Brain Gym and its Effects on a First Grade Classroom
Ashley, Mary J
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Currently, there is ongoing research centered on the importance of engaging the brain through exercise in the classroom. This new and innovative way of incorporating movement in the classroom is called Brain Gym and it offers 26 exercises that once implemented, is said to enhance a student’s cognitive processes resulting in enhanced learning and skills (Dennison and Dennison, 1994). In the state of Washington, we utilize pullout programs for students who need extra support outside of the mainstream classroom (i.e. English Language Learners, students in Individual Education Plans, Title math and reading groups, etc.) and integrate a variety of strategies for teaching students inside of the classroom (i.e. homogeneous and heterogeneous groupings, etc.). Yet, the question remains, what about the students who still struggle even after all of the focused and differentiated grouping? The following study focused on the method of exercises called Brain Gym that once implemented was supposed to stimulate the brain’s neural pathways and allow for more learning to take place resulting in greater cognitive output. The data taken in this survey was from students who performed writing activities before Brain Gym exercises and after. Writing was graded using a rubric designed to look at increases in student content and better organization in writing. Though the study’s results showed no major improvement in student organization or content, students showed a greater engagement in writing activities and were more willing to spend longer periods of time writing. Questions that surfaced as a result of this study are: “Would the results of this study look different if the timeline was lengthened?”, “What about studying multiple control groups instead of only one?”, “Would Brain Gym be more impacting in older grades? As an educator I found value in implementing Brain Gym in the classroom and will continue to study it and implement it in the future.
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v, 30 pages
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