It can be a hard adjustment for students going back to the classroom after distanced learning for so long, especially if your classroom is set up for sedentariness. Have you ever wondered what your students thought and felt about their learning environment? Angela Stark, a Health and PE teacher, asked her students how they’re feeling about adjusting to the classroom.
1. How has the transition back to the classroom been?
- Great. We are so thankful we are back in school!
- I just wish things were back to normal.
- It’s so amazing to see people again.
- Hard because I am so exhausted. I am not used to sitting all day.
2. What has been hardest about the environment itself?
- I can’t walk around while working or move (that is how I focus).
- I can’t swing and do schoolwork.
- At school I am sitting all day.
- Classes are so long.
3. What do you miss about learning from home?
- Swing while working.
- Being able to ask my parents for help.
- Lighter load of classes and being able to move whenever I want. No one was telling me to sit down.
- Being able to walk or spin while reading and working.
4. Have you noticed a difference in your ability to focus in the classroom? Does anything help?
- YES! It’s so hard to sit for 90 minutes, except for in health class with our active seats.
- I feel like I constantly want to fall asleep because classes are so long.
- I feel bored and often daydream. The only thing that helps is when teachers remember to give us a few minutes for a brain energizer. Sometimes they forget and it’s SO hard.
5. Have you noticed feeling physically different after returning to classrooms? Does your body ache at the end of day?
- I feel exhausted and want to go to sleep as soon as I get home.
- At the end of the day I go home and run around to get my energy out. I feel fidgety all-day during classes.
6. Anything else you want to say about movement at school?
- Any movement while working helps me focus because it energizes my brain. I need to do things like walk or spin. In health class, the ergoErgo chairs are super helpful and I move throughout the entire class and it’s AWESOME!
- I am always excited to go to health because we get the fun chairs to move around without distracting others.
- My favorite class is health because I get the Stability Ball Mobile Chairs at my seat and I can quietly bounce up and down.
1. How do you manage your active classroom with new cleaning protocols and distancing?
- The chairs are super easy to clean with the basic disinfectant or disinfectant wipes.
- The ergoErgo chairs don’t have backs on them so the top of the chairs only needs to be cleaned which makes it super easy.
- 2 chairs fit nicely socially distanced at each of my tables.
2. What advice can you give to other teachers who want to bring active seating into their classroom during this time?
- The kids will thank you not only because they can move but helps them focus and be more actively engaged in the lesson.
- We know more than ever students need to move, ask your school/district if there is any extra funding to make your classroom an active classroom.
- Creating an active classroom was the best decision I have made. Be patient in finding funding. Use grants, PTO/PTA, or complete a health. moves. minds. Fundraiser with Shape America. I started slowly and added 4-6 chairs at a time and am getting ready to add the last 5 chairs to my classroom set of 28.
Thank you to my 6th grade students at SCAPA who contributed to this blog.
For 12 years she taught Special Education, Physical Education, and Health Education at Southern Middle school. At Southern, Angela is most proud of her efforts to ensure a quality physical education program while spearheading efforts to create a healthier school environment. As a result of these efforts, the school was awarded the Healthy Schools Program Bronze Level National award. In 2015, Stark moved to the School of Creative and Performing Arts (SCAPA) where she teaches health and physical education to students in 4th to 8th grade. While at SCAPA, she has built the wellness program through grants, fundraisers, strengthening the wellness policy, and weaving wellness throughout the entire school. In 2018, SCAPA was also awarded the Healthy Schools Program Bronze Level National award. In 2016, she earned the KAHPERD Secondary Physical Education Teacher of the Year and Distinguished Service Award and went on to win Southern District Middle School PE Teacher of the year 2017-2018.