Fit Learning: Bringing Physical Activity to the Classroom

by Together Counts Partner | April 2, 2013 at 3:16 pm | comments

Teachers are often faced with difficulties keeping students engaged in the classroom throughout the day. Whether it is battling for kids’ attention or motivating them to continue learning, I noticed something could be done in my own classroom to keep my students from becoming restless.

After being inspired by a fellow teacher who engaged her students through movement and whole brain activities, including using yoga balls as students’ chairs, I decided to do my own research into adding fitness into the classroom. I learned that by using Yoga balls as chairs, students release subtle movements which allow them to better focus on completing tasks. All the while, students are improving their posture and exercising their core.

I began using yoga balls in my classroom two years ago and have seen a tremendous change in my students’ engagement and motivation. Even my colleagues followed suit and purchased them for their classrooms. Last year, our grade level also began incorporating pedal bikes during reading centers, a decision well received by students thrilled about the opportunity “to read and ride.”

(See Physical Activity in Schools: How Does Your Child’s School Compare?)

Many teachers have been inspired by the Together CountsTM program and are working to include physical activity both inside and outside of the classroom. Teachers are making time for brain breaks throughout the day that include simple exercises to get kids moving and allow them to stay engaged all day long. Extracurricular activities are of equal importance. Our faculty promotes our school’s running club and encourages students to participate in the local kids’ mile race.

Strategies to Use at Home

I have discussed with parents their concern over the infamous “homework battle.” They explain to me that it is a constant struggle to get their child to sit down and do their homework to the best of their potential. Just like teachers, I would advise parents to include “brain breaks” during homework time. Have your child take a break every 30 minutes and do a simple exercise such as jumping jacks or push-ups. I also encourage parents to be a part of the homework workout, as kids will likely be more excited to try the exercises if parents are modeling them first. 

What are your family’s favorite activities to do during “brain breaks” at home? Share in the comments below!

Brooke Davis wrote this post on behalf of the Together Counts™ program. Brooke is in her third year of teaching in Richmond, VA. Aside from her passion of teaching, Brooke also enjoys fitness and instilling healthy habits at a young age.