Move body, activate mind

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Move body, activate mind

Jood Ali

Jood Ali

Jood Ali

Math teacher Lynette Roller engages students in her fourth period A-Day Advanced Placement Calculus BC class during a break Feb. 9. The students watched a front seat perspective of a roller coaster ride and simulated the experience of navigating the ride's twists and turns. Roller has dubbed these 'brain breaks.'

By Meera Rothman

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Teachers here are executing and experimenting with new techniques that aim to maintain students’ attention for the duration of the class period.

Math teacher Kendra Zeller explained that sitting for too long can have a negative effect on your learning.

“Students might start to daydream or tune out what is going on around them and miss parts of the lesson.”

Several teachers here are taking a stand and are making an effort to keep students active and attentive in class. Government teacher Julie Marx said she uses gallery walks and switches groups around during class.

Math teacher Nicole Barton takes a slightly different approach.

“Quite often, I use my boards to have students display work. I have students come to the Elmo to demonstrate and explain work,” she said.

Research shows that these activities have a positive effect on students’ mental and physical health. A study conducted at Texas A&M Health Science divided a group of elementary school students in half. Half sat at traditional desks while the other half stood at specialized standing desks. Students at the standing desks were more active, burned more calories and were more attentive in class.

Students here report that they too respond positively to these techniques.

It’s not a long term stress reliever, but for the duration of class, everyone does seem to be more mellow.”

— Chloe Natividad, senior

“We have lots of opportunities to go up to the board and write our answer. It’s a great way to get our leg muscles moving and pumping,” sophomore Tirzah Khan said about her tenth grade Pre-Calculus class with Zeller.

Senior Chloe Natividad takes part in dancing exercises and meditation exercises in Marty Stranathan’s Advanced Placement Biology class.

“It’s not a long term stress reliever, but for the duration of class, everyone does seem to be more mellow,” Natividad said.

However, some teachers said having an active classroom can lead to setbacks.

“The struggle with movement is to have it so that you lose the least amount of time possible,” AP Economics teacher Phil Bressler said.

“Some classes are filled with students where there might not be much space to move, so we might be limited on how much teachers can actually incorporate student movement,” Marx said.

Despite these obstacles, Bressler said there is a fundamental need for students to move around during class.

“Students sit all day. It’s just against human nature.”