Friday, January 7, 2011
I have been taking a course on PD 360 (it is an online, on demand, Professional Development web site my district is trying) about Brain Research and Learning. I was learning about physiological cycles and learning and it was talking about the "Black Hole Hour" after lunch. That students should be engaged in hands on or physical activity instead of direct instruction. Well, who has an hour to burn waiting for the brain to wake up!?
I have been teaching math right after lunch and my room is darker since I use my document camera so everyone can see the manipulatives. So, according to this research I was giving my students two reasons to zone out. One being it was after lunch and two, by deceasing the light in my classroom children had a build up of melatonin making them more sleepy.
This week instead of jumping right into math I decided to divide our recess time. In Florida I am required to give my students about 15 minutes of structured physical activity (SPA) a day AND 15 minutes of recess. I took the kids outside and taught them how to play freeze tag (since we are studying Antarctica- if you are "it" you are an iceberg). We play two or three games and then go in for math. After math we go back out for just recess.
I don't know if the kids have learned more math this week. BUT I do have to say that they are more focused and quiet during the instruction. I like dividing the time outside and I LOVE that they get the opportunity to get their wiggles out before math.