Alison G., 1st grade teacher and blogger in Las Vegas, Nevada, shares her secret to happy, ready-to-learn classroom… more dance parties!
Dance! Dance! Getting my students up and moving in my classroom has helped my students become motivated to learn, along with being excited to be in my classroom. I teach in a low income area in Las Vegas, Nevada. Many of my students’ home lives are not the best, so I make it my job to ensure that school is a place where they feel safe and happy!
GoNoodle has helped me achieve this in my classroom. My students truly look forward to earning or achieving GoNoodle dance time along with our random dance party breaks that are much needed on some days.
I use GoNoodle 2 different ways in my classroom…
1. Earned “Dance Time” – This honestly comes from anything and everything! Some teachers in my school keep track of their on-task classroom time, others keep track of their hallway procedures, and reward them based on these. It works for them and their classes. In my room… I do not just kept track of one thing and reward them on that. My students learn early in the year that I ALWAYS expect them to be on their best behavior.
If I see my students working hard on their work, I will stop them a bit early and have a quick dance party to give that quick gratification feeling. If I see them being extremely nice to one another, or they do something unexpected, we have a dance party and celebrate. I always make an effort to point out great behavior in my classroom to remind my students that I am always watching. If they happen to be behaving a not so good day, I will usually mention something about GoNoodle or dancing, and it will remind them all to rethink their behaviors.
These earned dance sessions even remind my students to encourage each other to be on their best behavior! Often times, I have a student misbehaving or doing something they are not supposed to be doing, and a student in my classroom will remind that student that if don’t stop, they will not earn their dance time. This helps create a sense of community in my classroom…. my students all work together and remind one another of what is expected. I know I don’t have to be worried about my students while I am working with someone, or while I have small groups.
2. Dance Party Breaks – You know when your students struggle to stay awake or seem a little blue? I use Dance Parties to get mine up and moving! It is a known fact that exercise and movement help everyone learn. Not to mention… they are having fun, and kids are always more ready to learn when they are happy to be at school.
Sometimes I have a student or two who are having a rough time at home. I can see it in their faces that they are sad, nervous or upset. Pausing a lesson for a quick and fun dance party is sometimes all these students need to forget about what is going on at home, and enjoy their day at school.
What are your favorite ways to incorporate dance parties into your day? With increasingly tight and challenging schedules, I think we all need to take some time to let lose and dance! The result is a happier, healthier, light-hearted classroom.