Tech-Break: Move It

It has been quite a while since the last tech-break, so I think we are due for another one. In case you have forgotten them, tech-breaks are posts about fun and engaging tech-less activities for the language learning classroom. Some of the previous ones have covered running dictations, battleship, and slash reading.

Today’s tech-break, Move It, is for all levels and comes courtesy of my colleague, Rebecca Palmer, who was kind enough to write a post about independent online reading practice as a guest writer not too long ago. Becky introduced me to Move It just the other day while we were preparing a conference presentation, and I cannot wait to try it with my students.

The purpose of Move It is to check true/false or multiple-choice questions in a way that encourages a higher level of engagement and involvement than more traditional methods. In fact, Move It, as the name suggests, actually requires students to physically move around the classroom, which reminded me of TPR.

Here is how it works. After you have explained the directions, which I will get to in a moment, have students stand and form columns or rows of three to ten students each. Explain that each column or row is a team. Read or display the question. Students should remain standing and think of their answer without sharing with other students. When you say, “Move!”, each student quickly moves to the left or right of the room for true/false questions and to the back or front of the room or stand or sit for multiple-choice questions.

If a student moves too early or too late, that student’s answer is counted as incorrect and the team with the most correct bodies in the right place scores a point. If there is a tie, each winning team scores a point. Repeat until all of the questions have been answered.

A variation of this is to have students play as individuals instead of teams. Also, students could use the front, back, left, and right sides of the room to indicate responses if all the questions in the set are multiple choice. Additionally, I would indicate on the whiteboard or slide where to go for each response simply as a reference for students, especially when they are first learning the activity.

It is so simple, but also fun, active, and engaging. As Becky explained, students really seem to have a better recollection of the correct answers to questions, especially difficult ones, when they have physically seen almost all students in one spot and come to find out that the lone student on the other side of the room had the correct answer all along. If you have never used this before, give it a try and see what your students think. Let us know how it goes by leaving a comment below!

About Tara Arntsen

Tara Arntsen
Tara Arntsen recently completed her Master's degree in Teaching-TESOL at the University of Southern California. She currently teaches in the Intensive English Program at Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota. She has taught ESOL in China, Japan, and Cambodia as well as online. Her primary interests are communicative teaching methods and the use of technology in education.
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2 Responses to Tech-Break: Move It

  1. Angela says:

    I feel like this is a great activity for EL students. Some students feel uncomfortable answering questions when the spotlight is on them. This will give them a chance to answer questions, along with their classmates and not have the attention on them. The whole class is able to participate and review or a test/quiz. You are able to discuss as a class what the answer was and why it was correct. This could lead to great discussions that EL students could participate in.

    • Tara Arntsen Tara Arntsen says:

      Thank you for the feedback, Angela! I absolutely agree that it encourages more active engagement. Instead of the handful of engaged individuals, you have 100% participation and can use student responses as a jumping off point for discussions or debates. When I check homework in my advanced reading classes, I often make the whole class agree on the correct answer before revealing it so that generates a lot of discussion/debate and very close reading of the material. Students cite line numbers and key vocabulary words in their arguments and it makes for a very lively activity with little to no preparation or participation on my part. Let us know how Move It works out for you!

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