Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Importance of Stretching

stretch My goal for this year is to lose 30 lbs and I figure I have 12 months to do it so this should be attainable. I have started to exercise and walk on the treadmill regularly. One of the main things that everyone tells me is that I need to stretch before I exercise. It is good for my muscles and will help me from being so sore later. Before athletic events, people are always stretching first. Even during the Olympics, the world watched athletes stretch before the competitions.

This had me wondering about how I stretch before teaching and I realize that teachers do this in many different ways. Some teachers drink coffee, some may meditate, some may even pray!

I loved to get to school very early before anyone else showed up. I liked my quiet time in the classroom to mentally prepare for my day. I would make sure all of my lessons were ready and that the material was available. I would do a run through of the lesson in my mind to make sure that I hadn’t forgotten anything. I would also go through the day in my mind to make sure that I remembered any meetings or changes in the schedule. I wanted to be prepared for the day so that my students would have confidence in me.

Some teachers like to meet with colleagues before the day starts. Maybe they need the camaraderie to feel supported. Some people like to meet with colleagues after the day is over to recap the day. In a way, this is like stretching after the event.

Do I encourage my students to stretch? Do I give them time to do this before jumping in our lessons?

I like to start off the class with a 5 minute exercise. What I have found works best is having the students write in a journal. They can write about their day yesterday, how their day is today, what they want to do tomorrow or anything they feel like writing about. I also post a quote for the day on the board and sometimes the students want to respond to that. It doesn’t matter what they write about but it must make sense and contain at least 5 complete sentences. I do not count off for spelling in this assignment.

During this time, I’m able to take care of any “housekeeping” items and talk to individual students if necessary.

This helps the student transition from their previous class into mine. Sometimes the students have problems with their peers and this helps them vent their anger and frustrations. It helps them get in the right frame of mind before I try to teach them a new skill.

When I first started this, I was not sure if it would be effective. Boy, was I surprised how well it worked!

Some teachers like to put up math problems or an independent assignment pertaining to their subject area. Some call it bellringers or other names but I think all of them are great stretching exercises.

Do you have your students stretch? If so, what kinds of things do you have them do? Please share!

Original Image: ‘Stretching’ by: tobyotter

1 comment:

Andrea Rioux said...

I came across your post in my google reader. For grad school we were asked to creat a post about something we came a cross in our google reader this week. I really enjoyed your post and wanted to share my post with you. Thanks!