Tagged “Physical Activity And Physical Education”

ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Eight Tips to Engage Your Students

Post submitted by Whole Child Blogger Tymeesa Rutledge

"We cannot use the excuse 'I've always done it this way,'" said speaker Laura Erlauer Myrah.

In the ASCD Annual Conference session "Instructional Tips to Tell Teachers," Laura Erlauer Myrah provided eight tips for educators and teachers to engage their students and allow them to remember concepts taught in class. The eight tips cover categories such as the body and brain, movement, emotional environment, collaboration, relevant learning, enriched environment, and Net Generation learners.

In the first category, "body and brain," Erlauer Myrah referred to research that supported children needing oxygen and water so that their brains would not become dehydrated. She suggested that teachers open windows in the classroom, have plants in class, allow students to carry water bottles, and educate parents about the need for students to get adequate sleep.

But students need more than proper sleep, hydration, and oxygen to remain engaged in the material. Erlauer Myrah offered a tip on how to make a lesson that students can be engaged in. She provided research from Sheryl Feinstein, "Handling Specific Problems in Classroom Management" in The Praeger Handbook of Learning and the Brain (2006), as the basis for her tip on how to change the lesson plan to accommodate how the brain works: You should capture your students' attention in the beginning of a lesson. For example, when you begin class, instead of using the first 10 minutes to take attendance or review daily tasks, use that time to teach the most important concepts. This is the time that students are most engaged, according to Erlauer Myrah. For the next few minutes, allow the students to "pair and share" what they have learned with one another. Then, use the next seven minutes of prime time to teach some more concepts.

The four main takeaway points that teachers should want for their students are: know the concept, want to know more about the concept, know what was learned, and know how students can use and apply the concept.

A 1st grade teacher from Southern California enjoyed the session and felt that she could use the tips for her students.

"What I really enjoyed about the session were the practical tips given," said Lisa Taylor.

Another member of the audience was also inspired by Erlauer Myrah's tips.

"I loved the session. It was inspirational, motivating, practical, and respectful of the hardships and challenges within the education world," said Marcia Richards after she had finished dancing a two-step to Kool and the Gang's "Celebration." She also has hope that teachers will "continue to make a difference in children's lives."

This session suggested that in the 21st century, teachers should embrace the changes that are happening in the world and allow them to be available to the students. The old ways of teaching are of value, but if the students aren't engaged and learning anything beyond the classroom, they will not be prepared to thrive in this new world.

Tips that can be used in the classroom:

1. Body and Brain

  • Open windows.
  • Have plants in classrooms.
  • Allow your students to have water bottles.
  • Educate parents and students regarding the need for adequate sleep.

2. Movement

  • Ask your students to stand instead of raising their hands.
  • Questions around the room
  • Clapping rhythms
  • New location for important material

3. Emotional Environment

  • Make every student feel unique and secure.
  • Meet and greet.
  • Give recognition.
  • Listen and show interest.
  • Expect respect from all.
  • Relationships transcend everything.
  • Emotions and memory

4. Collaboration

  • Collaborative learning/projects
  • Pair and share (tell students to talk to classmates and practice answers)
  • Connections with other levels
  • Connections with community

5. Relevant Learning

  • Make the relevance obvious to students.
  • Make it interesting and fun through your delivery.
  • Experience learning.

6. Enriched Environment

  • Challenging problem solving
  • Physical classroom
  • Play music during tests or writing.
  • Use of music: a. Primer; b. Carrier; c. Arousal/Mood

7. Assessment and Feedback

  • Know it well.
  • Remember it always.
  • Use it readily.

8. Net Generation Learners

  • Youth don't see working, learning, collaborating, and having fun as separate experiences.
  • They believe in, and want, these experiences occurring simultaneously in school and in future careers.
  • This generation wants to problem solve and innovate.


Healthy School Communities

Health and Learning News and Updates


Can We Really Do Without School Nurses? Education budget cuts are forcing districts to prioritize which non-mandatory programs they can do without. Unfortunately for many public schools, the school nurse may be one of the first victims of the cutbacks. According to Parenting.com, less than half of U.S. public schools have a full-time registered nurse available to students.

Partnerships Help Colorado's School Health Clinics Grow: The number of school-based health clinics is rising in Colorado, partly because of a decision by officials years ago to secure funding through partnerships with private organizations. The state first established school-based clinics in 1978 and has since seen a steady growth in the centers.

