This is a guest post by Rachel Jacquest
Image by Earl53
Every teacher has, at some point, stood up in front of a class and been greeted with a plethora of sighs, but that doesn’t mean you’re boring your pupils! School is very demanding, and children do not have the stamina of adults, so they may well flag. If you see this happen to your students, don’t panic! Their attention can easily be brought back with a few short exercises to get them energised. Here are some examples:
There are two basic forms of copying games. One is to do an action and ask your pupils to repeat it back to you; it works well to go around the class asking everyone to come up with an action to be repeated, making sure everyone has a go. Try to use actions that involve the whole body.
The other is a classic: Simon Says. The leader (I would suggest the teacher leads, as you will judge fairly) states, “Simon says sit down”, and the children sit. But if a command is given without saying “Simon says”, for example, “stand up”, pupils must ignore the command. If anyone stands up, they’re out! This is great for getting children to concentrate and obey your commands.
Stretches and Jumps
When anyone has been sitting in the same position for too long, they get very uncomfortable and stiff, so some jumps and stretches will loosen up your students. Full body stretches are great, starting with the neck and stretching each part of the body individually down to the ankles. If you want a quicker version, get your pupils to do some star jumps, and then do a concentration exercise, so that they don’t get silly. Perhaps ask them to try to pat their heads and rub their stomachs at the same time – it is really quite tricky!
Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes
A quick game of heads, shoulders, knees and toes will energise your class and increase their concentration. It can also be used for educational purposes, which is a massive bonus! Try translating the lyrics to a foreign language (if your pupils are learning one), or use medical terminology like “cranium, scapula, patella, phalanges” for a fun way to teach. Make sure you don’t try to teach your students anything above their skill level, though, as it will confuse them and they may well lose focus.
Heads Down, Thumbs Up
This game is a bit of fun and is great for stress relief if pupils have been working hard. Pick a few people from the class to stand at the front and ask the remaining children to close their eyes, put their heads on the desk and place their hands by their sides, thumbs up. The students at the front each have to put down the thumbs of one person, as quietly as possible. When everyone has finished, the people who had their thumbs moved must guess who it was who did it. After a couple of rounds of this, your class should be relaxed and ready to work again!
Keep these exercises in mind – when you see your students starting to struggle, you know what to do! The most important thing is to keep them motivated, perhaps with some pupil rewards, and maintain their concentration levels so that they learn loads! Do you have any exercises that work well with your class? Go ahead and leave a comment!
Rachel Jacquest is a blogger who has a lot of experience in the education of children and plans to become a teacher. She hates nothing more than seeing a struggling pupil! She writes for School Stickers.