Column C


No more static fluid build up.  Let’s start sloshing those semi-circular canals around.

The vestibular apparatus, comprised of the semi-circular canals and the saccule and utricle, has direct connections to the Reticular Activating System.  The RAS is responsible for alerting us.  This is such a primary pathway largely because it is fully operational at 6 months in utero.  All the more reason to make sure that we tap it as fully as possible.  Doing that involves moving our heads in all different planes–forward and backward, up and down, circularly clockwise and counterclockwise, and even upside down.

Sneaking motion or repositioning breaks into the school day without causing classroom chaos is surprisingly self-organizing.  In fact, it is often the pursuit of these very same end results provided through intensive stimulation that allow students to finally be calmed.  To wit… they’ve been satiated.  That’s what they sought in the first place.  You’ve just helped them achieve it in a more effective and efficient way.

Here are some good ones:

  • Squat Thrusts (aka Burpies).  Standing tall, each student reaches toward the ceiling.  Next, squat low, placing both hands on the floor.  Kick your feet backwards so your body is in a straight plank, arms extended.  Jump back into a squat and return to stand.  Reach up.  That’s one.  Do this nine more times.
  • Switch.  Students assume a hands and knees position on the floor.  Instruct them to elevate the right leg hip height and straight behind.  At the same time, ask them to reach the left arm straight in front.  Hold this position for 5 seconds.  Call “Switch!”  At this point, students should extend the left leg and the right arm.  Repeat this 10 times.  Vary the length of holding times.  Sometimes ask students to maintain this position is more challenging than assuming it in the first place.
  • Turn Arounds.  Everyone has to find a spot against the wall.  Both hands should be placed flat at shoulder height on an immovable surface.  Ask the students to turn clockwise once.  Place hands back onto the wall.  Turn again in the same direction.  Do this 3-5 times in one direction, being careful to give the wall a “High Ten” on each pass.  Stop and ascertain each student’s tolerance for spinning.  Turn the same number of rotations in the opposite direction. *  It’s OK to only do one rotation either way in the beginning.  As students become more tolerant of spinning, you can increase the quantity.
  • Ah runs.  Create a track around the room.  Remove all obstacles that might cause a student to trip.  Ah runs can be done with only a few students at a time, or the entire class… one right after another.  Designating a starting spot, the teacher instructs the student to take a deep breath and then commence walking quickly (not running!) around the room saying “Ah!” Realize that the child may circle the room more than once.  The child should stop when they are no longer able to say, “Ah.”  The teacher marks that spot with the student’s name and the number of laps.  At later times in the day or week, teachers can repeat an Ah run.  Students quickly learn how to take a deeper breath so they can better their last run.  Label the spot where each student runs out of Ah.
  • Coke and Pepsi game.  This is a fan favorite.  In fact, it’s typically such a hit, that we’re going to devote a post about it all on its own.  Don’t go away.

* If a student feels dizzy… see the blog on Fishy Faces.