Sunday, July 26, 2015

Improving Concentration and Attentiveness while playing

I am fascinated with the subject of how children with attention deficit disorder (for various reasons) cope with the class' life - from the mutual aspect of teacher-pupil relationship, the learning experience, the social experiences, their sense of self-esteem and abilities, and off course the emotional experience.
I believe that a lot of flexibility is required from the teacher, a flexibility which is also derived from offering the children with tools and coping strategies.

I recently read a nice article about children with attention deficit disorder which claimed, among other things, that ordering them in a manner of imperative mood - sit! listen! etc. takes up a huge energy from them - they are concentrating on the sitting itself, instead of the learning tasks which they face. This has made it clear to me that such children should be approached in a manner of movement to increase their listening abilities, while combining learning tasks.

In this post I would like to present to you with 4 simple movement games, that can be practices in every kindergarten/classroom/home/playground. They work on listening, focus of attentiveness, and combining working with active learning attentiveness:

1. Knowledge in Movement
a game of "balloons in the air". Each child gets a balloon and they must keep it up in the air with using various body parts.
It is not allowed to touch the other players' balloons - not to "help" them and not to snatch them.
The teacher ask questions or gives assignment during the balloons game. For example: 
X - how much is 30+3?
Y - What is the capitol of China?
Z+P+U - bounce the balloons only with the help of your knees.

The purpose is to determine a specific play-time with specific rules, and thus create the need to listen and simultaneously perform an action/calculation/answer etc., and detect when does the teacher change the instructions.
The level of the teaching/questions/calculations etc. must be adapted to the pupil's level.
When dealing with a child who has an attention deficit disorder we will start with changing our instructions, and with time and level of progress will ask for general knowledge/calculation questions.

2. An obstacle course with a prolonged mission
Building a confused phrase or assembles pictures to a story, or build a story with separate phrases, while each educational mission builds gradually.
You give the child one part of the puzzle/pictures/structure etc., and every time he finishes a part of the course or the entire course you take or being given the next part.

If you cannot build an obstacle lane you can give the children a props - basketball/hoop/rope etc. - and give them an assignment - to dribble the basketball, walk and dribble/ turn it around etc. When the teacher calls for the first part, everybody must run and get it. The winner is whoever finishes first the puzzle/assignment/phrase etc.

This game requires persistence and organization alongside to attentiveness.

3. Keeping balance
Maintaining a balance demands concentration, coordination, a physical fitness and self-esteem. Combining an educational assignment while performing balance exercises forces the brain to coordinate between it's different parts and cells.
I recommend to use what's available in your environment for practice - walking on a bench/beam, jumping using only one foot, walk on a rope which is spread in different shapes, walk only on or between  taped marks (prepared in advance) on the floor.
While the pupils exercise their balance, the teachers starts to ask questions, riddles etc. Take notes to yourself who manages to answer fast without losing their balance. This pupils can be challenged with higher levels - collect balls/balloons - and then continue with the task.

This activity encourages and develops a listening sequence, better pose and balance, while cooperating in your own space without bothering your fellow pupils space.

4. A Quick observation game - to which we have already dedicated an entire post in our blog:

Enjoy :)

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