George Lucas Educational Foundation
George Lucas Educational Foundation

Activating Learning by Milling to Music

When students pretend they’re at a fancy party making small talk, a simple brainstorm for writing ideas becomes more lively, more cooperative—and more effective.

April 12, 2023

There is a strong body of research indicating the benefits of movement and activity in the classroom. When combined with cooperative tasks, they can be a potent tool for learning. At Pierre Elliott Trudeau Elementary School in Gatineau, Quebec, third- and fourth-grade teacher Fiona Medley uses a playful strategy to get kids up out of their chairs and participating: She lets them wander around and chat about ideas with each other—while playing music. Although she also employs traditional reading and writing activities to help her students develop language skills, Medley relies on music, movement, and other arts integration strategies to teach vocabulary, story structure, and active listening. When it comes time to write, students are inspired, creative, and more focused.

To learn more about the research behind the practices seen in the video, check out the links below. 

The partner-based discussion activity Milling to Music was developed by educator Jeanne Gibbs.

Pierre Elliott Trudeau Elementary School

Public, Urban
Grades K-6
Gatineau, QC

Edutopia developed the Making Learning More Playful series with support from The LEGO Foundation.

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Filed Under

  • Collaborative Learning
  • Brain-Based Learning
  • English Language Learners
  • Literacy
  • Research
  • 3-5 Upper Elementary
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