Books and Articles

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Minds in Motion:
A Kinesthetic Approach to Teaching Elementary Curriculum
by Susan Griss

Book can be purchased on-line through Heinemann, Amazon, and Barnes & Nobles.

Minds in Motion is published by Heinemann Press.


About the Book

Making the Link between Creative Movement
and Nuts-and-Bolts Curriculum

Kids love to move. In Minds in Motion, Susan Griss shows teachers how they can use this natural kinesthetic language as tool for teaching the nuts-and-bolts curriculum. Griss introduces elementary teachers to the process of identifying, creating and implementing lessons that encourage students to learn by using their bodies as well as their minds. Through specific examples, she illustrates the benefits of physicalizing academic concepts, including how movement:

    • makes learning tangible, accessible, and memorable
    • cultivates critical thinking and the use of higher-level thinking skills
    • demands both individual decision-making and group interaction
    • encourages students to make use of their own experiences and observations as a foundation for knowledge
    • stimulates creative and dynamic energy in the classroom

An ideal resource for both preservice and inservice teachers, Minds in Motion includes more than 30 lesson plans in a wide range of subjects.


Table of Contents

    • Every Child Wants to Move
    • From Muscles to the Brain: Dissecting a Lesson
    • Structuring the Lesson: Space, Control, Time, and Format
    • Assessment: Evaluating the Mind in Motion
    • Not Every Teacher Wants to Move: Using Nonmovement Resources
    • Lesson Plans: Language Arts, Social Studies, Science, Math, Multicultural Curriculum, Design, Mediation Skills and Conflict Resolution
    • Appendices: Stories, Suggested Music, Suggested Reading

Praise for Minds in Motion

Heidi Hayes Jacobs (President and CEO of Curriculum 21)
“Exciting, inventive, and educationally sound, the practical strategies offered in Minds in Motion should become part of every teacher’s repertoire.”

Thomas Armstrong (Executive Director of the American Institute for Learning and Human Development)
“Minds in Motion is the best book I’ve yet seen that can help teachers teach kids how to use their bodies to learn everything from the times tables to the Civil War. If teachers everywhere had access to this book, I am sure that we’d have far less need for things like Ritalin and ADD to control highly physical children . . . . Teachers will discover new talents and abilities in their students that can vastly enrich the quality of their classrooms.”

Amy Duma (Director of Teacher and School Programs at the Kennedy Center)
“Minds in Motion is the answer for every teacher interested in Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences who is wondering how to incorporate the kinesthetic intelligence into his/her classroom.”

Eileen Wasow (Executive Director of the Ellington Fund of the Duke Ellington School)
“Griss’s integrated approach spurs children to engage in critical thinking and problem solving even as it awakens their creative and aesthetic spirits. Every elementary school teacher and dance or movement specialist committed to helping children become active learners should read Minds in Motion.”


A short selection from the book:

“Children naturally move. They react to and explore the world in physical ways. No one has to teach them to jump for joy, to roll down a grassy hill, or to pound their bodies on the floor during a tantrum. When they arrive in elementary school they are fluent in this nonverbal, physical language. However, rather than using this natural resource by channeling it into constructive learning experiences, teachers often expend energy subduing children’s physicality.

What if, instead, teachers used kinesthetic language to teach elementary curricular subjects? What if a second grader’s love of spinning could clarify the difference between rotation and revolution? What if a third grader’s natural propensity to jump and hop could translate into a lesson revealing the principles of multiplication? What if a fourth grader’s excitement about physical adventure could lead into an enactment of a journey on the Underground Railroad, a journey into American history? . . .”

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Read Susan’s Articles:

“Everybody Stand Up!” – the power of kinesthetic teaching and learning published in Independent Teacher Magazine
“The Power of Movement in Teaching and Learning” – importance of using movement in the schools published in Education Week Teacher
“Moving Mountains, Running Rivers” –  teaching science through movement
“Reading, Writing, and Jumping Around” – description of a dance teaching artist published in Smith College Quarterly
“Creative Movement: A Language for Learning” – teaching for understanding published in Educational Leadership