PHYSICAL ACTIVITY: A SUPER STIMULANT FOR LEARNING

Students who don’t sit still during the school day are actually excelling in the classroom.  Really?  Yes……and there’s evidence to support that claim.

Schools in New Jersey and Washington, D.C. are generating great academic results by keeping their students physically active.  Giving children access to daily P.E. and recess while at school are the reasons why the students are excelling in their academic studies.  The schools in both New Jersey and Washington, D.C. are following a proven pathway to performance:  physical activity breaks during the school day produce academic achievement.  By giving the students a daily dose of physical activity, their academic results are more than just good, they are eye-opening, according to their teachers.

At the Alexander Hamilton Academy in Paterson, New Jersey, 7th and 8th grade students are not told to just sit in their chairs during class.  Instead, they are encouraged to move their bodies while being taught by their teachers.  It’s called kinesthetic learning and it works. 

“We learned that a moving body means a working mind,” says Kaitlyn Brock, a teacher at Alexander Hamilton Academy.

Brock has attached Bouncy Bands at each desk in her classroom so her students can move their bodies while seated at their desks.  Giving students an outlet to release built-up energy allows them to focus on their studies, according to Brock.

“I have seen a change in my students after the introduction of Bouncy Bands,” notes Brock.  “Even during quiet individual work, the students are still moving and allowed to work their frustrations or energy out on the band.”

Prior to the introduction of the Bouncy Bands, students were always looking for reasons to get up from their seats.

Brock’s concept of keeping her students active while in the classroom has caught the attention of her principal who has now secured enough financial support to buy Bouncy Ball chairs for the schools’ classrooms. 

“That was the first real push to provide movement in the classroom,” adds Brock.  “It is also great to see that it is being used through a variety of all grade levels from elementary to middle school.”

“If you are sitting still for too long, your brain doesn’t work,” stated Barry Bachenheimer, Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment for the Pascack Valley Regional High School District in Paterson, in the story by NorthJersey.com.

In the Washington, D.C. area schools, students who receive more P.E. are producing better math scores.  The key amount of P.E. is at least 90 minutes a week, though the goal is 150 minutes a week for elementary school students and 225 minutes a week for middle-school age students in D.C.  That’s a conclusion reached by researchers at American University who have been examining the effectiveness of D.C.’s Healthy Schools Act, legislation which is designed to improve the health and wellness of students attending D.C. public and public charter schools.  News of this academic achievement was reported recently in the Washington Post

Full article with more on exercise boosting academics at Phit America.