from my own first hand experience, that it is hard and time-consuming to have children in the classroom that need special attention. It really is. But, we have to make due with the resources and help that we have and make the best of it, which can definitely be easier said than done sometimes.

The article also talked about how recess times are being cut much shorter than they used to be and how detrimental this is for the children. Children NEED time to move, and the article talks more in depth about why our bodies need movement. People acknowledge that children need lots of time to move (the writer was advocating for at least an hour of recess a day, when most are only 15 minutes), yet schools don't allow that because they are pressured by curriculum and standardized test scores.

While looking for the link to the initial article this morning, I also found out that there was a follow up article, which was also interesting and connected the two articles together well.

The right- and surprisingly wrong- ways to get kids to sit still in class

This article talked about teacher's ideas for how to get kids to move more in school, such as sitting on big bouncy balls instead of chairs, allowing for more short movement breaks, or adding pedals to desks so they can exercise while learning. (When I was student teaching, one of the schools I was at started a trial run for the bouncy balls, and each classroom got a couple. We chose the kids who we thought would benefit the most from using them, and we definitely saw good results!) The author said these were good ideas, but still doesn't answer the core problem of allowing more movement time. It ends by saying that school say their hands are tied, when they shouldn't be or don't have to be. We had plenty of movement time in school in the 1980's, so what are we going to do to fix this problem today?

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