am a physical therapist working in the schools with physically
disabled and developmentally delayed students who range in age
from 3 years to 21 years old.
This lesson plan will be directed toward students who have
developmental delays that make controlled movement difficult.
These students often move quickly and impulsively because
fast, all or nothing movements are easier to perform than
graduated controlled movements.
I work on the quality of their movement when I treat them,
and I believe stories can be used to help these students become
aware of how people and animals move (via emphasis on description
of movement in the story).
and 2nd grade self -contained special education
students. This is a
small group treatment session with 6 participants.
awareness of body position in space (increase kinesthetic
slow controlled muscle movement with emphasis on bilateral
integration (coordination of right and left sides of the body).
oral rendition of the story Polly’s Oats by Marc Simont
open space such as gym or treatment room
the students seated on the floor while the story is told.
Storyteller will emphasize and elaborate on descriptions of
movement in the story. Following the storytelling, initiate a
discussion of when the people and horses moved during the story,
and what the type of movement occurred. Have the students stand
and “perform” the story with the therapist as it is retold.
The therapist will be demonstrating or modeling the
movements the students are expected to use as the story is told to
ensure that specific movement objectives are attained. Classroom
instructional assistants will assist children as needed to achieve
specific body alignments and positions if a child is not able to
do it independently.
students loved this story and the change in approach to movement
therapy from the typical list of activities that I have them do.
Some students had a great deal of difficulty holding the positions
for as long as I had them attempt to hold the position in relation
to the story. I will be able to retell the story throughout the
next weeks and lengthen or shorten the time of each movement based
on how the students are progressing with their ability to perform
what I ask them to do. The first telling revealed which actions
and positions were the most challenging for them, and I will now
modify as needed to progress them properly along the movement
continuum. I will also work indirectly with the story in mind as I
teach individual students variations on positions or movements
that they could substitute for what the storyteller is
demonstrating, to give the individual child the appropriate
activity for their ability level. I foresee a time when I would
not need to be at the head of the class demonstrating the
movements, but would hope the students could integrate the story
enough to perform while the story is told without the visual cues.
This would allow me to move among them to fine-tune their position
or movement through hands on techniques called facilitation.
could have the students talk about what they think the people and
animals felt like when they moved (i.e., what did it feel like for
Polly to be stuck in the mud?
What do you think it feels like to be so weak that you
can’t move your foot?). We
can explore feelings of empathy, and for some, what it feels like
to be different and not able to do what other kids can do easily.
would also extend the activity to allow them to create different
(their own) movements that could be done to act out the various
parts of the story. I
could also ask them to make a variation of the story for us to
move to… instead of getting stuck in the mud, maybe Polly had a
hoof in a hole; instead of jumping a log maybe Polly needs to swim
a river. We could talk about all the different ways your body
could move to get from one point in the story to another, and then
on this lesson: I
felt this was a very successful lesson and will repeat it with the
variations discussed above. Since
these students take a long time to integrate movement (and any
learning), the need for repetition is great.
I will stay with the initial format and story for a long
time altering only the length of time each movement is performed
initially before I move to the extension of having the students
vary the story or movements.
I think the format is excellent and will look for other
stories with a variety of movements for different grade levels.