In the post I wrote about the First Days of First Grade–Part 1, I mentioned that we’ve been doing a lot to help our bodies learn how to move appropriately, as well as to keep our brains alert for learning. In that post I shared about our dance parties (which are still going strong and are a TON of fun!), and this time it’s our trampoline.
Ok, so looks just a boring trampoline in the corner. But really it’s a learning tool. Let me explain…
So I can’t really take any credit for the idea of the trampoline or the placement of the trampoline, or even the plan for how to use the trampoline–just for being the one to buy the actual trampoline. :) The idea of moving has been one I’ve heard about for a while, and when I knew I was coming to first grade, I knew I needed a way for kids to do that easily. Our OT, Mrs. Wilson, has made suggestions of rocking chairs (which will be one of my next additions!), trampolines, bungee cords on chairs and all sorts of creative things for years. It wasn’t until now, though, that those supports really fit my students. My friend, Mrs. Dale, has been VERY helpful to me, too; she had a trampoline last year and could help me think through things like where it should go, who should use it, when they should use it, etc.
Let me back up a little bit and explain some rationale. The big idea of even having the jumping space is for friends who have lots of energy that they need to get rid of in a positive way. There are just some kiddos (historically boys) who need to move and shake more than others. Kiddos that are wiggly and might just need to bounce while they listen or bounce while they read or bounce just to bounce! I’ve heard stories of a friend in Mrs. Dale’s class who is directed to use the trampoline when he feels like his body needs to move and he does so during whole group conversations. He even raises his hand while he’s on there–proof that he’s really listening!
Now, I had some questions–like “How do I keep everyone from being on it all day?” and “How do I know who should really use it?” And you know what, I actually knew the answer when she said it–“kids will know and will let you know and you just need to trust them.”
So…after Mrs. Dale and I thought it through last week, I was finally ready to unveil the Rm. 202 trampoline. But don’t let me fool you–they’ve know it was there for weeks. It was just propped up against the wall behind the easel and not available to them. Until now. :)
Our first day it was open during choice time. Kids made a line, they had a timer and helped each other manage whose turn was next. And they just jumped. And jumped. And jumped. I think that first day 7-8 friends went through the line.
Hopefully in a short time the novelty will wear off, and those that really need it will be able to use it when they need to get their bodies ready for learning. I don’t have any success stories to share yet (well except that it’s fun!), but I know that I will. Right now our trampoline sits next to a blank black wall and a plain window, but there plans for those spaces as well. Ideas rolling around are for ways to incorporate cross-body movements with jumping; kids could tap letters, practice spelling word wall words as they tap the letters on the window, count or spell out loud as they bounce each number or letter…the possibilities are endless really. :)
Surprising the things you see in a primary classroom these days, huh? Trampolines, Legos and wooden blocks are just as important on the school supply list as pencils, erasers and scissors. :)