Fostering classroom attention and participation can be as easy as “5, 6, 7, 8!” The Laurie M. Tisch Center for Food, Education & Policy, Program in Nutrition at Teachers College, Columbia University has developed an innovative and fun way to get students out of their chairs and onto the (imaginary) dance floor during the school day. The Tisch Food Center’s Dance Breaks videos, a series of instructional dance videos featuring hits like Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and Rihanna’s “Pon de Replay,” provide students an active and engaging break to their mostly sedentary day of learning. Research shows that physical activity in the classroom is associated with increased academic performance, which means that Dance Breaks are not only lively and entertaining, but are also pivotal to students’ learning!
Teachers need not be intimidated if they don’t have the dancing skills of Beyoncé, because coaches in the instructional videos lead the class in dance moves meant for all skill levels. To incorporate Dance Breaks into your school day and kick start students’ motivation to learn, follows these simple suggestions:
Teachers and parents alike can use Dance Breaks as a fun way to reenergize children both inside the classroom and at home. Children will love learning some new dance moves and singing along to popular songs. In the words of one student-turned-dancer, “Dance Breaks help me focus on my work. I liked the Michael Jackson moves the best!” Take his word for it. Dust off those dancing shoes, stretch those limbs, and bust a move!
For more infomation about Dance Breaks including example videos, visit: http://www.tc.columbia.edu/tisch/resources-overview/games-and-activities/dance-breaks-home/
Colleen Topper, Teachers College, Columbia University