Learning through Movement: Applying Exercise Education and Movement Activities in a Library Setting

Deborah Yu-Yuk Jung, Media Skills, Winding Springs Elementary

Final Unit(pdf)   Implementing Teaching Standards(pdf)


Appropriate movement, noise, and stillness are things teachers and students struggle with throughout the school day.  Generations of librarians have tried fruitlessly to enforce library silence.  Learning to incorporate movement into instruction accomplishes a number of things.  Movement helps create paired associations in the brain, aids in transition from one activity to another, releases stress and anxiety, and bathes the brain neurons in neurotransmitters and neurotrophic factors strengthening neuropathways so that students can learn.  As librarians begin to turn towards a learning commons and/or MakerSpace environment for learning, we need to provide for areas of active learning.  This means not only incorporating technology and re-designing facilities for flexible grouping, social learning, and increased noise, but also providing areas for safe movement.  Just as important as the design of a library facility to support creativity, imagination, and learning, is the design of the learning environment you create as a teacher-librarian.  Understanding why the brain needs the body to move during instruction is one crucial part of lesson design.  This curriculum unit offers some strategies and classroom management resources to incorporate exercise or movement activities into library lessons for grades K-5 while at the same time, teaching core content.  So, embrace the fidgeting.