The expectations on teachers and children are so high these days. It’s the most pressure I or my class have ever been under, and I’m only halfway through my seventh year of teaching. Every year it seems as though there is more expectation, more to learn and cram in, more boxes to tick and more paperwork to fill in. We make our children work harder than ever and heap pressure on them to make progress, and make it quickly. Let’s face it, we’ve all kept them sitting too long and working too hard before being left frustrated with the end product, which doesn’t make for an exciting and purposeful learning environment does it? Sometimes I forget that my class are only 7 and 8 years old, and for some school is their safest and happiest place. The reason I got into teaching was we all remember one teacher who made school exciting and fun (Mr Mitchell, I still remember to this day when you pretended to collapse on the piano during a particularly boring assembly. Comedy genius), and I wanted to make school exciting and fun for my class, because let’s face it, we remember and learn more when it’s exciting, practical and fun.
In September, I felt my afternoons were too pressured and we weren’t achieving as much as we could or having fun along the way. I was looking for ideas to freshen things up when suddenly something appeared on my Twitter timeline courtesy of the amazing @simcloughlin. He posted about his class using @GoNoodle, so based on his other great ideas and posts, I went digging deeper. What I found changed my classroom completely in the space of a week. GoNoodle is a brilliant website which is jam packed full of quickfire activities to use to take a break from work and refocus, but the most important thing is they are SO MUCH FUN! My school had a stack of Activate DVD’s which were used to take a break and calm the children down. The only problem is that they were monotonous, boring and the children in my class hated doing them. So what was the point? They didn’t have the desired effect and actually made the class atmosphere worse. This is where GoNoodle came in, and dramatically changed my classroom atmosphere.
GoNoodle has lots of different channels and categories, ranging from guided dance, stretching, sports and exercise, to kinesthetic learning. I was amazed by the choice of content.
I signed up for free and began exploring it with my class straight away. We selected our champ (our first was McPufferson. It was amazing how much the children wanted to win points for him in the transmongrifier!) and set out on our first ever GoNoodle! What struck me immediately, was how engaged the class were. They couldn’t wait to get going and they were off like a rocket! We decided to go for a guided dance and went straight for Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae) by Silento. The excitement was unreal! EVERYONE joined in, even children who shy away. The atmosphere was great and afterwards, we were focussed and the work was fantastic, a massive improvement. At the end of the day, they wanted to do more. It slowly became a regular question: When can we do more GoNoodle? Which developed into: If we work really hard can we do a GoNoodle? We were all hooked (even me, I joined in alot! See here!)
We branched out away from Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae) and started to look at different channels. We incorporated Maximo’s stretching and yoga to relax and unwind, Think About It (great for growth mindset) to start our days and think about what we were going to do and achieve, Brainercise with Mr Cat to help us during particularly intense or tricky lessons such as maths and science, and we started PE lessons by using Fresh Start Fitness as warm up exercises. Within 2 weeks, mornings, and more importantly, afternoons had transformed! The class was buzzing with excitement and the work had dramatically increased in quality.
We started our day with Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae) one morning and then it dawned on me that we could change the lyrics to make our own song to help us with writing. When I suggested this, the class were very excited. We began rewriting the lyrics to help us with writing skills, and then made up our own dance. Then one child suggested we record a music video! From having fun and refocussing the children, we had gone full circle and used GoNoodle to create our own with a learning focus. Check it out below!
As the excitement about GoNoodle grew, so did our use. We started to look through as many as we could, with the best child from the previous day getting to choose. We seemed to always be coming back to our class favourite, Pop See Ko!
Before long it was spreading like wildfire throughout our school. From Nursery up to Year 6, we were all GoNoodling during the week. Classes began sharing their favourites, and even challenging each other!
In an attempt to mix things up, I got in touch with @simcloughlin just before Christmas. Coincidentally, he works in a school about 5 miles away and I asked whether he would be interested in a Christmas GoNoodle Challenge. We agreed that it would be like an advent calendar, one would set the challenge for that day and tweet the video to the others class. We would then reciprocate the next day. It was great fun, and amazing to see others GoNoodling, but it didn’t always go to plan because of the huge demands of Christmas in a Primary School, and the ever changing timetable. My class decided that they liked sharing their GoNoodles so much we would tweet videos from our class twitter page to share with parents. It started slowly, but then we’d post twice a week, and then even more.
It was then that after meeting Taylor and the team at BETT16, the brilliant @eLearning_Laura began talking about a competition within our local authority to take GoNoodle to a bigger audience and get more people involved in the fun. From there #NTLTNoodlers was born. This grew from 3 schools to over 8 in just a few weeks. The idea was that a GoNoodle was selected by@eLearning_Laura that day and tweeted to schools using #NTLTNoodlers. Classes would then record their GoNoodle videos and tweet them using #NTLTNoodlers for all to see! It quickly took off, and before long @eLearning_Laura was making a montage video of the weeks phenomenal GoNoodling! @simcloughlin then started the #GoNoodleLove competition (which somehow my class didn’t win??!?! see flashmobs below;)) and the competition got serious! Before long my class were working extra hard and producing much better quality work, all in the name of doing GoNoodle. So much so that we started flashmob GoNoodling to meet challenges set by both #NTLTNoodlers and #GoNoodleLove. We were GoNoodling on the local Metro (a local overground/underground train) and on a field trip to a museum!
As the competitiveness in class grew, we decided our best Noodlers would wear the t-shirts I received from BETT16 as a reward. The parents can’t wait to see the videos when we tweet. Some have even started to GoNoodle at home, which is never a bad thing promoting healthy lifestyles and exercise!
In a nutshell. GoNoodle has revitalised my classroom. We are now more productive, enthusiastic, motivated and more importantly… there is a huge element of FUN!
What are you waiting for? Sign up for free today, have fun and reap the benefits!