6 Steps to Engage Reluctant GoNoodlers

CaseyJane, elementary teacher and blogger at Wiggling Scholars, shares her best tips and tricks for getting shy, reluctant GoNoodlers up and moving. And course, we can’t help but love her blog name. All GoNoodlers are “wiggling scholars!”

As much as I love to sing, dance, and GoNoodle with my students, it can also be a source of stress and anxiety for shyer, self-conscious students. And because movement is so important for all students, here are 6 steps to engaging these reluctant GoNoodlers so everyone feels safe and happy during our brain breaks.

1) Noodle Spots – Before our first GoNoodle, I have students choose their own spot in the room. When you do this, take note of who is in the far back corner! Those are the students who don’t want to be seen as they build confidence. As you move around the room, don’t put pressure on these kids by trying to dance with them. Save that for your niece or nephew at a wedding! Just wave or wink at them on the sly and move onto the kids who are asking for your interaction.

Adjust the spots for students who might get too silly… That “too silly” thing can be overwhelming and shut down some of your reluctant students. There will be time for silly in the future. When you first start, you want to be sure that you set the tone to be comfortable for as many students as possible.

2) Hit the Lights – Turn out a light or two and claim that it is easier to see screen, which is a little bit true, but also so students feel like they have a bit more privacy.

3) The ONLY Rule (aside from safety) – Invite students to do any kind of stretching while Maximo is on, and any kind of jumping jacks, push ups, and sit ups, while the other videos are on. The only “rule” I have is that your body needs to be doing some kind of moving. I have begun the last 2 years with the “Be Moving” policy and both years some kids will choose to do other movement for a while until they feel comfortable. Really, the goal here is to get kids up and moving. Participation may look different for the children who are reluctant. Celebrate and appreciate all types of participation.

4) Hook ‘Em, Maximo! – Start with a few of the obvious songs! Try anything that is short, silly, easy to sing with, and with obvious actions. My personal favorites include: Run Like the Kitty, No Crust, and Rainbow Kids. Once they get the hang of the expectations, try out a few of the Olympic events in Run With US. These are very structured, engage the kids who prefer sports, and give the students something to strive for! I love that I can choose if my students are earning a bronze, silver, or gold medal! Then, practice yoga poses and breathing with Maximo… a special treat because he tells quirky jokes!

5) Being Brave with Brave – Then it’s time for Brave. Talk to your students about what bravery is and brave people they know. Explain different kinds of bravery such as police officers and firefighters facing danger or performers on stage facing fears. But also focus on kid-bravery! Bravery might be inviting a new friend to play, trying something new to eat, or even dancing in the classroom.

Then, without dancing, watch Brave. Discuss the moves that people are doing and how brave they are to try dance moves in public. Notice which moves they like most and would try!

Then… we GoNoodle! Remember, kid-chosen spots, some lights off, and… BRAVERY!

6) Dance Party 2.0 – Save this tip for the dreariest, rainiest, slowest day. You know the one… when everyone seems to on mental vacations and you just need that special something to zap a little life into their day. Pick out their favorite song and hand them laser pointers. (I think I just heard you gulp, but honestly, you can do this and they will love it!) Go to the local pet store and buy all of the cat-toy lasers they have. Explain that these are ceiling only lasers and they magically disappear if you point them anywhere else. Pass them out, get your crazy-super-thrilling-excited voice going, and PARTY! Honestly, even if they don’t like dancing, who can resist a laser pointer?!

Enjoy your dance party… I mean Brain Break! 😉