'Chefs Move to Schools' Helps Improve School Meals: A part of Michelle Obama's Let's Move initiative, the Chefs Move to Schools program brings volunteer chefs into schools to encourage healthier eating through menu changes, cooking demonstrations, and school gardens.


Little Evidence That Zero-Tolerance Discipline Policies Are Effective: A new Child Trends brief highlights rigorously evaluated, nonpunitive alternatives to zero tolerance that have shown promise in improving school safety and student outcomes. The brief, Multiple Responses, Promising Results: Evidence-Based, Nonpunitive Alternatives to Zero Tolerance, also finds a lack of rigorous research on the effectiveness of zero-tolerance school discipline policies and that the existing research shows no evidence that these policies decrease school violence.

Prepare for Children's Mental Health Awareness Day 2011: National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day is a day to join the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), communities, organizations, agencies, and individuals nationwide in raising awareness that positive mental health is essential to a child's healthy development from birth. This year, the national theme will focus on building resilience in young children dealing with trauma.

Take Action

Save the Date for the Inaugural Healthy School Communities Virtual Conference: Please join us May 10–13, 2011, for the first-ever Healthy School Communities Virtual Conference. Take part in this free online conference to learn more about health and learning. Topics will include:

  • Aligning health and education in the school setting;
  • Improving school lunches and nutrition;
  • Physical activity and physical education across the school day;
  • Social, emotional, and mental health;
  • Staff wellness; and the
  • Healthy School Communities (HSC) model.

Join HSC staff, mentor and mentee sites, ASCD authors, invited speakers, and guests to find out more about what's working across the U.S. and Canada and share health and learning stories. Check back on April 19 for registration information. Space is limited.

Show Your Support for Healthy School Meals: Ensuring that schools offer only healthy foods and beverages is critical for reversing the childhood obesity epidemic and safeguarding the health of U.S. children. The Kids' Safe and Healthful Foods Project, a new initiative launched by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Pew Charitable Trusts, will support efforts to improve the nutritional quality and safety of school foods. Ensuring that provisions of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act are rigorously enforced is a primary focus of the two-year project.

Through April 13, U.S. Department of Agriculture is seeking public comment on its proposed changes. Comments can be conveniently shared through the Kids' Safe and Healthful Foods Project website.

Tools for Providing Active Physical Education: Participate in the next SPARK webinar, and learn why active physical education is so important (and how to assess it), strategies for achieving it, and where to go for resources that support HOPE (Health Optimizing Physical Education). This free 45-minute webinar is scheduled for Wednesday, April 20, 2011, at 3 p.m., PDT/6 p.m., EDT. Register now!

ASCD Is Accepting Proposals for the 2012 Annual Conference: ASCD is encouraging members of the education community to submit proposals for next year's ASCD Annual Conference and Exhibit Show. The event will be held March 24–26 in Philadelphia, Penn. Proposals are due May 12, 2011.

ASCD's Outstanding Young Educator Award: ASCD is seeking nominations for the Outstanding Young Educator Award (OYEA), which recognizes a teacher who is developing and using best practices to ensure all children are healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged in his or her school or district. Maximum award: $10,000. Eligibility: K–12 teachers under age 40; self-nominations accepted. Deadline: Aug 1, 2011.

Healthy School Communities is a worldwide ASCD effort to promote the integration of health and learning and the benefits of school-community collaboration. It is part of a large, multiyear plan to shift public dialogue about education from a narrow, curriculum-centric and accountability system focus to a whole child approach that encompasses all factors required for successful student outcomes. Visit the Healthy School Communities group on ASCD EDge and share everything from ideas and solutions to common concerns.

Healthy School Communities

Health and Learning News and Updates


Pennsylvania School Is on Guard Against Unhealthy Eating Habits: The William D. Kelley School in Philadelphia is taking a comprehensive approach to battling obesity by banning soda and sweet snacks and emphasizing healthy eating in the curriculum. In addition, the principal and parents have asked nearby stores to stop selling junk food to children in the morning so they will eat a healthier breakfast.

