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Kristi Gottwalt

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Recess is more than just fun!

Posted by Kristi Gottwalt on Dec 19, 2016 9:28:00 AM

As a former four square all star (at least in my own mind!), I'm always disheartened when I read about schools cutting corners on recess. As an adult, I understand the need for brain breaks for kids. As a kid, it was just about having fun. The amount of research on the importance of recess is staggering, including this recent article in the Washington Post on the LiiNK Project that studied the effect of four activity breaks on students in schools in Texas and Oklahoma. From the article:

Recess serves as a necessary break from the rigors of concentrated, academic challenges in the classroom. But equally important is the fact that safe and well-supervised recess offers cognitive, social, emotional, and physical benefits that may not be fully appreciated when a decision is made to diminish it. Recess is unique from, and a complement to, physical education — not a substitute for it. The American Academy of Pediatrics believes that recess is a crucial and necessary component of a child’s development and, as such, it should not be withheld for punitive or academic reasons.

Making sure kids have access to fun is an important part of any child's school day. That's why we've created Walkabouts to get kids up and moving while having fun and learning. Kids and their teachers love Walkabouts. Learn more about how you can bring Walkabouts into your classrooms

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Topics: recess

Fun, comfort with exercise helps young people with conditions such as autism and ADHD remain active

Posted by Kristi Gottwalt on Dec 19, 2016 8:10:00 AM

Students with neurodevelopmental disorders (such as autism and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder) can get excited about exercise when working out. Unsurprisingly, the best way to get kids excited about working out is to make sure they have fun! From a Science Daily article on a small, international study:

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Topics: adhd, autisim

The importance of leveraging ed tech in gym class

Posted by Kristi Gottwalt on Dec 12, 2016 8:08:00 AM

Technology in gym class? For those of us who remember the "good old days" of four square and flag football, the concept seems foreign. But Victor Kass, a health and physical education teacher in Brampton, Ontario, understands the importance of technology in the phyiscial education. In a recent post at EdTech Magazine, Kass highlights his initial thoughts on the matter:

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Topics: Physical Education

Be healthy & fit Friday: Farm-to-school meals

Posted by Kristi Gottwalt on Dec 9, 2016 10:02:00 AM

In most districts, school lunches are prepared efficiently. Rarely are they made from scratch with farm-fresh ingredients. However, Oakland Unified School District has become a national model for farm-fresh cafeteria food. Up to 80% of the produce served in the school cafeteria comes from nearby farms; and there is a drive to make sure pasta and meat are wholesome as well. 

The Oakland school board is planning to adopt the Good Food Purchasing Policy, a pledge to buy fresh, healthy, and sustainable food. From an article in the San Francisco Chronicle

“It’s something we can measure ourselves by,” said Jennifer LeBarre, director of student nutrition services for the district, which has focused on getting food sourced from within 250 miles since starting a farm-to-school program in 2008. “With that, we’ve been able to achieve double-digit decreases on our carbon footprint.”

Part of the impetus for Oakland’s farm-to-school program is funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture under the Obama administration, so it’s unclear what will happen to such grants in the next, Republican-led administration. Advocates of progressive school food policies are concerned there will be a rollback of programs serving low-income communities.

Healthy food is great, but what do the kids think? 

Getting a 5-year-old to try a bowl of very green tabbouleh salad isn’t always easy. But kindergartner Jera Flenaugh was game to taste the chopped parsley, tomato and bulgur dish during lunch at Glenview Elementary in Oakland last week.

“It tastes like not-hot salsa,” said Jera, her smile missing a front tooth as she put a sticker under the “Loved it” column on a poster set up in the cafeteria to tally student votes. “It was awesome.”

Healthy students learn better. From nutrition to exercise, making sure kids are fit to learn is important. Learn more about how ActivEd can help. 

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Topics: healthy & fit Friday

Assigning a Walkabout

Posted by Kristi Gottwalt on Dec 7, 2016 10:42:47 AM

Do your students need extra help with specific standards-based skills? Assign a Walkabout! It's easy to do, and it can help:

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Topics: Walkabouts

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Make learning fun and improve outcomes

Walkabouts are online adventures that transform math, language arts, and reading fundamentals into standards-based, movement-rich lessons for Pre-K through second grade students. At ActivEd, we know that kids learn more, are more engaged, and are healthier when they are active both in and out of the classroom. 


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