June is National Great Outdoors Month!

I will admit I was unaware, until today, that June is National Great Outdoors Month! I do think the outdoors are great, though, and am happy to promote this initiative. More information can be found here.

To commemorate the great outdoors, SHAPE has informed me about several helpful infographics provided by the CDC to promote activity. These great resources, Get Moving! Screen Time vs. Lean Time, offer age-specific activity ideas, many of which are outdoor pursuits.

For 8-10 year olds: Click here

For 11-14 year olds: Click here

For 15-18 year olds: Click here

This month, let’s all decrease screen time and GET MOVING. Then let’s keep it going all summer long!

Let’s Move Interactive Infographic – Great Resource!

Let’s Move! Active Schools, the initiative to engage American youth in the recommended levels of physical activity at school, has recently released an interactive infographic that compiles resources, programming, training, and funding opportunities for all five realms of school-based physical activity: physical education, before and after school activity, staff involvement, family and community engagement, and, of course, during school activity.

The programs and resources listed in the “Physical Activity During School” component link to external sites, so that teachers can easily access information. While most of the listed programs and materials require purchase, it is a nice overview of available resources. (More of the resources are available at no cost than the programs, although some programs offer samples.) In addition, the options may spark ideas for increasing student movement that teachers could independently modify and implement in their own classrooms or schools. For those teachers who are interested in implementing activities that require funding, there is also a list of available grants to increase school-based physical activity.

Check out the infographic, included on our Resources page, and directly available here!

Starting a New Year with GoNoodle: Get Kids Moving!

GoNoodle, a site referenced in our Materials page, is a great way for teachers to add movement to their classrooms with minimal planning and effort. By creating a free account, teachers can access a wide variety of videos to support classroom physical activity. If you previously used GoNoodle, simply create a new class to get this new academic year off with a running start! This year, GoNoodle is also offering free downloadable postcards, name tags, and other paraphernalia to “GoNoodle” your classroom.

For more information or to set up/access your GoNoodle account: https://www.gonoodle.com

Classroom Management Tips – a Foundation for Classroom Physical Activity

Classroom management is critical to the productive, positive learning environment and classroom climate.  It is a necessary skill for the implementation of any classroom activity or procedure, but is particularly important when engaging students in movement in the classroom setting.  Edutopia, a website that shares  “evidence- and practitioner-based learning strategies that empower you to improve K-12 education,” offers a Five-Minute Film Festival on classroom management techniques.  There are nine videos, each with a different focus, but all targeting classroom management methodology.  Check it out…and then get kids moving!

See videos here.

Discipline…and Keep Recess!

Recess is a critical opportunity for students to gain physical activity during the school day.  We’ve all known teachers, or been the teacher!, who threatens a student with missing this break if behavior does not improve.  This is the “you take my time; I’ll take yours” theory.  Yet eliminating recess may actually increase behavior problems.  The Inspired Treehouse recently published a post called “Positive Discipline: 10 Ways to Stop Taking Recess Away” that offers alternatives to withholding recess.  Some of the suggestions use physical activity as a punishment, which is not appropriate, but there are several beneficial ideas as well as links to other resources.

Physical activity is neither a punishment nor a reward! 

Webinars to Increase Knowledge

Action for Healthy Kids is offering several upcoming webinars of interest. See their site for these virtual learning opportunities, including one next Wednesday, Sept. 9 about classroom physical activity!

Link to AHK Webinar page

Update (Jan. 2017): The Action for Health Kids webinar series is on-going, so continue to check the site for upcoming topics. Past webinars are available via archive.

Students’ Health Habits During Summer

An interesting article was published this month entitled “Students’ eating and exercise habits over the summer break: The role of family income“. As a teacher, I’ve always been aware of the “summer backslide” academically. At the beginning of a new school year, academic standards are often higher than at the end of the previous grade, yet children have spent the summer away from the educational tutelage of school. This article offers the common-sense point of view that summer is also a time when health habits are different. Indeed, I was speaking with a teacher in line at Target recently who confessed that she, herself, ate more ice cream and worked out less during the summer because it was “vacation”. Adults and children, alike, may engage in less healthy behaviors during the summer months.  And, according to this article, this disconnect is more prevalent in children of lower socioeconomic status.

The take-away? For teachers, we must be aware that the beginning of the school year is a time to reinforce, not only academic standards, but also healthy behaviors. Remember, active students are engaged learners!

Summer: Time to prepare for classroom physical activity?!

School’s out for the summer!  If you’re like me, you’re ready for some time where you don’t even THINK about lesson plans or curriculum or teaching methods.  But, inevitably, my mind always returned to those thoughts as the summer progressed.  Summer, when you have oodles of free time (at least compared to the school year), may be an excellent opportunity to learn more about classroom physical activity.  In preparation for the 2015-2016 academic year, take some time to discover how classroom physical activity can impact your students, your teaching, and your classroom environment.  And then take some time to think about how you can make physical activity in the classroom work for you!

Read some background information.  Check out our research page and look into some of the readings!

Free online training module: PBS Learning Media offers “Increasing Physical Activity in Schools: PD for Elementary Teachers” – a professional development module designed to offer tools to increase school-based physical activity.

Use our implementation page to get tips and tricks on adding or increasing physical activity in your own classroom. This page offers an action plan template and sample to get you started!

Pledge to get students active: Join Active Schools/Active Minds initiative

The Healthy Schools Program under Alliance for a Healthier Generation just launched their Active Schools/Active Minds initiative for the 2015-2016 school year.  And you can be part of it!  Signing up will provide you with tools and resources to help your students achieve the recommended number of physical activity minutes they need each day for academic and health benefits.

Link to taking action: Active School/ Active Minds

And check out this great PDF of “Ideas to Incorporate 10 More Minutes of Physical Activity Every Day