Benefits of Physical Activity Justify Time Away from Academics

In pursuit of her master’s degree, a student at the College of Brockport presented a synthesis entitled “Physical Activity Events for Children: Do the Benefits Justify Time Away from Academics?”

Her conclusion? Yes!

Physical activity positively impacts students’ physical health, cognition, behavior, and academic performance. Time away from academics to engage in movement can actually improve academic outcomes, providing further support for getting kids moving at school.

Read the synthesis here.

Moving through the Ages: Connecting Students and Seniors through Activity

In Norwalk Public Schools, an innovation physical educator tried something new.

By partnering with a local senior living community, physical education class became multi-generational once per week. For the duration of the academic school year, seventh grade students led seniors in age-appropriate movement. Students took ownership of the program, and seniors began scheduling around the school visit to ensure they could attend.

This opportunity to connect was mutually beneficial, and extended benefits of physical, social, and psychological health to both age groups. Read more about the program here.

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…

Educating Students on the Why of Classroom Physical Activity

I had the opportunity this week to conduct a professional development for classroom teachers about classroom physical activity. At the conclusion of the session, one teacher came up to ask a question:

“How can I get kids active in the classroom when the principal may come in at any moment and ask them what they’re doing and why?”

This is a common principal strategy to assess and evaluate – can students communicate the learning objective in the midst of completion? In classroom physical activity, as with any lesson, it is important that students are aware of purpose. While physical activity in the classroom should be fun and most students will enjoy it, the class culture should be one where physical activity is simply another component of the academic curriculum.

Setting the foundation for classroom physical activities is critical for management during and after movement. This foundation should include providing clear expectations for student behavior as well as the support for activity as a mechanism to improve learning preparedness. The age of the student will dictate the depth of this discussion, as younger students are not developmentally ready to learn about the physiology of the association. Instead, the idea that physical activity can help you think and can get the wiggles out may be appropriate. But even upper elementary students can be shown the image of the brain scans from the study conducted by Dr. Hillman and colleagues in 2009 that shows the impact of physical activity versus seated time (the color version better demonstrates differences).

Having the “why” conversation with students prepares them, not only to manage their physical activity behavior, but to articulate the purpose of classroom movement to aid in learning and achievement…garnering principal support for implementation.

Meet the Creator

I like to say that I came by my interest in classroom physical activity genetically. My mother has her master’s in child development and my father has his master’s in physical education!

I taught in the classroom for over ten years, ranging from kindergarten through seventh grade, in Oregon and in Texas. In my teaching, I noted that when I engaged students in activity, my classroom climate was better and my students were more productive and ready to learn. Yet I struggled to locate information that would help me simply and easily offer physical activity opportunities to my students. After considering my options, I decided to pursue a doctorate and was admitted into a program at the University of Texas in Austin. Upon returning to academia, I discovered a plethora of research about school-based physical activity, and a wonderful core group of researchers passionate about the topic, just like me. While exciting, I was dismayed that this information did not seem to be easily accessible to classroom teachers. As such, it became my goal to bridge the communication gap between the research world and the education world. I want to share information with classroom teachers about classroom physical activity, the background and foundation, the benefits, and the implementation strategies.

Enter this website!  I am excited to launch Classroom in Motion™ as a resource for classroom teachers. I hope that it will help you learn more about physical activity in students and strategies for quick and easy implementation of activity in the classroom.