Improving Motor Planning, Bilateral Coordination and Balance Through the Use of Poetry (Sp. Ed. 2-3)


Overview:  Children who are referred to gross motor group therapy need to develop the skill of moving their body in an organized manner and following movement instructions.  Many of these children are very impulse and fast in their movement patterns because a slow sustained muscle contraction and controlled movement is more difficult than a quick movement.   They have a poor ability to motor plan and judge where their body is in space (both in relation to their own arms and legs, as well as to where other people are in terms of personal space).  They often have difficulty with balance and bumping into people or objects, and are referred to as “clumsy”.

Objective:  Improve motor planning, bilateral coordination and balance through the use of poetry.

Materials:  Poems with a theme or description 

                 of  movement

                  Empty space in a classroom or gymnasium

                  Carpet squares or gym “dot” markers

Procedure:  After “opening circle” stretches to warm up, have the students choose a carpet square to sit on.  Read a poem, and follow up with a brief discussion of the poem’s general theme.  Tell the students you will read the poem again, this time they should listen for words that describe movement.  Read the poem again.  Ask the students to think about how it would feel to move as described in the poem.  Have them position themselves on the carpet square in the position they envision the animal in the poem to be in when the poem started.  Ask them to move the way they think the poet had in mind when writing the poem.  Ask them to “freeze” in a position sometime during their movement.  Ask them to move the way they think they would have the animal move if they were to write a poem about the same animal.














































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