Generate a Little Excitement in Your Classroom

from Movement and Wellness Studio DayToday I felt inspired. Sometimes, I go into a day with a plan and that plan goes “‘bye ‘bye” once the day gets started. I love those days, because more times than not, my students end up getting something great out of my teaching and I get something great out of my students!  Not to mention, it can be fun.

After snack, I asked the kids to get into their seats with their math books, but before the lesson, I wanted to review fractions that equal 1 whole and go over the identity property.  This was to be in preparation for learning how to generate equivalent fractions.  For some reason, I love this lesson.  It’s one of those lessons where students can connect the dots and start to have those “A-HA!” expressions of understanding.  Love that.

After doing a verbal review with examples on the board, I decided in the moment to take it to a new level – through interpretive dance!

Cupping my hands around math expressions on the board, swaying to my own internal rhythm and moving about the room with an unparalleled passion I danced my way through the concepts of a whole and the identity property  – it was all quite ridiculous.  But I had the students’ attention.  When I finished my performance, I asked the students who understood my silent interpretive dance of the identity property.  All raised their hands, some with smiles, some with a look of embarrassment.  😉

That’s when I realized I couldn’t have all the fun, so I offered it to them and invited them to come up with their own dances that would showcase the meaning of the whole and the identity property.  Small groups of kids nearly jumped out of their seats and partnered up with their friends.  For the next 5 minutes students discussed and planned their dances while others (who were not moved to move) sat and watched others’ creative juices flow.

Now, in a school such as mine which is open concept, it was a good thing that the class next to me was out of the room.  Let’s face it, a passer-by would have looked in and thought we were a little crazy!  But, this definitely falls under the Cocktail Party Philosophy.

Once the few minutes were up, individuals and groups were encouraged to share their dances with the class.  Kids moved with grace and power and an underlying element of humor.   However silly we were being, it was evident that the kids were understanding the concept of identity property.

And it didn’t hurt that there was a buzz of excitement in the room too.

It’s just a good reminder that we all have to go with the flow sometimes and heck, have a little fun!


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Article by Elizabeth Peterson

Elizabeth Peterson has devoted her life to education and to reaching out to other teachers who want to remain inspired. Mrs. Peterson teaches fourth grade in Amesbury, Massachusetts and is the host of She holds an M.Ed. in Education, “Arts and Learning” and a C.A.G.S. degree with a focus in “Arts Leadership and Learning.” Elizabeth is author of Inspired by Listening, a teacher resource book that includes a method of music integration she has developed and implemented into her own teaching. She teaches workshops and courses on the integration of the arts into the curriculum and organizes the annual summer Teacher Art Retreat. Mrs. Peterson believes there is a love of active, integrated learning in all children and from their enthusiasm, teachers can shape great opportunities to learn.
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  1. Oh, it is so much fun when inspired silliness leads to learning! 🙂

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