Harry Wong
Dec 2017
Vol 14 No 4

Total Body Learning: Movement & Academics – Fritz Bell

By Susan Fitzell


By Fritz Bell

Many of the students in your class are Bodily-Kinesthetic learners. They learn through their bodies and they need to move. They wiggle and squirm. The following ideas can help make movement be a positive learning force in your classroom.

  1. Have your students act out vocabulary words with their bodies. This will give them a visual picture to remember their words.
  2. Have the class clap out the syllables in the names of their classmates or their vocabulary words. This is a great strategy for helping kids remember long and multisyllabic words.
  3. Put vocabulary words on individual cards and pass them out to the class. Then have them move around the room and, at a signal from you, form groups (of five or less, depending on grade level and vocabulary) and line up in alphabetical order.
  4. Have students use an object such as a pencil and hold it in, under, over, next to, beside, or above their desk to act out prepositions.
  5. Give each student a number from one to nine. Have them walk around the room, then call out a product such as “14.” The students must pair up with the other number(s) that will add up to that product. This movement activity can be used for subtraction and multiplication also.
  6. Mark a ladder on the floor with tape and have students ‘step’ up and down the ladder to practice their subtraction skills.
  7. Tie yard-long pieces of yarn into a circle. Have students, in pairs, practice shapes (right triangles, diamond, trapezoid, etc) with the yarn.
  8. Use Edwin M. Liberthal’s book, The Complete Book of Fingermath to help your students learn math.
  9. Have your students pretend that they are the center rod of a globe. Have them show longitude, latitude, the equator, etc on their globes. For instance, if the USA is on their chests have them show where is Europe, Africa, or Australia are located.
  10. Through movement, have students mimic the different states of matter; liquid, gas, and solid.
  11. To teach the concepts of classification, group students together by some sort of classification, such as who are wearing glasses and those aren’t. The student who figures out the classification first gets to try one of their own.
  12. Vote with your feet! Put a topic, decision, location, answer, political agenda, etc. on opposite sides of the room. Ask students to choose one side or the other in answer to a question. For example, if you’ve just completed a study of Greece, put Athens on one side and Sparta on the other. Have students stand under the sign of the community they want to live in. Tell them to be prepared to explain their choice.

Movement in the classroom will reenergize your students and minimize discipline issues that result from children not being able to move. It will provide your ADD/ADHD students with learning experiences that address their primary intelligence and provide all your students with researched, brain-centered learning activities. Try it. It works!

A message from Susan Fitzell:

Fritz Bell was my mentor for over 25 years. He was known for his lively, hands-on, practical workshops and courses. He emphasized learning by doing and made it fun to learn new concepts and new methods. He taught at all levels from Head Start through graduate school, across the country, as well as Australia and Canada. He was on the staff of both Lesley University and Plymouth State University in addition to being the Director of Creative Classrooms at Walnut Hill in Raymond, NH. Mr. Bell authored the book, Total Body Learning: Movement and Academics.


Susan Fitzell, M. Ed, CSP, is a nationally recognized presenter, author of nine books for teachers, trainers, and parents, an educational consultant, and CEO of Aim Hi Educational Programs, LLC. As an independent consultant and coach, Susan offers the personalization, continuity, and consistency necessary for true change in any organization. She works side by side with teachers, school administrators, and business leaders as a coach and trainer, employing Brain Power strategies that take learning to the next level.

For more information, visit Susan’s website at



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This entry was posted on Friday, July 1st, 2016 and is filed under *ISSUES, July 2016, Susan Fitzell. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
Teachers.Net Gazette Vol.13 No.7 July 2016
Cover Story by Brad Johnson and Melody Jones
Learning on Your Feet: Incorporating Physical Activity into the K-8 Classroom
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