We were not always the smartest kids on the bus. I’m thinking back to 1975 here. Still, I don’t think that changes the fact that we were foolish to think a pile of leaves stretched across the road was enough to prevent the school bus from getting to our stop. We tried, but the leaves we had hastily gathered that autumn morning were not stout enough to stand up to the might of a big yellow bus.
Mornings at the bus stop were just the beginning of our active school days. We played tag, climbed trees, had snowball fights when snow was available, and generally did not stop moving until we had to sit down on the bus. And when we got to school, we played on the playground until our teachers brought us inside. Several days each week, we had gym class. Every day after lunch, we had recess, and I can still see the giant co-ed horde of kids running across the field engaging in a good ol’ game of “Kill the Kid with the Ball.”
Rigorous physical activity eases the way for students to more readily settle down for learning and actually helps young people better focus on educational tasks. One recent study found that fourth- and fifth-grade students who exercised intensely for 10 minutes before a math test did better than those who sat quietly before the same test.
Do you find this to be the case, teachers? And do you think your students get enough physical activity interspersed throughout their school day? Perhaps, to the contrary, physical education has been cut from your school’s budget. Let us know!