LiiNK Project as SXSW Session – Vote Now!

The SXSW EDU Conference & Festival, which “cultivates and empowers a community of engaged stakeholders to advance teaching and learning”, will take place in Austin on March 5-8, 2018.

There is a PanelPicker Community Voting process for speakers at this conference, which offers TED Talk type presentations. Dr. Debbie Rhea from the LiiNK Project, needs your vote to be able to share “Unstructured Play: The Ultimate Classroom”. The LiiNK Project “is a research-based intervention providing unstructured outdoor physical activity breaks and character development lessons to K-3 classrooms”.

Watch a video on the LiiNK Project and vote now…

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!

The Daily Mile: “So Simple, It’s Brilliant”

Runner’s World, not a place I normally go for news, published an article that I read today called “So Simple It’s Brilliant: Schools Worldwide Buy Into ‘The Daily Mile'”. I posted the article on our News page, but also wanted to highlight it here, based on two quotes from the article.

  1. “The idea was to improve fitness and social and emotional health, and to combat obesity. … Fifteen minutes, outside, every day. No gym clothes, no fancy facility, no competition, no rigid schedule, no additional staff, no cost.”
  2. “While in the early stages, scientific studies show Daily Milers have improved sleeping and eating patterns, improved physical fitness and scores in math and working memory, and reported being happier in school.”

These reported effects, combined with the simplicity of the program, support adoption in more schools around the world. We can start one classroom at a time! The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step…literally.

Why did the tofu cross the road?

To prove he wasn’t chicken!

Credit for this joke goes to Michele Rusnak of the Austin Independent School District. It was shared during a presentation on coordinated school health (CSH) programs at the American School Health Association (ASHA) conference last week. Coordinated school health is an eight-component system that, since its inception, has been expanded into the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model.

Austin ISD is a model of how a coordinated program can impact the health and wellness of students through teamwork and collaboration among faculty, staff, district personnel, and community resources. Physical activity is one important component of the WSCC model and AISD provided materials, resources, and services to promote physical activity opportunities for students throughout the school day. For more information on their program, see the AISD website.

Let’s Be Like Tennessee

As of July 2, 2016, Tennessee law mandates that students in grades K-1 get 225 minutes of physical activity per week while in school and that students in grade 2-6 get 160 minutes of weekly activity. This is an increase from the previous 90 minutes of required physical activity per week, a mark that will continue in grade 7-12. The Tennessee Department of Education acknowledges it will be difficult to ‘find’ time for physical activity during the school day, but recognizes that the benefit to cognition, behavior, and academic performance has the potential to outweigh any barriers.

The research supports Tennessee’s decision. So let’s all be like Tennessee…and get kids moving!

See more about Tennessee’s policy on our “In the News” page.

An Old Article, Newly Discovered

An article by the Association for Childhood Education International entitled “Childhood Obesity and Testing: What Teachers Can Do” was shared on the site in 2009. This piece, now 7 years old, offers a relatively concise overview of the relationship between obesity and academic performance for an educator who is seeking information. Citations throughout the article provide support for the five strategies proposed to address the issue at school. Although it doesn’t fit into the other sections of this website as it is not technically research, or news, or a resource, it is worthy of its own blog post…happy reading!

View the article here.

More Recess…for ALL Students!

Recently, several schools across the country have increased the quantity of recess that early elementary students receive (see our In the News page). Preliminary qualitative results suggest that extended or additional recess breaks facilitate an improvement in students’ focus in the class. This is consistent with empirical research that supports a connection between physical activity and time on task in the classroom. However, this research would further support offering more recess minutes to students of all grade levels. One can hypothesize that schools are hesitant to adopt this practice in standardized testing grades, but studies show that adding physical activity time is not detrimental to academic performance. As such, teachers and administrators are encouraged to consider how to increase physical activity and recess time across elementary school. Let’s get kids moving!

Update: Video link about the increased recess program (Jan. 18, 2016)

Gold star for South Carolina schools!

This article, published last month, looks at some of the ways South Carolina schools are bringing movement and activity to students during the school day.  The instigator of the new programming says, “This is unbelievably hard to sell,” and yet there has been initial success in increasing opportunities.  We need to continue to educate teachers and educational policy makers on the benefits of activity, both for health and for academic performance.  And we must celebrate those who are promoting activity in classroom, like David Spurlock, the coordinator of health, wellness and physical education for the Charleston County School District.

Read the full article here and view our “In the News” page for more relevant stories.

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!