Creating Connections: Integrating Opportunities for Movement
Blog on June 06 2022
Exceptional student education teachers are expert multitaskers. Each student you work with has unique goals and needs, and we do our best for our students, but we don’t always have the resources we need to help them progress. What if there was a way to help them progress, while also making effective instruction simpler? This is possible with the No Limits Method!
First, we should consider how our students learn and develop. If you’ve seen our previous blog on embodied cognition, you’ll be familiar with our approach. Any time we learn a new skill, our brains, bodies, and environment work together for learning to occur. For students with physical or sensory challenges, their interactions with the world need to be adapted to help them achieve academic progress. The No Limits Method and its resources can provide you with ways to integrate opportunities for movement within your classroom, enhancing the learning environment for your students.
Using our micro-credential courses, you can learn how to meet the different movement needs for each of your students. You’ll learn from our multi-professional team of educators, therapists, and others why your students need movement consistently throughout the day to stay alert, engaged, and willing to participate in your lessons. You’ll also learn how to seamlessly integrate physical activity and sensory stimulation into your lessons in ways that work for each student. We also provide a series of digital lessons which are hosted by teachers who have used and helped to develop the Method. The accompanying lesson plans are customizable and provide guidance from experienced teachers in applying the techniques learned in the micro-credential.
How can positioning help me reach and teach my students?
An impactful No Limits Method strategy is switching between challenging positions to relaxed positions during lessons. When alternating between relaxed and challenging positions, students consistently show more eagerness to participate in lessons and show better retention of the information being taught. In more relaxed lessons, students can get into multiple positions , such as laying on a mat with a wedge for incline support, or even remaining in their chair if they choose. For more active lessons such as math, language arts, science or social studies, students can get into more challenging and engaging positions. More activity and stimulus can often lead to better engagement with the lessons. Through the No Limits Method, teachers can learn to effectively assess the needs of their students and use the tools available for maximal student engagement. Changing a student’s position not only keeps them alert, but also helps to create new connections in their brain; by activating the body, we activate the brain!
Every activity or new experience helps the brain to grow and learn. Proper sensory stimulation is important as well. For example, after a long lecture or video, we should get up, use the bathroom, get a drink, or even just change how we were sitting, so that we can stay focused and engage with what we are learning. Our students need that same input. Options for implementing this will be different for each student. You’ll learn about many of these options and why they work better for some students through our micro-credential and digital lessons.
What is an example of this strategy in action?
Take for example, a student, David, who was in his chair for a daily classroom activity, but his teacher, Ms. M, noticed he wasn’t very engaged and was drifting off. During the transition to the next activity, Ms. M offered two positions that are a little challenging for him in order to awaken his body and mind, increasing his participation level during the next lesson. The two options were sitting on a bolster or standing in his stander. David used his communication device to choose to stand in his stander. Prior to placing him in the stander, Ms. M and the classroom assistants met all his personal needs. Once positioned in the stander, he was placed closer to the SMART Board, but not in front of anyone else. He was also positioned near Ms. M so she could attend to him with the manipulatives that were prepared for the next lesson. David, who was previously barely engaged and dozing off, was now willingly participating during the lesson. He actively used his communication device to engage in conversations and answer questions. Through this positional change, his brain and body were stimulated, creating the opportunity for learning.
How do I fit physical activities into my lessons?
When planning out a day, it is important to review safe positions with the direction of each students’ physical and occupational therapists. Then, look at each lesson and decide who needs more engagement during that time and plan their positional choices accordingly. It is also recommended to switch between the relaxed and challenging position times each day, to help enhance those new neural pathways even more. If you don’t have access to physical, occupational, or speech therapists, you can still learn and use their strategies and techniques to safely engage the brain, body, and environment for learning through the No Limits Method!
Hopefully, this has inspired you to want to try positional changes in your classroom, along with learning other techniques and strategies to reach and teach your students on a deeper level. If you would like to sample any of our Micro-Credential Courses or Digital Lessons, you can do so at OTIS for Educators. Be on the lookout for our next post, “Behavioral Issues or Sensory Needs?”
For more tips, tricks, and tools for teaching in and out of the classroom, check out more articles on the Teq Talk blog.
We also offer virtual professional development, training, and remote learning support for educators with OTIS for educators. Explore the technology, tools, and strategies that can spark student success — no matter where teaching or learning are happening.
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