Minds in Motion is a set of strategies that uses creative movement, dance, and kinesthetic activities to enhance teaching and learning. When children are young they are fluent in the language of movement, using their bodies to explore the world, express feelings, and act out their ideas. Minds in Motion, developed by Susan Griss, harnesses this natural instinct and transforms it into a language for learning in the classroom. As documented by new research on the brain, the use of kinesthetic lessons can make the curriculum more tangible, accessible and memorable for students. In the words of neurophysiologist Dr. Carla Hannaford, “Movement anchors thought.”
What distinguishes Minds in Motion from other kinesthetic learning programs is that the movement is integrated into the content of the lesson, rather than as a tangent or parallel activity. The academic objective is at the heart of the movement experience. As a result of these practices, participants benefit in all of the following areas:
Susan Griss has been moving with students and teachers through the curriculum for over twenty-five years. Her school residencies integrate dance and movement with subjects as diverse as math, history, science and English language arts. In addition to working directly with children, Susan focuses on professional development workshops for pre-service and classroom teachers. She is on the graduate faculties of Bank Street College of Education in New York and Lesley University in Massachusetts, and is a guest lecturer at colleges, public schools, teacher institutes and art centers around the country.
Recently, Susan began working with senior citizens in a continuing care residential facility. Through the inter-weaving of personal discussion, exercise, choreographed movements, and creative movement improvisation, participants strengthened their bodies, minds, and spirits, while learning about the art of dance.
Her book Minds in Motion: A Kinesthetic Approach to Teaching Elementary Curriculum is published by Heinemann. Her articles on kinesthetic teaching have appeared in Educational Leadership, the Smith College Alumnae Quarterly, and Teaching Artist Journal, and on-line in Education Week Teacher and Independent Teacher.
See Susan presenting at a New York State United Teachers professional development workshop for primary school teachers in 2015.