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  • Using Brain Breaks to Maximize Student Performance

    Miss Amy ® (Amy Otey) Author – Fitness Pro – Grammy ® Nominee THE SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA EARLY CHILDHOOD CONFERENCE

    University of Virginia's College at Wise, Center for Teaching Excellence April 9, 2016

  • About Miss Amy  Miss Amy® (Amy Otey) is an Official Advocate for the President’s Challenge Program (a program of

    the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition). She encourages families to work toward earning the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award while inspiring young children to “stay fit” through her interactive Fitness Rock & RollTM program. These interactive musical shows are warmly received at schools, libraries, concerts and special events like the White House Egg Roll in 2010.

     More than 20 years of professional experience in the fitness industry with accreditations in Kids & Teen Fitness, Youth/Adolescent Fitness, Yoga I, II & III, Strength Training, Pilates, Tai-Chi, Primary Aerobics, Group Exercise, Pre/Post Natal Fitness and Fitplay-Building Healthy Lifestyles for Kids.

     President’s Challenge All-American in September 2010.  Multi-Award Winning Performer & Grammy Nominated Recording Artist  Author and leading expert on Classroom Activity Breaks/Brain Breaks

     Keep Kids Fit! Classroom Activity Breaks BOOK details structured music/fitness motivation techniques

    to focus students for short bouts of physical activity in the classroom setting with the goal of enhancing scholastic performance. Includes 114 cross-connection lesson plans: Science, math, literature, social studies, art and nutrition.

  • Session Overview  Teacher Power!  The Science, the student, and the success

     Leading Brain Breaks  Resources for teachers  Q&A


    The brain is a Biological Machine and teachers are Neurodevelopmental Constructionists empowered with presenting information to students in a way that “sticks” to their unique brains.





  • Teachers: ‘Neurodevelopmental

    Constructionists’ who present information to

    students, then measure the students’

    understanding of that information

    through testing.

  • Test scores are linked with funding from outside


  • Brain Breaks are directed physical activities. They help kids focus…… “refocus our neural circuitry with either stimulating or quieting practices that generate increased activity in the prefrontal cortex, where problem solving and emotional regulation occur.” Dr. Lori Desautels from her recent article(1/14/16) on Classroom Management: Energy and Calm: Brain Breaks and Focused-Attention Practices on attention-practices-lori-desautels

  • 2 Types of Brain Breaks: Short – under 2

    minutes Can be done

    seated at desk

    Longer or Classroom Activity Breaks – typically 3-5 minutes Not seated at desk Chicken Dance!

  • When? 1. Open the Day 2. Transitions 3. Before Quiz/Test 4. Need to re-focus

  • Brain Break!!!!

    Rise & Shine

  • The Science…Trending Now!

     In the past few years several major reports have come out that are linking the benefits of increased physical activity increased brain function and academic performance.

  • Out of Balance Since the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act (2001), nearly half of school administrators (44%) reported cutting significant time from physical education and recess to increase time spent in reading and mathematics. - See more at: es.html#sthash.bbgU9b7m.dpuf

    But, children who are more active show greater attention and perform better on standardized tests. - See more at: hash.bbgU9b7m.dpuf

  • Something Magic Happens!

  • Three Biggies 1. The Wellness Impact: Enhancing Academic

    Success Through Healthy School Environments

    2. Kansas Study – Published in Education Week January 31, 2014

    3. Letting Kids stand more in the classroom could help them learn – Prevent March 24, 2016 24-16-d

  • The Wellness Impact: Enhancing Academic Success Through Healthy School Environments

     A comprehensive overview of policy, neuroscience,

    current school wellness, and recommended action steps toward positive change.

    Released March 2013 by the GENYOUth Foundation, National Dairy Council (NDC), the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the American

    School Health Association (ASHA).


  • The Wellness Impact: Enhancing Academic Success through Healthy School Environments Copyright © 2013

  • Kansas Study Kansas Study – Published in Education Week January 31, 2014


     Empirical Proof that increased physical fitness causes

    better performance on math and reading exams.

     The study followed the fitness of 13,000 elementary & middle school students from 152 schools in the 2011-12 school year.


  • Kansas Study - Findings  Students who met one or none of the fitness standards

    scored 50.4 percent and 41.8 percent above the proficiency standards for math and reading.

     For students who met the mark for all five fitness tests, scores jumped to 70.3 percent above for math 73.5 percent above the standard for reading.

     5 Fitness Tests by FITNESSgram 1) PACER 2) Curl-up, 3) Trunk-lift, 4) 90 degree push-up, 5) Sit and reach

  • Letting Kids stand more in the classroom could help them learn

    Letting Kids stand more in the classroom could help them learn - Published in Prevent March 23, 2016 Track-March-24-16-d A team at Texas A&M Ergonomics Center investigated whether standing desks had neurocognitive benefits for students. It turns out that letting kids move in the classroom helps boost attention and focus.


  • Letting Kids stand… - Findings In a study of nearly 300 children in second through fourth grade over the course of a school year, Benden and his team found that kids in classrooms with standing desks exhibited 12 percent greater “on task” engagement when compared to kids in classrooms with the traditional seated desks. Then in 34 high school freshmen – using portable brain imaging device ( functional near infrared spectroscopy) the study team tracked changes in frontal brain function. Test results indicated that continued use of standing desks was associated with significant performance improvements in executive function and working memory capabilities. Changes in corresponding brain activation patterns were also observed. The use of standing desks improved neurocognitive function by seven percent to 14 percent, which is consistent with results from previous studies on school-based exercise programs. MORE research is planned by this group so stay tuned!

  • The Bottom Line

    Increased physical activity improves academic


    Other influential factors include nutrition and sleep.

  • Why are these studies important?

     As the news ‘swims upstream’ it shows administrators and other stakeholders at local levels that improvements in Physical Activity IN school can positively affect test scores and possibly federal funding!

  • What Are You Doing in YOUR Classroom?

  • Brain Break Conscious Breathing

    Helps focus, promotes mindfulness– takes us from Sympathetic Nervous System (fight or flight) to Parasympathetic Nervous System (receptive and

    3 Dog Breath 4x4 Breath Bunny Breath

  • What’s in it for the Teacher?

    Stress Reliever Brings brains back into active mode Offers class a physical transition Demonstrates best practices to students Gives teacher better focused students

  • Educating the Student Body: Taking Physical Activity and Physical Education to School

    released May 2013 National Academy of Sciences, The Institute of Medicine Advocates PE should be designated a Core Subject by DOE In School: 1. Active Transportation 2. Classroom Activity Time (Brain Breaks) 3. Physical Education 4. Recess 5. Intra - & Extramural Sports 6. After-School Programs

  • Get 60 Minutes: Ways for students to get the recommended amount of physical activity during the school day - Copyright © 2014 National Academy of Sciences, The Institute of

    Medicine (IOM)

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