physical education

Keeping the physical in physical education

Originally published Feb. 26, 2018 in the Richmond & Twickenham Times.

By Ciara Cannell, Ursuline High School

‘Intensive exercise improves the academic performance of teenagers, according to new research’ says the BBC, which is only one advantage of sport. The release of serotonin regulates mood and sleep patterns which is beneficial to a child’s life inside and outside of school.

The British Heart Foundation stated nearly a third of children in Britain are overweight or obese, yet 79 percent of parents with an overweight child do not recognise that they are. Attitudes towards sports in schools may need to change, or future generations could suffer the consequences. Read More

Local Lawmakers Push to Boost Recess, P.E. In Elementary Schools

Originally published March 8, 2018 by WAMU 88.5, American University.

By Kathy Goldgeier and Jonathan Wilson

Lawmakers in Virginia and Maryland are looking at ways to expand recess and physical education in elementary schools amid growing concern that kids don’t get enough exercise.

“It’s really staggering how out of a shape a lot of the kids are,” said Matt Slatkin, a P.E. teacher at Newport Mill Middle School in Kensington, describing his sixth-grade students. “I’m talking mile runs above 18 minutes — when they’re giving their best effort.”

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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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minutes

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

Originally published Feb. 8, 2018 in Bethesda Magazine.

BY BETHANY RODGERS

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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fidget

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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