Improving Integration of Controlled Movement and Balance (Sp. Ed. 1-2)


   Learner Description

I will address this curriculum design specifically to a group of 6-8 students who are in a level 2 self-contained classroom. This is a combined 1st/2nd grade special ed. class. These children qualified for gross motor therapy, which means their movement patterns are at least 2.5 standard deviations below the mean for their same aged peers (1or 2 “grade levels” below their same aged schoolmates).


Purpose Statement

My overall objective for the students in this class is to improve the integration of controlled movement and balance (as stated on their IEP’s) and visual- perceptual skills: in this case by working through the kinesthetic intelligence with an emphasis on spatial awareness. My long-term goal is for them to integrate a sense of personal space and an awareness of how an “invasion of space” affects them and others. My short-term goal is to show them the “definition” of space and increase their awareness of its existence while also improving their motor abilities.

Learning Objectives

Cognitive: estimating, flexible thinking, and directionality in space

Affective: self esteem, awareness of others

                        Social: listening, participating, respecting

                        Artistic competencies: body, space,


This activity will take approximately 20 minutes (not including warm-up time). It should occur in a large room cleared of all furniture, or in the gymnasium (preferably with a sliding screen dividing the gym in half). The activity description is found in First Steps in Teaching Creative Dance to Children by Mary Joyce (p.52). It is titled: Activity 6: FINDING A PERFECT SPOT. After a description is given of a “perfect spot” students are given a stated amount of counts to find a perfect spot and freeze in a shape on that spot. Initially with this group I may need to place dots (as suggested for grade K), progressing to no spots on the floor as they gain the concept. Another progression would be to direct the type of shape I would like the students to work on, i.e. any shape with only 1 foot on the floor (to work on balance), or any shape on your toes. I could direct my questions toward the awareness of space: Who is closest to you? Who is farthest away? Who is nearest to a wall? How do you feel when someone is too close/far?


2.      Student Based Assessment

In designing an assessment tool for this group of students I will need to include a picture format for my nonverbal students. Most of the verbal students are delayed in language and writing skills and function at a pre-K or K level, so a picture system would work well for them also. Initially I would want to individually go over the assessment with each child and read the questions relating to the lesson to them, and help them circle the appropriate picture smiley face, neutral face frowny face). As a progression I would have the students complete it by themselves when they have learned the questions and concept of the assessment. I would include a line for written comments for those students who are capable of dictating or writing themselves, and may ask the teacher if she would like to integrate this as part of her writing curriculum for the appropriate students. Please see the attached sample assessment tool.


Gross Motor Group Report



I thought group today was:

(Draw in faces)

Neutral                                 smiley                                               frown

too easy                               just right                                          too hard


I enjoyed the activity we did today:



Frown                          neutral                                               smiley                         not at all                               a little                                                a lot


My body felt:


Frown                                 smiley                                          frown

excited/fast                             just right                                     heavy/slow

red                                       green                                                  blue



Afterwards I felt:


Neutral                                   smiley                                            frown

not at all tired                       a little tired                                    very tired



I want to tell you about: _______________________________________________



























































Making an effort to increase student learning by integrating movement will help children gain meaningful context to their lives.