Sitting is the new smoking.
How can teachers encourage students to avoid a sedentary lifestyle, when classrooms by their nature involve a lot of sitting? Recently when I visited classrooms I saw three clever options, all showcasing the ingenuity of teachers.
In Ali Russoniello’s classroom in Fair Haven, New Jersey, there are four stationary desk pedalers. Ali explained, “I wanted to get these foot bikes for a long time, but wasn’t sure about asking my principal for funds. It turned out she was happy to support me. They only cost $30 each, and the wellness benefits are so clear. Some students love them, some find them a distraction, but almost everyone chooses to use one when it is their turn.”
What I love about these exercisers is that they are so compact. Ali’s small classroom houses a lot of big eighth graders, but these machines can easily fit under a seat.
Gigi McAllister of Gorham, Maine used a classroom donation site to fund the exercise bands on every desk. Her fourth graders can move their feet against the tension bands whenever they like, and quietly get a little workout whenever they are at their desks.
Finally, Tara Smith of Glen Rock, New Jersey spent a bit of her own funds for these “bungee chairs” in her meeting area, but she doesn’t regret the purchase. “It fits what we know about sixth graders needing movement. Taking turns in these seats teaches students all year long about fairness and being in a community, since everyone loves to sit in them.”
It seems like every day there is a new research study showing the importance of getting up and moving every hour. Leave it to teachers to find creative solutions to a seemingly intractable problem in classrooms where continual movement is rarely an option.
This week we look at strong boys and strong girls in classrooms and children’s literature. Plus more as always — enjoy!
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Katherine Sokolowski is dismayed when many of the boys in her fifth-grade class admit they don’t like to write. She explains how she changed her writing program to meet their needs:
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Are there ways for girls in literature to be heroic without fighting? Shari Frost asks herself this question in compiling her latest booklist, No More Strong Girls:
Scott Jones explains how thinking outside the normal time frame for writing instruction helped him reach boy writers in Recess of the Mind:
In this week’s video, Linda Karamatic observes a second-grade boys book club using tokens as a cue for turn taking, and then discusses her observations with the students:
Andrea Smith concludes her series on the power of branded student blogs in her fourth-grade classroom:
In an encore video, Franki Sibberson has her students read a blog post about books written for boys and girls, which begins a fascinating discussion with the class about gender in reading choices:
That’s all for this week!