When it comes to introducing activity in the classroom, many educators often wonder where to start. Brooke Sydnor Curran, Founder and CEO of RunningBrooke, makes it her goal to assist teachers and principals as they incorporate more activity into their classrooms and schools. In the latest installment of our interview series with Brooke, she explains how her organization works with schools to create engaging classrooms and the positive results she’s personally witnessed in students and teachers.
Providing Educators with Tools
Over the past 10 years, RunningBrooke has worked with schools and organizations in the Alexandria, VA area to get children more active and healthy—both inside and outside of the classroom. Through their Move2Learn program, Brooke and her team work with teachers and principals to determine the best way to get started when incorporating movement in the classroom. This may mean first implementing brain boosting physical activities during lessons and transition times, and then gradually incorporating active seating and standing desks. The organization is supportive of what teachers feel their students need to succeed, while also offering suggestions. The RunningBrooke team relishes this interaction and feedback it receives during the process. Brooke explains, “It’s interesting because we share some fun ideas with them, and they share good ideas back. It’s a great partnership!”
To help teachers get started, RunningBrooke provides them with a Move2Learn toolkit filled with items that can be used in tight spaces—like a classroom or hallway. It includes items such as fitness cubes, activity spots, perpetual fitness calendars, a fitness clock poster, and a tote bag to store it all. A featured handout also explains how and when to incorporate movement, along with the proven benefits of incorporating activity. The goal of the toolkit is the raise students’ heart rates to get the blood pumping for increased engagement and focus. Representatives from RunningBrooke stay in contact with teachers to ensure they are getting the most out of the toolkit as they can.
Brooke has found that one of the biggest hurdles teachers believe they face is finding the time to fit extra activity into the day. However, she says that they often find that once they begin, kids are more focused and on-task, so it ends up buying time. Plus, when teachers teach students how to perform various brain boosts, students can lead the activities themselves. This in turn gives teachers even more time to prepare for the next lesson or have one-on-one time with a student! It’s also important to set clear expectations of student behavior during and after an activity to eliminate any potential difficulty in refocusing during class. Calming yoga moves and breathing activities are incorporated with toolkit materials. Brooke says students have told her that they understand how being more active during class gets their heads of out of the clouds and improves their focus.
Brooke is looking to expand the Move2Learn program beyond Alexandria to expand its footprint and impact. The organization is working to introduce the program to more teachers through engaging classroom challenges. She’s found that by offering Move2Learn toolkits and sound instruction, teachers and principals are asking for more information about incorporating activity in classrooms and throughout the school day.
More to Come
Look for more from our interview with Brooke in the coming months. Check back here for additional blogs about Brooke and how her organization RunningBrooke is working to change the culture of the classroom. To learn more about how RunningBrooke began, check out our previous blog. To learn more about the organization, visit RunningBrooke.org.
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