How total physical response helps kids learn

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How total physical response helps kids learn

The total physical response approach is a wonderful way to incorporate movement into classroom instruction. By moving, the kids are much more active than if they were just sitting at a desk reading something, writing something or listening. One example that I do with my students is when we're learning inferences – and inference, of course, is when students read something in a book and they answer a question by finding a story clue, they combine it with their own knowledge, then they arrive at their inference. So to help the kids learn that, we do the 'inference chant' where I'll say, "Story clue…" The kids will open up their pretend book to the story. I'll say, "Plus…" We'll make a plus sign. "My own knowledge…" They'll say, "My own knowledge," by pointing to their brain. "Equals…" They'll do that. And then we'll make the 'I' for 'inference'. So by bringing in the body movements along with the words we have many more modalities at work and teachers increase the likelihood that the kids will learn the content.

Watch Steve Reifman's video on How total physical response helps kids learn...


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Steve Reifman

Teacher, Author & Speaker

Steve Reifman is a National Board Certified elementary school teacher, author, and speaker in Santa Monica, CA. He has written several resource books for educators and parents, including Changing Kids’ Lives One Quote at a TimeEight Essentials for Empowered Teaching and Learning, K-8, and Rock It! In addition, Steve has created a series of shorter, e-book resources for educators, including The First 10 Minutes: A Classroom Morning Routine that Reaches and Teaches the Whole ChildThe First 30 Days: Start Your School Year with 4 Priorities in Mind, and 2-Minute Biographies for Kids: Inspirational Success Stories About 19 Famous People and the Importance of Education. He is also the creator of the Chase Manning Mystery Series for children 8-12 years of age. For Teaching Tips, articles, and other valuable resources and strategies on teaching the whole child, visit and subscribe at  subscribe to his “Teaching Kids” YouTube channel, check out his two professional development courses for educators on, and visit his Teachers Pay Teachers page.

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