Why I Have My 9th Graders Do A Wiggle Song
“Research shows that when we exercise, blood pressure and blood flow increase everywhere in the body, including the brain, more blood means more energy and oxygen, which makes our brain perform better.” neuroscientist Justin Rhodes explained in a 2013 Scientific American column.
This why I believe that getting my students up and moving during class is so important! I have seen how they really do learn better when they're not just sitting there all class period. One of my classes does require us to sit and take notes for a part of the class period though so that's why I decided to start implementing a "wiggle song" every class.
Our "wiggle song" breaks up the notes/discussion. The first day my students always look at me like are you serious?? But I start it from day one so that it sets an expectation. It's just what we do. And it's not weird when everyone is doing it-- including me! I do it right along with them! When they see I'm doing it full out they're more likely to as well.
We get up and do a dance following a youtube video. Some of our favorite videos are Just Dance and Kidz Bop Dance Alongs! I tell my students they just have to be moving. They can decide how big they want to dance or if they want to sing along. It usually ranges from 2 minutes-5 minutes long depending on the song and how much time we have that day.
By the middle of the semester my students look forward to wiggle songs and are excited to get up and move. There are other ways to give brain breaks but I personally love to dance so I choose to do wiggle songs.
Wiggle songs are planned but other times or in other classes I sometimes notice that my students are starting to lose focus so I will just randomly tell them to get up and do 20 calf raises or to get up and reach to the sky and then reach toward their toes. Just getting their blood flow going again really does help their brain to focus and pay attention again.
Whatever you choose to do, remember that your kids need brain breaks! (And so do you!)