• Amanda Vanderbeek

    Amanda Vanderbeek

    Class of 2012
    Ely, MN
    Elementary education

    Amanda's Bio:
    I grew up in the Twin Cities, but now live up in Ely, MN near the BWCA, where my family has been for the last 7 years. I have three brothers, who I adore, and I enjoy fishing, playing basketball, and rough housing with them whenever I can. My mom has been a daycare provider since I was born, which served as inspiration for me to pursue a degree in Elementary education. I also love to paint, draw, and DANCE! I have been dancing for twenty years and am a dance instructor in Superior, WI....I can't imagine a life without it!

  • Halle Nystrom

    Graduate Student
    Fargo, ND
    M.S. Health Information Management

    Yael Ikoba-Ndjip

    Brussels, Belgium
    Accounting Major; Finance minor

    Jason Chavez

    Minneapolis, MN
    Psychology, Organizational Behavior, and Social Work

    Jin Baek

    Aurora, CO
    Biology and Chemistry (Pre-Med)

  • Shauney Moen

    Graduate Student
    Oak Grove, MN
    Doctorate of Physical Therapy

    Katelyn Gehling

    East Bethel, MN
    Exercise Physiology for Pre-Physical Therapy

    Laila Zemar

    Casablanca, Morocco
    Biochemistry, Biology and Pre-med

    Laura Salazar

    Bogotá, Colombia
    Marketing and Business Management

  • Brooke Elvehjem

    Mora, MN

    Shivani Singh

    Mumbai, India
    Management & Marketing

    Daniela Moreno Gomez

    San Salvador, El Salvador
    Computer Information Systems and Finance

    Conrado Eiroa Solans

    Madrid, Spain
    Psychology Major, Biology minor

  • Takudzwa Munjanja

    Gweru, Zimbabwe
    Health Information Management, CIS minor

    Kathryn McCarrick

    Saint Paul, MN
    Elementary Education

    Neena Koslowski

    Apple Valley, MN

    Malvern Madondo

    Harare, Zimbabwe
    Mathematics & Computer Science

  • Bryan Chavez

    Richfield, MN
    Accounting and Finance

Getting the Wiggles Out

So today was truly an interesting one with my kinders.  From the moment they walked into the classroom until the time the bell rang at the end of the day, they were off the walls with energy, silliness, and many undesirable classroom behaviors!  They were making random hand motions and spinning in circles during carpet time, yelling out the lyrics to random nursery rhymes at inopportune times, and even rolling their eyes and not abiding by classroom rules and reminders.  It was an off day for many of them, and it is amazing how much energy these kind of days take out of the teacher in particular!  I have a whole new level of appreciation for my elementary teachers after being apart of a day like today!

Some important tactics can be taken, however, on days like this to help students refocus, engage, and get their silly “wiggles” out so that they can learn.  How is this done?  My master teacher really helped to model this for me today:

  • Have the kids take a brief stretch break.  Before math instruction this afternoon, the kids were really acting restless.   So, instead of pushing right on through to math, my master teacher had the kids do a few different stretches for a couple minutes to relax and refocus their minds.  They reached up as high as they could, did some toe raises, and moved around to loosen them up so they could sit to instruction.
  • Have a musical brain break.  Have the kids watch a YouTube video that lets them dance around.  They will appreciate it and will get their energy out in a healthy way (without it being inconvenient or disruptive to the teacher).
  • Have them do actions that are connected to what they are learning.  My teacher always has the kids do movements or other gestures to match the vocabulary they are learning, as well as has them show whether or not they understand different sets of information with thumbs up/down and placing their hands on their head.
  • Get them involved.  Using “student leaders” to point to different parts of focus during the lesson, lead in songs, or hold books during instruction can get them motivated to pay attention and also gives students an active role to play in their learning.

How does this apply to you?  Well, it could in many ways.  If you are studying for classes and feel yourself getting antsy, take a break!  Allow yourself some time to refocus before pushing on in your work.  Your mind will thank you.  Also, if you are working with others or better yet instructing others in a particular area, realize that people need breaks in their learning and during periods of extensive work and that you need to accommodate for that.  Don’t expect anyone (even an adult) to focus their attention for more than an hour at a time.  A good rule of thumb that I learned growing up is to never expect someone to pay attention (at least to something presented only in one specific way) for more than the number of years they have been alive.  That means that for someone in college, 20-30 minutes is usually fair!

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