Traci Lengel’s and Mike Kuczala’s ‘The Kinesthetic Classroom: Teaching and Learning through Movement.’ offer a significant amount of movement activities and interesting ideas in it 146 pages. There are different sets of activities for primary and secondary school settings. It also offers specific activities for every content area at the Secondary level. The activities are divided with their purpose in mind; Brain Breaks, Supporting Exercise and Fitness, Developing Class Cohesion, Reviewing Content, and Teaching Content. I found the latter two sections to be most interesting and helpful. There are 30 review activities (20 partner or small group movement activities + 10 whole class activities.) There are also 40 content area specific content teaching activities (16 of which are designed for Secondary School classes.) With a little creativity, many of the activities suggested for teaching maths or sciences can be altered to teach languages or social sciences and vice versa. Most of its suggested instructional tactics (activities) can be easily modified or enhanced. They also offer serve as a basis from which one can create completely new kinesthetic instructional tactics. It has helped me explore how I can create new kinesthetic tactics for teaching in my content areas. I highly recommend this book for those with little experience in incorporating movement activities in the classroom.
The one caveat, however, is that at the time of its publication in 2010 there was little quantitative evidence to reinforce the benefits of movement activities to enhancing learning in the classroom. The authors report that the academic research is only in its beginning stage. At this time, this book’s ideas and activities are based on the authors’ hypothesis which is the product of their experiences in their classrooms and in the anecdotal evidence provided to them by peers. I expect that later editions of this book will have quantitative data that supports their hypothesis. For this reason, I would have to give it a 4 out of 5 star rating.
Why did I buy it in the first place?
The topic of kinesthetic learners was one that came up in numerous courses throughout my time at the Faculty of Education. I am not a kinesthetic learner. I have, however, found that physical activity has always helped me process information, reinvigorate my work, and overcome instances of writers block or homework fatigue. When I was having problems with a concept, or hitting a wall in my academic writing at University, I would do a sequence of push ups, chin ups or abdominal crunches to get the creative juices flowing. If that failed, I would go for a walk and talk it through to my digital recorder. These techniques were very helpful to me. The benefits of movements were empirically clear to me on a personal level, but I did not know how one could or should use it in the language or social sciences classroom.
Discussions surrounding kinesthetic learners at the Faculty of Education were always based in the theoretical sphere. It was very rare for any of my peers or our professors would share or explore any practical applicable kinesthetic learning activities that we could realistically incorporate in a Social Science, Languages, Mathematics or Natural Science classroom setting. I had a desire to fill in that gap in my instructional tactics. This book has helped me come a long way in doing so. I highly recommend it.