How I Use It
GoNoodle is a great tool to use because it provides students a quick brain break from a lesson and/or used as a transition between one activity/subject to the next. From my experience, students become more restless or off task during the afternoon, so GoNoodle offers a variety of movement and brain exercises to help decrease some those tendencies. Some other uses I have utilized this site is for indoor recess, as a calming strategy, as a quick time filler, a real-world connection, or to reinforce a specific concept or skill.
Since outdoor recess provides students with the time to move and to be active, this is another alternative when outdoor recess is not an option. The challenge I have found is having the open space within the classroom for all students to move freely.
One of the categories within GoNoodle is "Calming". These are activities that are not as high energy. I have used these activities if I see students are rambunctious or are coming from another high energy activity. In some ways, I have discovered it has helped students refocus before returning or transitioning to a lesson.
Using GoNoodle as a quick time filler has been another use. If I only have a few minutes before going somewhere, but don't want to start something new, I have used GoNoodle to fill those extra minutes. I have also used it if something unexpected occurred or had to tend to a situation immediately. This kept the students engaged for a short period of time, in addition to letting them get up and move.
During an Olympic year, I have also utilized GoNoodle to make real word connections. One of my favorite GoNoodle activities is the "Run With Us" Olympic track & field events. Each event starts with a brief explanation and a warm-up hosted by a previous/current Olympian. The activity continues with a simulated race or an event, very much like the ones you see during the actual Olympics.
GoNoodle is not just for body movement and coordination, but it also includes activities that could be geared towards skills or concepts learned in the classroom. A few I have used before are "Word Jam", "Body Spell", and "Mega Math Marathon". "Word Jam" can be customized to your own list of vocabulary words, which then reinforces the meaning of words while adding body movement. "Body Spell" can also be customize to your own list of spelling words, which then students practice spelling words using specific body movements for each letter. "Mega Math Marathon" works on math fact fluency while running in place.
GoNoodle in my opinion can be used in a variety of ways, in addition to a variety of purposes. Whether that be taking a break from a lesson, making transitioning easier, substituting it for recess, or just getting students to move, it can be a great classroom tool!
Based on the dimensions above, engagement is usually not a problem among students. I have found over the years, students are excited when GoNoodle is mentioned and/or ask to do GoNoodle. Sometimes it does take some convincing to make sure all students are participating. I found if the teacher participates, the likelihood of all students participating is greater. A nice feature GoNoodle includes is the monster character when a class is created. The character progresses and changes as activities are completed. I have especially found the younger students to enjoy this feature.
Under the pedagogy dimension, even though I don't believe it involves building a real deep understanding of a particular skill or concept, I do strongly think it has benefits to student learning. It aides in decreasing distractions or redirection, refocusing on a task, enabling an smoother transition from one lesson to the next, and/or helping with attention span. In addition, it has the option for educators to incorporate some academic skills using kinesthetic learning.
What I appreciate about GoNoodle is it has a variety of movement and brain exercises, so it is versatile across all grade levels and learning abilities. If you want something that is more high energy or something that is calming and requires more focus, GoNoodle provides those options.
Overall, I have had great experiences and outcomes with this site. A couple tips to consider below:
1. This is usually done as a whole group activity, so enough space is required. Students should be able to move freely without touching their peers. Having a projector with speakers and some kind of large viewing area are beneficial, so all students can see easily. I have also had to discuss guidelines when moving around and staying in one spot. Students tend to forget and end up moving around the room, touching each other, or moving closer to the viewing area.
2. The graphics and videos are highly engaging, but sometimes can be "cheesy" or over the top. Encouraging older students to want to participate or to be excited by these activities can be a challenge since the graphics are more appealing to the younger ages.
3. This is a free site to sign-up and use, but a strong internet connection is needed. In addition, any internet filters need to be lifted or an option to bypass the filters in order to stream videos within some of the activities.