Read more »

Healthy School Communities

Health and Learning News and Updates


Food Experts Urge Parents, Schools to Get Tough About Nutrition: Experts in food politics are taking parents and schools to task for not being more aggressive about providing healthy foods for children, saying students do not necessarily need to have a say in what goes on the menu and that the school lunch line should not mimic a fast-food restaurant. "Renegade lunch lady" and author Ann Cooper, speaking at the Natural Products Expo, criticized the organic industry for making candy, corn dogs, and other unhealthy snacks.

Read more »

Healthy School Communities

Health and Learning News and Updates


Educators See Advantages of Structured Recess for Students: Organized recess improves students' participation, behavior, and focus in the classroom, according to a nationwide survey conducted by California nonprofit Playworks. The structured playtime involves organized activities that promote nonviolent themes, such as games of tag that involve tapping fingers rather than slapping. Educators in Philadelphia, where 83 schools have structured recess, say the Playworks program gives students a positive outlet for excess energy.

Schools Vary in Approaches to Healthy Meals: California school districts approach healthy lunches for students in different ways, depending on the cost of the program, income levels, and foods common to the culture, according to this article. Orinda Intermediate School offers organic vegetables, jasmine rice, and Jamba Juice for its students with sophisticated palates, while West Oakland Middle School is working to use less meat, more whole grains, and scratch cooking but has seen some resistance from students.

San Francisco Schools Make It Easier for Students to Grab Breakfast: Schools in San Francisco are using a federal grant to expand "grab-and-go" breakfast programs that allow students to quickly pick up healthy foods, including fruit and cereal, as they head to class. Data found that many California children qualify for free or reduced-price school meals, but few take advantage of breakfast because the meals are served in the cafeteria and the students are often short on time.


Becoming A Man (B.A.M.): Youth Guidance's Becoming a Man program, or B.A.M., which is currently offered at Roberto Clemente High School in Chicago, Ill., is an evidence-based violence prevention and mentoring program that nurtures and develops social, emotional, and behavioral skills in young male students considered to be "at-risk" and vulnerable to gang violence. Watch a video about B.A.M. to learn more about the educational enrichment the program provides.

Health and Nutrition Teacher Resources: View up to five free lesson plans and classroom activities that teach a variety of health and nutrition topics for K–12 students, available in printer-friendly formats at TeacherVision.com. Many lessons are designed to be integrated into core subjects and engage learners.

Take Action

Vote for the Best Healthy School Lunch Recipes: A website lets users vote through May 15, 2011, for the best school lunch recipes from the USDA's Healthy Kids competition. Schools, chefs, and students were challenged to come up with healthy recipes that meet nutrition standards in the categories of whole grains, dry beans and peas, and dark green and orange vegetables.

Let's Move in School's National Physical Education and Sport Week: Register your school to host a Let's Move in School (LMIS) celebration during National Physical Education and Sport Week (May 1–7). Schools that register by March 28, 2011, will have a chance to win a visit from a member of the President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition. The first 10,000 schools to register will receive a LMIS poster.

Healthy School Communities is a worldwide ASCD effort to promote the integration of health and learning and the benefits of school-community collaboration. It is part of a large, multiyear plan to shift public dialogue about education from a narrow, curriculum-centric and accountability system focus to a whole child approach that encompasses all factors required for successful student outcomes. Visit the Healthy School Communities group on ASCD EDge and share everything from ideas and solutions to common concerns.

Klea Scharberg

Providing a World-Class Education for Every Student

Each year, ASCD educators from across the country create a legislative agenda to outline ASCD's policy priorities and guide our advocacy efforts. But the true power of the agenda lies in its use by you—educators, parents and family members, business leaders, and community members who have firsthand knowledge of what needs to be done to address the rapidly changing education needs of our country and its students.

The 2011 agenda calls on Congress to revamp the accountability system to a model that is student-focused, is rewards-based, and encompasses all core academic subjects. The agenda also recommends a new federal goal to close the international achievement gap between the United States and other countries and to provide comprehensive support for educators so that students benefit from a highly effective teacher in every classroom.

