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Kinesthetic Learning in the Classroom for ADHD Students

ADHD can be seen as a distraction in the classroom, characterized by a student's inability to sit still, focus for long periods of time, or use rote memorization to learn large chunks of information. Instead of focusing on the limits that this disorder can put on your classroom lessons, why not focus on the positives that highlight these students' strengths? Let's look at some strategies that will help an ADHD child succeed in your classroom by using motion and movement.

Simple Classroom Strategies

How can you incorporate kinesthetic learning into the classroom? A series of kinesthetic learning strategies can be easily adapted into several classroom settings for a variety of lessons. By appealing to an ADHD child's natural inclination to get up and move, you can create activity- and motion-based lessons that will create deep and meaningful long-term learning connections. One successful strategy suggests taking longer problems or equations and having students write them out on large blocks of paper, so they can move and manipulate the chunks to "feel" how one part relates to the next.

Turn Your Room Into a Gallery

A gallery walk allows students to walk around the classroom while making notes or observations on a set of photographs or texts that have been spaced throughout the room. This is a great way to "chunk" a large text, or pieces from several texts, across a larger space. This is less overwhelming for an ADHD student than seeing a long, printed excerpt on paper. Students can draw connections or observations about what they are seeing or reading after they have moved around the room. This strategy can also break up a longer, complex lesson into smaller, more digestible chunks for an ADHD student.

Movement, Conversation and Deep Learning

Using the "I have, who has..." strategy appeals to an ADHD student's natural social abilities, and puts them in control of the information they will learn and share during the lesson. Students have to announce what is on the top of their card, and then find another student who has a coordinating term or problem at the bottom of their card. This lesson can be easily modified for ELA, math, science or social studies, and gets kids moving around the classroom and engaging other students in positive, academic-based conversations.

By using kinesthetic learning activities, not only will you allow a child's body movement to guide their learning, you will also tap into a side of the child that they may feel inhibits their academic success. ADHD children can be the all-stars of your classroom by using these kinesthetic principles to highlight their natural abilities.

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