Grammatical Cases Can Be Learned While Hopping Around, For Example
– Physical activity for 3 hours a day? In order to reach the goal, movement has to be made a part of ordinary lessons as well.
– Grammatical cases and parts of speech can be reminisced while hopping around, and a necessary pause for sitting down can be found on the wall bars.
It’s a Finnish class in the 6th grade. The teacher Maria Karppinen nods to Julianne Sieppi, who has her hand in the air, giving her a permission to speak.
– A surprise squat, yells Julianne happily and the whole class springs up, squats and returns to their seats.
Class 6D in the school of Rovaniemi’s Nivavaara has a permission to make a surprise squat once per lesson. This time the squats were made right in the beginning of the lesson.
Back to studying parts of speech. There are 12 exercises on the blackboard, and the teacher sends the pupils on their way.
Girls are playing hopscotch and rhyming locative cases at the same time. Boys run to find out how many stairs there are from downstairs to upstairs. While bringing the answer, they tell which grammatical case they were just working on.
– Numerals, they know.
Simultaneously class 6A in the school of Oulu’s Hintta is studying history. The teacher Lasse Vallo is showing pictures of medieval cities.
After that the pupils have to answer whether his claims concerning the pictures are true or false – via body language. If their answer is yes, they are supposed to stand up and raise both hands up. If their answer is no, they are supposed to make a squat.
In the middle of the lesson, Rasmus Hämeenaho goes to the wall bars in the back of the classroom to see if he can do a push-up.
– We’ll see, he estimates.
It goes well. And so do the sit-ups. Then it’s Nico Väisänen’s turn.
The class received the wall bars as a donation a couple of weeks ago. They’ve been used a lot. The principle is that everyone can go to try some moves, which have been planned together, while doing exercises. One turn at the wall bars lasts 30 seconds.
The schools of Hintta and Nivavaara are only some examples of the hundreds of schools in our country that have determinedly started to reduce sitting during schooldays. The goals have been written down both in the new curriculum and the government programme. There should be one more hour of movement during the schoolday.
When an elementary schooler’s physical activity recommendation is 3 hours a day, the amount cannot be reached only on recess or extra-curricular hobbies. There are only 1-3 regular P.E. classes left in a week.
– There has to be movement also during ordinary lessons, states Lasse Vallo.
However, teachers’ commitment is needed because it would be easy to go through the lessons the old way, sitting by the desk.
– It does require some creativity from the teacher. You have to adapt and make some breaks, states class teacher Maria Karppinen.
And one can see that creativity has been put into action while reading different kinds of results that have been reached along the way in the Finnish Schools On The Move programme. There are classrooms that have no desks in them at all and classrooms where the chairs have been replaced by exercise balls. They have also made ”poor man’s electric tables”, in other words lifted their chairs on top of their desks every now and then and kept on working on their feet.
In one school, there was an agreement that only pupils who are playing the drums and the piano remain seated during music lessons.
There are plenty of ways to arrange more movement.
– Via the Finnish Schools On The Move programme, the teachers are enthusiastically giving out tips on what works and what should not be tried by any means, tells Karppinen.
The most doubtful people say that active lessons will increase restlessness in the class. Maria Karppinen’s experience is contrary.
– Children concentrate even better when they get to stand up every now and then.