5G is the latest version of cellular technology, designed to increase the speed of wireless networks. Just as phones and cellular service companies need updates and means to improve their value, schools need different techniques to encourage teachers to offer (or offer more) movement breaks. If the motivation to allow students to do activity breaks is lacking in your school, it may be time to think about adding a little friendly competition to spark some excitement. With support from administration, here are a few 5G suggestions that may increase movement breaks in your school:
- Gathering Student Reactions – Most research demonstrates that students feel better and more energized after being offered time to move. Interview a few students and share it during daily announcements or on school social media to generate more interest from teachers.
- Good for Health – Informational posters or stats can be posted around the school or through messaging for teachers simply to remind them that allowing students to be active or get up and move a bit is simply good for their health and psyche. The average attention span ranges from 10 to 30 minutes for elementary students and up to 24 to 51 minutes for secondary students; however, some studies show that adults have attention spans as short as 8 seconds (Ward, 2020)!! Thus, breaking up the sedentary time for students will enhance learning facilitators.
- Golden Sneaker Award – For this award, an athletic shoe is painted gold and mounted to a stand or plaque. The teacher who offers the most activity breaks earns the award to sit in his or her class until the next round of awards.
- GOOSE Award – This is the Get Out of School Early Award. The teacher documenting the most activity breaks for students is allowed to leave school a certain number of minutes early or one class period early on a particular Friday. This would require a certified faculty member to cover that person’s class. This could be a monthly competition.
- Gift Cards – Local businesses are always seeking ways to generate more business, and they usually have coupons or gift cards to give away. These could be used as incentives for teachers who offer the most movement breaks for students throughout the week, month or quarter.
Some of these ideas are very easy to implement while others may take a bit more planning and coordination. In the end, it is likely that the effort is worth helping students learn and helping teachers teach. The addition of some extrinsic rewards can’t hurt either.
Ward, C. M. (2020). What are normal attention spans for children? Retrieved October 22, 2022, from https://www.kids-houston.com/2020/08/21/what-are-normal-attention-spans-for-children/
Heather is a Professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Promotion at the University of Kentucky. She is a former physical education teacher, and co-author of Dynamic Physical Education for Secondary School Children, 8ed. Heather was also the recipient of the NASPE Curriculum and Instruction Young Scholar Award and a AAHPERD Research Consortium Fellow.