web analytics

Warming Up with Mutual Respect

If you try this activity with your students, we’d love to see what you do. Share your journey via the #Inspired2Learn hashtag on your preferred social platform.

Discipline: These activities can be applied in any class or subject area.

Age level: All

Time: 15-30 minutes (or longer if you build out some of the activities more) 

This series of warm-up activities activates the mind and body but it also offers the opportunity for students to feel seen and heard right as class begins. You can do them all in sequence or just one or a few at a time. Consider variations for age, subject area, or the general mood/needs of your group. 

PHYSICAL WARMUPS

Full Body Breathing

  • Stand upright, straight, arms at sides. Breathe in. Breathe out. Ground yourself. Deep breath in. 
  • Bend all the way forward, hands reach for the ground. Breathe out.
  • Rise up, hands on shins, straight back. Breathe in. 
  • Bend back all the way forward, hands reach for the ground. Breathe out. 
  • Rise all the way up, raise hands above head. Breathe in.
  • Repeat. 

 

Bilateral Synchronization

This activity is similar to the above in that it involves doing different things on each side of the body, but the movements are less random than “shaking” a body part. 

Model for the class standing and demonstrating with your right arm first: 

Using just your right arm: 

  • Touch your shoulder. 
  • Reach for the sky. 
  • Touch your shoulder.
  • Reach for the ground. 

Repeat two times. 

Now, using just your left arm: 

  • Touch your shoulder. 
  • Reach for the sky. 
  • Touch your shoulder. 
  • Reach out to the left. 
  • Touch your shoulder. 
  • Reach for the ground. 

Repeat two times. 

Now bring both sides together, starting with both hands on your shoulders. So the sequence will go like this: 

Right Arm Left Arm 
Touch your shoulder.  Touch your shoulder. 
Reach for the sky.  Reach for the sky. 
Touch your shoulder. Touch your shoulder. 
Reach for the ground.  Reach out to the left. 
Touch your shoulder.  Touch your shoulder. 
Reach for the sky.  Reach for the ground. 
Touch your shoulder. Touch your shoulder. 
Reach for the ground.  Reach for the sky. 
Touch your shoulder.  Touch your shoulder. 
Reach for the sky.  Reach out to the left. 
Touch your shoulder. Touch your shoulder. 
Reach for the ground.  Reach for the ground. 

Keep going for several repetitions and observe how students are problem-solving when they lose track of what one arm or the other is doing. In a debrief ask them what they notice about their own thinking as they try to do this. What makes it hard? What helps it feel easier? 

VOCAL/EMOTIONAL WARM UPS

Emotion Alphabet

  • Invite the group to call out an emotion (examples: happy, sad, angry, frustrated, anxious) 
  • Now the group will express this emotion starting out with its smallest expressions and building to the biggest while saying the alphabet. So at “A” the emotion is at it’s least extreme while at “Z” it is in it’s very fullest and loudest expression. 
  • Repeat with other emotions to explore what A-Z looks like for a variety of feelings. 

Name and a Gesture: Share Your Skills Edition

  • Ideally, stand in a circle. Each student shares their name, something they are good at, and a gesture to go with that thing. For example, “Linnea, listening to my friends, (holds hand to ear).”
  • The rest of the group repeats the name, activity, and gesture 3 times.

Standards Addressed by these Activities

Common Core College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Language

Conventions of Standard English:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

Vocabulary Acquisition and Use:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.6 Acquire and use accurately a range of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when encountering an unknown term important to comprehension or expression.

 

Common Core College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Writing

Text Types and Purposes:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.1 Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.

 

Common Core College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Speaking and Listening

Comprehension and Collaboration:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.1 Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning Competencies

Self-Awareness: The abilities to understand one’s own emotions, thoughts, and values and how they influence behavior across contexts. This includes capacities to recognize one’s strengths and limitations with a well-grounded sense of confidence and purpose.

Self-management: The abilities to manage one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors effectively in different situations and to achieve goals and aspirations. This includes the capacities to delay gratification, manage stress, and feel motivation and agency to accomplish personal and collective goals.

Social awareness: The abilities to understand the perspectives of and empathize with others, including those from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and contexts. This includes the capacities to feel compassion for others, understand broader historical and social norms for behavior in different settings, and recognize family, school, and community resources and supports.

Responsible decision-making: The abilities to make caring and constructive choices about personal behavior and social interactions across diverse situations. This includes the capacities to consider ethical standards and safety concerns, and to evaluate the benefits and consequences of various actions for personal, social, and collective well-being.

Relationship skills: The abilities to establish and maintain healthy and supportive relationships and to effectively navigate settings with diverse individuals and groups. This includes the capacities to communicate clearly, listen actively, cooperate, work collaboratively to problem solve and negotiate conflict constructively, navigate settings with differing social and cultural demands and opportunities, provide leadership, and seek or offer help when needed.