The agenda emphasizes the need for

  • A complete rewrite of the federal education law. ESEA must not be just tinkered with, but completely overhauled to support our efforts to provide a world-class education to every student.
  • College- and career-readiness. Congress must embrace college- and career-readiness standards that include proficiency in reading, math, science, social science, the arts, civics, foreign language, health education and physical education, technology, and all other core academic subjects.
  • Equity and access. All children must have an equitable share of resources commensurate with their learning needs, as well as access to personalized learning; a well-rounded education; a highly effective teacher in every subject; and support from qualified, caring adults.
  • Capacity-building assistance and information dissemination. Federal support and coordination can help states and districts build meaningful capacity to improve student achievement and school quality through robust investments in education research, the enhancement of a world-renowned education clearinghouse of innovation, and the dissemination of best practices to sustain highly effective educators.
  • Federal accountability requirements. The current adequate yearly progress system is irretrievably broken. The education accountability mandate needs to be transformed from one that is punitive, federally prescriptive, and overly bureaucratic to a model that rewards achievement, is state-driven and peer reviewed, and promotes supportive learning communities and a culture of continuous improvement.

Please use this agenda and the Making the Case for Educating the Whole Child tool to guide discussions and decision making in your own states and communities. Together, we need to educate our lawmakers on the urgency of rewriting ESEA so that we can stop operating under the constraints of an outdated and flawed law and start meeting our students' varied needs so they're ready for success in our challenging global economy.

Healthy School Communities

Health and Learning News and Updates


Massachusetts Districts Implement Anti-Bullying Efforts: Many Massachusetts school districts are rolling out anti-bullying plans that were due to the state by the end of 2010. The plans vary widely by district, with many aimed at specific age groups and some incorporating elements of outreach to parents. State reviews of the plans are expected to be finished today, and districts with more work to do will be notified.

Read more »

ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Ready and Able in the 21st Century

2011 Vision in Action: The ASCD Whole Child Award winner Quest Early College High School

Many researchers agree that students need a diverse set of competencies to be ready for and thrive throughout adulthood. Yes, students need to demonstrate content knowledge. Yes, students should master basic skills. Yes, students need to graduate from high school. And students must be able to communicate effectively, solve complex problems, produce creative solutions, work well in teams, make and follow through with plans, and so forth. To ensure that students are truly ready for college, careers, and citizenship requires more than preparing them to take and pass standardized tests, meet graduation requirements, and be eligible for postsecondary opportunities.

Many schools have set a strong example by successfully preparing students for the complex and demanding futures that lie ahead while meeting all state and national requirements. One such school is Quest Early College High School, winner of the 2011 Vision in Action: The ASCD Whole Child Award. Located in Humble, Tex., Quest prepares a very diverse student population for the next phases of their lives by creating a learning environment that allows students to practice taking college courses, work at businesses in their community, and experience the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.

Principal Kim M. Klepcyk says,

Students are not told to care about their world; they are caring for it each week at their service-learning sites. Students are not simply learning about how to be a change agent in their society; they are practicing it through social action on a daily basis. Finally, students are not preparing to be a worker in this 21st century global community; they are practicing being a worker now.

In each critical area of developing the whole child, Quest connects learning and leading today with lifelong success and well-being. Quest challenges students by requiring them to exhibit mastery of learning target standards from throughout their four years through a senior exhibition experience that provides, according to students, the single most important preparation experience for college, the workplace, or the military. The school also developed a wellness program that meets state-mandated physical education requirements and addresses all aspects of wellness; instills lifelong health habits; and develops goal-setting, planning, and evaluation skills. Quest staff and community continually build a sustainable structure that centers all learning on preparing for, practicing, and connecting the skills they are learning today with their lives tomorrow.

Throughout March, learn more about Quest Early College High School and how each school can ensure that students are college-, career-, and citizenship-ready. Read the Whole Child Blog and post your comments; e-mail us resources for and examples of preparing students for complex futures; and download the Whole Child Podcast featuring Quest staff and students, along with Jay Mathews of the Washington Post, on Monday, March 28.

Have you signed up to receive the Whole Child Newsletter? Read this month’s newsletter and visit the archive for more strategies, resources, and tools you can use to help ensure that each child is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged.

Healthy School Communities

Health and Learning News and Updates


Prohibition or Modeling of Good Nutrition?: In an online article, author Hank Cardello compares prohibition of selling junk food in schools to the nationwide prohibition of alcohol consumption in the 1920s. He claims that schools are wasting their efforts on an idea that won't work and only opens up the opportunity for black market candy selling. While this comparison seems a bit of a stretch, do you think Cardello has missed the point about the role of schools in modeling, teaching, and providing good nutrition? Or do you agree with Cardello's viewpoint that completely eliminating these foods doesn't teach students anything? Share your thoughts on ASCD EDge.

