Pictured above: Under the direction of Mike Kuczala (far right), NAMS/NAHS teachers work on a problem solving activity that incorporates movement.
Teachers in the New Albany School District (NASD) will be able to keep their students active and moving in the classroom this fall thanks to Summer Professional Development sponsored by the Carol M. White Physical Education SHAPE Up! Grant. Mike Kuczala, co-author of The Kinesthetic Classroom: Teaching and Learning through Movement, conducted professional development for New Albany Elementary School (NAES) teachers on June 27-28 and for New Albany Middle School and New Albany High School (NAHS) teachers on June 29-30.
This past January, the John D. Bower Foundation sponsored a day-long professional development workshop for the NASD teachers where Kuczala was the presenter. “Our teachers enjoyed the workshop so much and requested Mr. Kuczala for further training,” said SHAPE Up! Grant Director Lecia Stubblefield. This spring, she began working to bring Kuczala back to the district to provide additional professional development for more than forty teachers that expressed interest in attending the training. “This is yet another initiative for our school district to promote the integration of physical activity in the classrooms,” Stubblefield added.
Kuczala presented and explained a framework that uses a six-step process in using movement in the classroom: preparing the brain to learn; using brain breaks; supporting exercise and fitness; creating classroom cohesion; reviewing material; and teaching new material. Teachers were able to participate in many activites including activities that develop class cohesion and develop community such as: Elbow to Elbow Pass; Over Under Relay, Locomotor Relay, and Don’t Look at Me.
Teachers now better understand the link between academic achievement and movement and that movement enhances brain function; refocuses attention; reduces sitting time; and keeps students engaged.
“Activities are designed so that they can easily be adjusted to use with a particular subject area or unit of study,” said Kimberly Langley, a vocational teacher at NAHS. “After this training I understand the importance of teaching in short bursts, then using movement activities to allow students time to focus on the material that has just been taught or reviewed. I will be able to easily incorporate movement activities allowing students to connect with each other and reconnect with the content they have learned. ”
Jonna Shaw, a 3rd grade teacher at NAES said: “Mike Kuczala shared some wonderful energy-filled activities that I can use in my classroom. As elementary teachers, we need ways to keep our students focused, energized, and excited about learning. I loved that the training was hands-on and I will be able to easily implement the activities. The things that I learned at this training will help to improve the energy and focus in my room as well as bring the students closer together through teamwork.”
Pictured below: NAES teachers practice using movement to teach descriptive writing.