"I love this new game!" exclaimed one pre-k student as she moved through the S.M.A.R.T. course. What new Hopscotch "game" is she excited about? Heart Hopscotch!
We want our students to be jumping and hopping throughout the day to intensify the amount of proprioceptive input* their brain and body receive.
You may have been using a Hopscotch mat in your rotation of S.M.A.R.T. activities. We have a fun new idea for you to try that gets students hopping and motor planning in an exciting way!
Classrooms at Bright Beginnings in Owatonna, MN experimented with hopping on hearts. Teachers lined up hearts turned at various angles. Students had to hop on the hearts, getting their feet to face the same direction as the top of the heart. It was great fun for students to have to hop and maneuver their bodies to match the direction of hearts.
Watch a short video clip of one student modeling how to do the activity.
Duck Print (PDF)
Bear Track (PDF)
Older students will love to try our Stick Scotch activity in the Time Saving Tips section of this newsletter!
*What is proprioceptive input?
The proprioceptive system enables the brain to know where each part of the body is and how it is moving. Information sent to the brain from our muscles, joints, bones, ligaments, and tendons is called proprioceptive input. Our proprioceptive system works to help us in developing good motor planning and motor control as well as understanding the force and timing of movement.
S.M.A.R.T. Pre-K CORE guide page 42
S.M.A.R.T. Curriculum Guide page 61
S.M.A.R.T. at Home
Boost brain power by taking your kids to the park! Not only is the playground a favorite place for children to play, it is extremely beneficial for brain development. The opportunities for different kinds of movement and sensory exploration make the playground highly stimulating for the brain. Here are some playground activities that the brain loves:
These sensations help both systems mature and build our body awareness. Body awareness is the ability to understand where we are in space and how to move about through it. Having a good understanding of body awareness will help your child be able to sit comfortably while learning, stay focused on the lesson, and move about in a more coordinated way.
PS: They are gaining the ability to sit still during dinner too!
When playing on the monkey bars, make sure your child is holding the bar with a motorcycle grip shown here. This grip builds the foundation for holding a pencil properly, which means moving across the monkey bars is helping your child with writing skills!
So the next time you find yourself playing in the park with your children, know that you are making your child a S.M.A.R.T. child! Want more information? Check out the article "M is for Monkey Bars" written by child development expert Gill Connell.
Time Saving Tips
Hey elementary teachers...do you have students this spring with ants in their pants? Perhaps they have wiggle bottoms during desk work?
They need a movement break! Try a student favorite called Stick Scotch!
This activity has a host of benefits for your students:
Download the activity guide below and start this fun activity today!
That's One S.M.A.R.T. Teacher!
"S.M.A.R.T. activities truly do make a difference!"
One S.M.A.R.T teacher, Beth from Marshall, MN, a reading specialist who works with elementary students shared the above statement with us when writing in about a recent 4th grade success story.
After attending S.M.A.R.T. training in February, Beth has actively used S.M.A.R.T. activities and principles with her students. Recently, Beth shared an experience where she incorporated two specific S.M.A.R.T. activities with a 4th grade academic concept.
Was this successful?
“Today, she was able to come in and point to the map and tell me the states and capitals without being prompted at all. That is huge!! She said she hasn't known any of the states and capitals up until this point. It is just astounding to see how far she has come along, how her confidence has grown and how her reading is improving so much. The only thing we have changed is incorporating the SMART activities that she completes with me for 30 minutes each day. They truly do make a difference!” writes Beth.