Read more »

Healthy School Communities

Health and Learning News and Updates


Discipline Team Aims to Address Issues Before They Become Problems: Two teachers at an Indiana elementary school make up the school's discipline team, created as part of the school's turnaround plan. The two begin their day at the school's breakfast program and aim to get to know students and uncover potential issues. "We're getting the pulse of the building," one teacher explained. "We want to be on top of the problems so we can deal with them before they erupt. If it's bad at the beginning of the day, it's just going to go downhill if we don't find a way to get things in order."

Teachers in Ontario Are Asked to focus on Students' Mental Health: Educators in Ontario's Windsor-Essex Catholic District have been asked to take more care in determining if students suffer from mental health disorders. Leonardo Cortese, chief of psychiatry at Windsor Regional Hospital, said that about 20 percent of students suffer from a mental disorder, but have trouble telling teachers they are depressed or experiencing anxiety. "You're a detective and need to dig deeper to get to that," he told school employees during a recent symposium.

Illinois High Schools Work to Combat Teen Suicides: Illinois high schools are aiming to address teen suicides through initiatives that remove social stigma, promote open discussion, and offer mental health therapy, among others. For instance, Barrington High School created a mental health-focused community group and updated its health curriculum, while St. Charles School District 303 initiated a Facebook campaign on mental health awareness and put hotline numbers on student IDs.

Canadian Group Suggests Limiting Screen Time for Children: The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology released new guidelines that suggest limiting recreational television, game, and computer time to two hours each day for students who are 5–17 years old. The guidelines also call for students to spend more time outdoors, get more exercise, and walk or bike to school when possible. Ideally, children and youth should be getting about an hour of physical activity daily, though only about 7 percent meet the target.


Use Technology to Promote Wellness with SchoolTube: SchoolTube.com is a great way for educators and students to access and share information online about initiatives, school projects, presentations, and a wealth of other education resources. Check out the health and wellness channels and think about maybe starting your own channel for your school.

How Can Health and Education Sectors Address the Needs of the Whole Child? This article, published in the latest issue of Preventing Chronic Disease and coauthored by Theresa Lewallen, illustrates the need for public health officials to join educators in improving child health and learning.

New Promotional Video from Let’s Move in School: Let's Move in School is a joint effort calling on physical educators, parents, and policymakers to work together to implement a comprehensive school physical activity program that incorporates quality physical education and activity in schools. Register your school to have a Let's Move in School event during National Physical Education and Sport Week from May 1 to 7.

Take Action

Get Health and Wellness Grants from Rite Aid: The Rite Aid Foundation is providing grants to nonprofits that administer health and wellness in communities where Rite Aid operates. Deadline: April 1, 2011.

Shade Structure Program: The American Academy of Dermatology's (AAD) Shade Structure Program awards grants to purchase permanent structures designed to provide shade and ultraviolet ray protection for outdoor areas. AAD also provides a permanent sign to be displayed near the shade structure that promotes the importance of sun safety.

AAD will award up to 35 grants. Each shade structure grant is valued at a maximum of $8,000. Nonprofit organizations and public schools that are sponsored by an AAD member dermatologist (find one here) and demonstrate an ongoing commitment to having a sun safety/skin cancer awareness program in place for at least one year prior to application are eligible to apply. Deadline: April 22, 2011.

Nature of Learning Grant Program: The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation's Nature of Learning Grant Program is looking to promote an understanding of local conservation issues, utilize field experiences, and encourage student-led projects that connect classroom lessons to real-world issues while building partnership among local school, business, and community members. Maximum award: $5,000. Eligibility: Schools or nonprofit organizations. Deadline: April 1, 2011.

Healthy School Communities is a worldwide ASCD effort to promote the integration of health and learning and the benefits of school-community collaboration. It is part of a large, multiyear plan to shift public dialogue about education from a narrow, curriculum-centric and accountability system focus to a whole child approach that encompasses all factors required for successful student outcomes. Visit the Healthy School Communities group on ASCD EDge and share everything from ideas and solutions to common concerns.

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