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Fit To Be Taught, Vol. 32

Vigorous Exercise
Can Lead to
Academic Gains

A group of researchers found that exercise -- when it is vigorous enough -- can help improve students academic performance. While not all kids break a sweat every day, even some activity during the school day can help students focus, one of the authors said. The study, Effect of Physical Education and Activity Levels on Academic Achievement in Children, conducted by researchers from Michigan State University and Tarleton State University, offers some mixed news when it comes to physical activity and student learning.

While students in the study who engaged in physical activity tended to perform better in school, the benefits were seen when students exercised vigorously -- enough to increase their heart rate and breathing. Students who participated in sports attained that level of exercise; participating in physical education classes did not seem to do the trick, the study noted.

Two-hundred-and-fourteen sixth-grade students were randomly assigned to physical education during either the first or second semesters. Moderate and vigorous physical activity in the number of 30-minute time blocks outside of school was assessed on the scale of 1 (no activity), 2 (some activity), or 3 (activity meeting Healthy People2010 guidelines). Healthy People 2010 is a U.S. government initiative that sets health objectives for citizens to meet by the end of the decade.

Then the students academic performance was assessed using grades from four core academic classes and standardized test scores, in this case Terra Nova percentiles. The study indicated that students grades were similar regardless of whether students were enrolled in physical education class during first or second semesters. Physical education classes averaged only 19 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous student activity. Students who either performed some or met Healthy People 2010 guidelines for vigorous activity had significantly higher grades, the authors concluded.

But at the same time, any physical activity during the day can contribute to student engagement, by helping youngsters to feel more alert, according to one of the studys authors, Dr. Dawn Coe, an assistant professor of exercise science and fitness/wellness at Grand Valley State University in Michigan.

Read the full article on Education World


Running to Americas Bays

The running program at Fairhope Elementary School in Fairhope, Alabama, works in conjunction with the schools reading program. Called "Running and Reading Across America ... One Bay at a Time," students run, jog, or walk laps around a -mile track during their physical education classes. Laps are logged for each student, and a total is calculated for each student, class, and the entire school.

In collaboration with the media specialist, school staff members choose specific bays across America to "run" to. The library highlights books about that particular bay or area of the United States. The trip around the U.S. begins at Mobile Bay and students move from bay to bay, all the way around the coastline, until returning to Mobile Bay. A large map of the United States is hung in the lobby, and, as the school logs miles, the miles are graphed on the map.

Students who reach the ten-mile mark receive a foot sticker that is displayed on their photo card in the school lobby, and a bead in the shape of a foot to tie onto a shoelace. For each additional 10 miles, students earn an additional foot sticker. As a class reaches the 50-mile mark collectively, a large foot is displayed in the hallway near their room, and they receive another foot for each additional 50 miles.

Read more about this program at: Running and Reading One Bay at a Time .

Click to learn more about Action for Healthy Kids.

Wellness News
Study: Students Drinking by Sixth Grade A study of more than 4,000 sixth-graders in Chicago schools showing that 17 percent already had tried alcohol suggests that education programs need to start at the elementary level, researchers said.

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