Activity Breaks in the Classroom Presenters: Scott Williams M.S. Andrew Wymer Meriwether Lewis Elementary School, Charlottesville,VA
What are Activity Breaks?• Activity breaks are short videos of students doing exercises at their desks.• Activity breaks do not need any equipment.• These breaks are great for refocusing and reenergizing students throughout the day.
How is it relevant?• Much research has been done that proves a link between physical education and academic success.• Curt Hinson Ph.D and editor for the newsletter PEnPal (the Physical Education Newsletter for Promoting Active Liestyles) provides us with ﬁve reasons why physical activity is critical to learning: (con’t)
• 1. Physical activity increases blood flow to the brain. The brain relies on blood to nourish it with oxygen. The more blood, and thus oxygen, that is available to the barin, the better able the brain is to think, reason, problem solve and create…aerobic activity, such as running, increases and enhances the body’s ability to transport blood, thus carrying much needed oxygen to the brain. The more aerobically fit a person is, the better he or she is at supplying oxygen to the brain.• 2. Physical activity helps to develop neural connections. The brain relies on neural connections to send and receive information. This transmission of information is the brain’s ability to think, learn, create, and problem-solve. The more neural connections that are made, the more efficient the brain becomes at processing information.• 3. Physical Activity helps increase the size and number of blood capillaries in the brain, thus creating more potential for blood to travel to critical areas faster and more efficiently.• 4. Physical Activity helps to reduce stress. Too much stress affects learning and too little stress affects learning. To counter stress it’s important for students to engage in daily exercise and physical activity to help the brain regulate itself and deal with stress.• 5. Physical Activity can stimulate the release of the body’s natural motivators. The brain is filled with neurotransmitters. The job of these chemicals is to regulate brain function based on the brain’s needs.
What outcomes should PE teachers want from these breaks?• Kids moving in class• Fun, short bursts of energy• TEACHER FRIENDLY! No extra work for classroom teacher.* *-Kids know dances/exercises learned in PE. -Fits in with Responsive Classroom methods -Easy to access ﬁles (video and mp3). -Not disruptive; easy to refocus students.• Choices for kids to pick from, i.e. exercise videos and dance videos
Selling this to the teachers• Present an Activity Break at a faculty meeting as a demonstration.• Show to parents and administrators. Get them on board.• Insert a cool down period to allow kids to refocus and transition back quickly to what they were doing.• Install videos for teachers and show ease of access.
• Let the teacher choose the music.• Provide incentives for the teachers/students. Ex: Have a competition in each grade level to see which class uses the most breaks in a week. Winning class gets an extra PE class/extra planning period for teacher.
Resource• For exercises, cool down movements, appropriate but fun upbeat music selections, and examples, check out our website at: mlspe.blogspot.com