Skillastics and Integrating Academics
Skillastics® activities provide opportunities to integrate academics with physical movement or activities. To accomplish this, classroom teach would need a list of the Skillastics® activities with a short description on how to perform that activity. Also, the teacher can incorporate these activities throughout the day. The basic concept is for the students do one of the Skillastics® activities for a period of time, which is then followed by a brief math or language arts exercise before the next Skillastics® activity takes place. Here are a few ideas of how to incorporate math into Skillastics® activities:
- Instruct the students to multiply the number of repetitions by a number you chose so that you increase the intensity of the activity while having students work on multiplication skills.
- Instruct students to add the three repetition numbers listed on an activity, and this new number becomes the number of repetitions.
- Give students a math challenge based on whether the number on the mat is an odd or even number (i.e. if it’s an odd number they add 3 to the reps if it’s an even number they multiply the reps by 2).
- The teacher selects the Skillastics® activity, and the students must add or multiply the numbers rolled on both dices to determine the number of repetitions or amount of seconds to complete the activity.
To incorporate language arts, give students some time to write a short paragraph that describes what they enjoyed about playing the game. Or, each team/group writes a brief description on how the Skillastics game is played.
Classroom teachers can use Skillastics activities not only as a tool to provide movement in the classroom but also to integrate academics and movement. Provide a list of the Skillastics activities and a short description of each activity to classroom teachers. They then can use them throughout the day. For example, they can have their students do one of the Skillastics activities for 30 seconds then give them a math problem to solve while they are standing beside their desk. The teacher can call out a Skillastics activity, have the students roll two dice and either add or multiply the numbers to know how many times to do the activity.
These are just a few ideas on how to integrate academics with the Skillastics activities to reinforce the connection between movement and academics. Below are two quotes that support the fact that physical activity can improve academic performance.
- “Substantial evidence suggests that physical activity can be associated with improved academic achievement, including grades and standardized test scores.” NASPE and CDC
- “Cross Crawls, a contralateral exercise, accesses both brain hemispheres simultaneously. These movements activate the brain for crossing the midline, left-to-right eye movements, and improved binocular vision. The academic skills of spelling, writing, listening and reading benefit from these exercises.” Dr. Paul Dennison, Brain Gym (Note: many Skillastics® activities include cross lateral movement.)