Boston Elementary’s mascot is a bear and because of that the school has created a cute acronym:
B - Brains getting
E - Energy
A - Actively
R - Recharged!
Power Up for 30 is making physical activity fun and educational for students at Boston Elementary School. Since Fall 2014, the school has been utilizing exercise to boost academic achievement, improve student behavior and promote healthy lifestyle choices among students and faculty members.
“We kicked off our plan by reserving an entire staff meeting, teachers were even allowed to wear their jeans and sneakers, to focus on our new initiative,” said Mrs. Joey Moss, principal at Boston Elementary. “We shared with the staff the importance of movement and the connections to the classroom. Then, we engaged in several movement activities. Many of the activities are included in Symbaloo accounts that are shared which are great ways to organize your resources. All of this helped us create buy-in with the staff.”
Boston Elementary has incorporated “brain breaks” and additional opportunities to get-moving throughout the day. The day begins with students who attend bus-duty. Rather than sitting silently or watching cartoons, they are walking laps in the gym. They have loved having this opportunity to start their day with lots of energy. The activity continues when Boston Elementary staff and students watch the school’s Boston Network News (BNN) each morning. Throughout the weekly broadcasts, student anchors invite the students to stand up and follow along with fun dance moves. Even the music teacher got on board, by recording her class doing the “Skeleton Shake” song and dance. The recording was incorporated into the school’s news program during the month of October. Throughout the day, teachers have embedded frequent “brain breaks” into their instructional blocks.
The PE department is getting positive feedback from the kids who are sharing about the new games and activities their teachers how shown them, like the “food chain” shuffle and floor tile math while students are waiting in line in the hallways. “’BEAR Time’ has been an essential addition to our daily lessons. The students are more focused and ready to learn when they are given the opportunity to take a ‘break’ to get reenergized,” said Rena Ehlers, PE Teacher.
Boston Elementary faculty is getting the students moving in a variety of creative ways. It has become more and more common to walk by a class and see a room full of students dancing or doing desk push-ups. Even during administrative observations, the teachers’ cell phone timers have gone off, meaning everyone in the class needs to stop and let their brain have a break. The media center reward this quarter for students who met their reading goal was a dance party. During recess, teachers are having students run/walk before they begin playing. They have also had games like hop scotch, tic-tac-toe, and four-square painted on our sidewalks by the playgrounds. Classes have also started taking the long way around the building as they travel throughout the day.
“We love BEAR Time Breaks in our class. The students get so excited to get up and move with their classmates in such fun ways! Not only do Brain Breaks provide more opportunities for exercise and camaraderie, but they also give students a chance to recharge after working so hard on their classwork. Brain Breaks lead to increased student performance, as they are better able to concentrate after getting up and moving around. Students also tend to buckle down and work hard when anticipating an upcoming Brain Break! They are definitely a great addition to our school day,” said Melissa Phillips, 3rd Grade Teacher.
Students at Boston Elementary are also enjoying the Bear and Brain Breaks.
“It’s great when our teacher plays “Just Dance,” and we start dancing. Then, when it’s over, we get back to work,” said Madison, age nine.
Eric, age eight, said, “I think “BEAR Time” is awesome because it gets your body moving, and they are lots and lots of fun!”
Everyone at Boston Elementary is taking ownership of this initiative, which is going to provide sustainability and make a difference in the school community. A Fitness Committee has been developed and is actively seeking grant opportunities to support their efforts. This year, the school received The Georgia Master Gardeners $500 grant. With this grant, the school has further developed its “Friendship Garden” which includes sensory-based, raised beds and has provided small amounts of fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Boston Elementary has applied for the Fuel up to Play 60 grant requesting bike peddlers for classroom use and a mobile snack cart for its after school program. They are also seeking additional grants to expand their gym to include a classroom, office and storage. The school has been notified that it will be awarded a $5,000 grant for its special education unit to create a kitchen area to enhance life skills.
“Teachers and students are sharing their ideas, activities, and coming up with their own curricular connections to movement and health. More than anything, everyone is taking ownership of this initiative, which is going to provide sustainability and make a difference in our entire school community!,” said Mrs. Joey Moss, principal of Boston Elementary School.