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Phonics in Motion: Turn Fidgeting into FUNction!

By Bridget Simenc on August 4, 2021

Phonics in Motion: Turn Fidgeting into FUNction!

“But Fidgety Phil, he won’t sit still; He wriggles and giggles and then, I declare, swings backwards and forwards and tilts up his chair.”    -Heinrich Hoffman, German Author

Kinesthetic Motions for the Phoneme

Close your eyes. Picture a classroom filled with twenty first graders. What does it look like?  Do you see twenty little people sitting still and completely focused on their teacher or a teacher who looks like she or he is trying to catch twenty feral cats?  If you have ever spent time in a primary classroom, you most likely do not envision the first scenario.  Young learners are constantly in motion:  tapping, rocking, and fidgeting are the sights that you would most likely encounter.  Children are compelled to move and they do not stay still for long.

Brain breaks are one approach that teachers use to allow students the opportunity to bounce around and satisfy their natural inclination to be on the move.  These brain breaks only last a minute, but studies have shown that when students are presented with the opportunity to move, they show improvement in memory, mood, attention, and achievement.

But what if we could incorporate movement not only into the lesson; but throughout the entire learning process?  What if we can teach Phonemic Awareness and Phonics with motion? That is exactly what PIM does, through the use of KMPs. 

The Kinesthetic Motion for the Phonemes (KMPs) are used in daily lessons. These motions are specifically developed to teach phonemes (distinct units of sound) that students are learning.  When presented with a new phoneme, children learn a movement that is specific to that sound.  The KMPs are specially designed to mimic the sound through movement.  

To understand this approach, students are not only hearing the sound, and making the sound themselves, they are also learning a unique movement to pair with that sound.  The class is using not only sound but movement to create meaning and knowledge.  

That is what makes PIM so special and such an asset to teachers.  Children in this learning environment can link sound to movement, and implement that movement not only during the lesson, but when working independently, reading aloud or to self, and writing. Students have daily opportunities to see their teacher and peers model the KMPs and practice the KMPs.  

Many studies show that primary children learn best when they can link movement and sound to their learning. Children gain knowledge by linking new concepts to ones that were previously learned to create meaning.  

The way in which PIM introduces topics and concepts is engaging and entertaining to schoolchildren.  The lessons allow children to be an active part of their learning.  PIM leads to deeper understanding by implementing movement in every phonemic awareness and phonics lesson, which is how children learn best.  Phonics in Motion uses movement in daily lessons allowing students to use their fidgets to learn!

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