Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Incorporating Movement into the Classroom at Samuel J. Green

There's been an increase of stretching, jumping, stepping, and reaching in Samuel J. Green classrooms this spring! Following a teacher training offered in January 2013, teachers at Green have been incorporating movement into their classrooms by using physical activity breaks. 
Physical activity breaks are bursts of physical activity that are integrated into the school day; composed of a series of simple, easy-to-learn movements; and designed to require minimal disruption of routine. 

Students spend up to 9 hours a day at school and are inactive most of the time. To meet the national recommendation that youth be physically active for at least 60 minutes daily, physical activity breaks are needed throughout the school day. 

There are many benefits to physical activity, including:
  • Increased concentration
  • Increased test scores
  • Increased positive attitude
  • Increased attendance
  • Decreased disruptive behavior

Teachers at Green have been using physical activity breaks during class to reenergize and reengage students back to learning and as a substitute for recess when outdoor play is unavailable. Teachers at Green have reported that using physical activity breaks have "lifted their [students] spirits" and "lightened the mood." Teachers have also reported that "students were calmer afterwards" and "more focused."

This initiative will hopefully be rolled out to the other FirstLine schools in the near future! Just last week, a teacher training was offered at Langston Hughes Academy. 

A variety of physical activity breaks are available on DVD and on YouTube. Teachers and students can also create their own physical activity breaks. Instant recess is one example of a physical activity program that can be easily implemented in classrooms. 

Check out this video of 2nd graders at Green Participating in some Instant Recess: 

Kelley McDonough is a School Wellness Program Coordinator with School Health Connection, a program of the Louisiana Public Health Institute (LPHI). School Health Connection partners with FirstLine Schools in supporting comprehensive school wellness programming. Visit School Health Connection on Facebook here:

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