Using Movement to Teach Vocabulary
When students explore new words through movement, they understand them better, retain them longer, and feel more empowered to use them.
There is mounting evidence that knowledge sticks better when students use movement while learning new concepts. At Pierre Elliott Trudeau Elementary School (PETES), in Gatineau, Quebec, third- and fourth-grade language arts teacher Fiona Medley incorporates music and movement into her lessons daily. Not only is her classroom more active, engaging, and fun—Medley says her students are better writers because of it.
To learn more about the research behind the practices seen in the video, check out the links below.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics’ report on how play enhances development in young children (2018)
- Kayleigh Skene, Christine M. O’Farrelly, Elizabeth M. Byrne, Natalie Kirby, Eloise C. Stevens, and Paul G. Ramchandani’s meta-analysis and review on whether guidance during play can enhance children’s learning and development in educational contexts (2022)
- Rachel Parker, Bo Stjerne Thomsen, and Amy Berry’s article on learning through play at school (2022)
- Lawrence Shapiro and Steven Stolz’s comprehensive review of studies on embodied cognition (2019)
- Panagiotis Kosmas, Andri Ioannou, and Panayiotis Zaphiris’s research on embodied learning and its effects on children’s memory and language skills (2019)
- Spyridoula Vazou, Panagiota Gavrilou, Evangelia Mamalaki, Anna Papanastasiou, and Nefeli Sioumala’s study on the integration of physical activity and its influence on academic motivation (2012)
- Christopher R. Madan and Anthony Singhal’s article about using actions to enhance memory (2012)
Pierre Elliott Trudeau Elementary School
Edutopia developed the Making Learning More Playful series with support from The LEGO Foundation. Registration is now open for the free online Playful Schools Conference, which takes place March 27–29, 2023.