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Physical Education and Health

Test Anxiety: Reducing Stress on Students

By Monica Fuglei May 10, 2017

Parents and educators alike worry that standardized tests place undue burdens on students, triggering stress and anxiety. In a fast-moving culture full of pressure to accumulate good grades and broad experience portfolios, teen stress and anxiety are moving down the chain and affecting middle and elementary students as well. Sometimes this stress manifests as testing… Read More

One Teacher's Drive to Help Schools Connect Kids with Nature

By Erin Flynn Jay January 24, 2017

Leah McDermott, MEd, contends that children are spending less time in the outdoors or in the arts (music, art, band, etc.) because schools are devoting more time to test prep. She wants that to change. “Despite everything we know about the amazing benefits of children spending time outdoors in free, physical play every day, the… Read More

Give the Kids a Break: Why Reducing Recess Time Doesn't Work

By Monica Fuglei December 19, 2016

A fidgety classroom makes for tough teaching. Historically, students ran off their excess energy during recess, but over the past 20 years, increasing academic demands have squeezed schools’ ability to provide significant recess time. It’s tempting to think we have to either cut recess to increase academic time or keep recess and risk students not… Read More

Each workday in the U.S., 69 million children become separated from their families to attend school or receive child care. If disaster strikes, schools, families and anybody else responsible for children’s welfare need proper plans to keep young people safe. One organization devoted to making that happen is Save the Children, which has been protecting… Read More

Ten or 20 years ago, mindfulness seemed like the forte of yogis, hippies and the like. But bit by bit, the practice of mindfulness (and meditation and yoga) has found its way into the mainstream. Today, Fortune 500 companies, hospitals, the U.S. military and educational institutions are integrating mindfulness practice into their company ethos and… Read More

What kids eat at school is getting a lot more scrutiny these days. Schools often (though not always) serve the cheapest, most heavily processed meals. Since the controversy about “pink slime” in the meat served in school lunches a few years ago, many parents have grown increasingly worried about school food quality. That’s the backdrop… Read More

Helping Students Cope with Addiction: Tips for Teachers

By Brian P. Gatens June 25, 2015

If you teach long enough, you’ll eventually be asked to work with a student who is battling drug and alcohol addiction — either personally or through their families. The latest studies from the National Institutes of Health have noted a sharp drop-off in illicit alcohol, tobacco and drug use by America’s teens in the past… Read More

How Teachers Can Fight Fatigue

By Brian P. Gatens May 18, 2015

Teaching, when done properly, is physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting. Fatigue is inevitable when you’re responsible for children who don’t have an “off” switch and always hope to be engaged, and you’re dealing with the relentless demands of crafting engaging lesson plans, grading papers and communicating with families. You’re bound to find yourself dragging from… Read More

Tips for Teachers Working With Medically Fragile Students

By Brian P. Gatens November 20, 2014

When I tell people that one of my earliest post-college jobs was volunteer director at a camp for children with cancer, I usually get what I call the “sad head shake.” This is, of course, the natural reaction of someone who thinks that such a camp is a dark and difficult place. Instead, it was… Read More

Ah, the holidays…. For all the fun and joy the holidays are supposed to bring, the months of November and December have always struck me as perhaps the two most stressful months of the school year. Weather turns cooler, days become shorter and far-flung families, some with their own issues, come together for holiday meals… Read More

Mental Fitness, Inc. is a non-profit company dedicated to improving and sustaining mental, emotional and physical health for students from all backgrounds. According to founder and CEO Robyn Hussa Farrell, the organization has a unique approach to mental health issues that affect students. “There are many [programs] that assist in intervention, but not in primary,… Read More

I try my best to keep this blog focused on the big things in education, such as attention to craft, communicating effectively and living up to the ideals of our profession. And as I do that, I hear a crescendo of beautiful music in the background as I think of our important work with our… Read More

A New Coach's Survival Guide

By Brian P. Gatens September 19, 2013

What kinds of teachers make good coaches? It’s not just the athletically inclined. The very best teachers — especially for those who work with younger children — truly thrive on the experience of interacting with young people. That requires special attitudes and skills that often apply to leading a team, which is why so many… Read More

4 Preschool Fitness Lesson Plan Examples

By Room 241 Team March 6, 2013

Fitness lesson plans during preschool help young kids get off to a strong start in their awareness of physical health. Ideally, some sort of fitness plan should be a part of every early childhood education curriculum. Teachers are able to introduce students to the many benefits of regular exercise, cultivating healthy habits early on. Some… Read More

Before science provided the evidence needed to confirm its importance, health education was recognized as being a vital part of every K-12 curriculum. Educators have always understood, for example, that physically healthy and active students were better able to learn. The key to any effective school health curriculum has to be a high degree of… Read More