For This Champion for Student Health, P.E. Extends Beyond the Gym

Originally published Feb. 21, 2018 by Education Week.

By Evie Blad

There’s an outdated stereotype of physical education classes that Judy LoBianco has spent her 25-year career fighting against.

It’s one where the most athletic students flaunt their skills while their less capable peers struggle to keep up.

It’s one where learning stops after students leave the gym and where P.E. teachers don’t have a seat at the table with their colleagues who teach core subjects, like math and English. Read More

How a growing number of states are hoping to improve kids’ brains: exercise

Originally published Feb. 21, 2018 in The Hechinger Report.

By Lilian Mongeau

APPLETON, Wisc. — Middle school students at Kaleidoscope Academy, a district charter school in Appleton, Wisconsin, are constantly moving. Everyone has a physical education class, called “phy-ed” here, at least twice a week. On top of that, there’s a daily lunch break that comes with time for kids to get outside and move around. Students can also choose from two additional exercise-focused electives — dance and personal fitness — which for some students can mean a 40-minute exercise period every day.

And the action doesn’t stop there. Teachers like Lisa Sackman in the sixth-grade wing offer “brain breaks” every 20 minutes. Teacher Travis Olsen has an exercise bike in the back of his seventh-grade science classroom that kids are welcome to use whenever they feel the need. And eighth-grade co-teachers Abby Jolma and Toni Giebel let kids sit on wobbly chairs — short stools with a curved base — yoga balls, or traditional chairs while they learn math and science.

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MCPS Teachers Champion Bill To Boost Elementary School P.E. Curriculum

Originally published Feb. 8, 2018 in Bethesda Magazine.


Matt Slatkin and Shannon Spencer, two physical education teachers at Newport Mill Middle School in Kensington, are heading to Annapolis to lobby for more student exercise.

Not for the middle-schoolers they teach, but for the students who haven’t yet arrived.

“We get them after elementary school. We would love to get them in better shape,” Spencer said.

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Blount County P.E. teacher turns fidget spinners into exercise equipment

Originally published Feb. 18, 2018 in The Daily Times.

By Amy Beth Miller

Leesa Taylor may be the only teacher who encourages students to use fidget spinners in her class.

While educators across the nation have banned the small spinning toys in classrooms and entire schools, Taylor bought several herself so students could use them in her physical education classes at Prospect and Rockford Elementary Schools.

In a classroom, the three-armed top with a weighted central disk can be a distraction or even dangerous, if students lose control while attempting a trick.

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PE is a more important school subject than history, British study finds

Originally published Feb. 15, 2018 in The Telegraph.

By Helena Horton

The British public thinks it is more important secondary school children have PE lessons than study history, according to a study by YouGov.

The survey asked British adults which subjects they felt were the most important to study in schools, and physical education ranked more highly than many other subjects, including history and religious education.

Out of 1,648 respondents, 42 percent ranked PE as very important, compared to 39 percent who think history is very important and 12 percent for religious studies.

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