As a new Kindergarten teacher, this book will stay on my desk and the activities in it will be included in all my lesson plans. Written to use with preschool children to third graders, the author encourages caregivers to use movement, but movement with a purpose. Not just for teachers, anyone exposed to children who can’t sit still and focus for periods of time needs to read this book. The author has a background as a teacher and trainer of dancers and athletes. Unfortunately she passed away last year, but I am thrilled that she left behind this valuable tool.
The first thing I learned was that when I have my kids stretch in the classroom without a specific purpose in mind, I can be setting the scene for kids who can’t calm down — which is the opposite of what I would expect! Now I know that doing balance exercises are more appropriate for getting a class to calm down and concentrate.
Before we see instructions for each activity, Davis takes the time to explain why they are important. I could see this text being read in a college education class, because she reminds us of the value of movement in all areas of development for children. She has loads of activities that can be used with different subjects as an effective supplement to curriculum. I love that there are activities to support math and science, like making human links to show numbers and addition or subtraction answers.
Davis stresses the importance of movement for other reasons, such as encouraging creativity. Her list of self-esteem exercises is wonderful. Who ever heard of foot applause? But I can’t wait to use it in my classroom come September. She includes three teaching styles that we can use to implement movement more effectively based on our preferences. The activities are divided into five categories and each category is subdivided making it especially easy to find the perfect activity for your needs, and that of your children. Information is also included like the appropriate age, size of group or space and other details that can be useful in planning. Scripts are included as needed and an occasional picture is added for clarity.
This is the type of book you can use in a variety of ways. New teachers will want to read it cover to cover and one more time. More experienced educators will go to the comprehensive list of games and pick the appropriate one for the day’s lesson. Parents might just look for the fun ones and see what happens. There are even imagination exercises. Can you envision the fun the kids will have cleaning the classroom with imaginary tools?
Don’t delay in picking up this useful book, “404 Deskside Activities for Energetic Kids” by Barbara Davis, and start reading it now. It’s never too late to learn some new tricks!