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About Heather Erwin

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.

Teacher’s Perspective: How Elementary Students Actually Respond to Active Classrooms

Teachers often fall along a continuum of integrating movement in their classrooms, ranging from fully comfortable to extremely hesitant, for a variety of reasons. It’s my goal, as a teacher educator, to try to move all pre-service and in-service teachers down the spectrum to the “fully comfortable” side. As part of a university class that [...]

Use Creative Brain Breaks for Easy Transitions

Miss Docheff gives her students the 2-minute countdown to let them know they will move to the next activity soon. She rings her bell three times, so they know to stop, look, and listen. Then, she points to the next activity written on the schedule board so they can orient themselves to the activities coming [...]

By |2022-03-30T15:16:48+00:00March 30th, 2022|Categories: Classroom Activities|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Incorporating Students with Special Needs into Movement Breaks

All students are special in their own ways. Some have more difficulty listening and following directions while others may struggle to move their bodies the way they want to. When you give your class the chance to move, it’s important to make activity as accessible to all students to the best extent possible. Often, it [...]

Fighting the Winter Blues with Classroom Physical Activity

Are “winter blues” really a thing? According to the NIH, it is a general term and not a medical diagnosis, however, winter blues may be connected to something specific such as the stress of the holidays or missing loved one. It has similar symptoms as those with season affective disorder, which is related to the shortening of daylight hours.   [...]

Teaching Students How to Self-Start Movement Breaks

In a previous blog, I suggested that teachers give students the autonomy to decide when they need a break and to allow them to take one, as long as they are engaging within parameters set. When you believe you have established appropriate levels of behavior management with your students, use these 4 pointers for giving [...]

Activity Breaks that Encourage Social-Emotional Learning

Hopefully you’re in the groove of the school year and have experienced success implementing physical activity breaks for your students. If not, now’s a great time to begin! It’s also a good time to focus on the mental health of our students. One way to address this is through different movement or activity breaks that incorporate aspects [...]

How to Create More Space for Movement in the Classroom

When planning for the school year, classroom set up is key for student movement. The way we arrange our space can either create room or decrease it, so below are three suggestions to make your class user-friendly for activity breaks.  Arrange Desks to Create an Activity Area  Consider arranging the desks/tables in your space to maximize the amount [...]

By |2021-09-15T17:47:37+00:00September 15th, 2021|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Establishing Positive Classroom Physical Activity Habits for Students

For most of us, the school year will be in full swing within the next month. Let’s start off strong by pushing our students to move if they can and when they can, as long as it doesn’t interfere with their learning or our teaching. Remember that physical activity (even little spurts) helps students with [...]

By |2021-08-06T20:26:15+00:00August 9th, 2021|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

The Impact of Physically Distanced Spaces on Student Activity

As schools reconvened or are reconvening students back in a face-to-face environment, many schools have placed students in “bubbles” during class. These may consist of 10’x10’ spaces that are marked off by floor tape, in which students are supposed to remain in their spots throughout the class period, if possible. It is probable that this [...]

ABCs of Classroom Physical Activity

Don’t let the social and physical distancing protocols stop you from allowing your students to engage in classroom physical activity! If there’s anything we’ve learned from the pandemic, it’s that youth and adults alike need to move and get fresh air. I’m sharing some simple ABCs for integrating physical activity in your classroom with appropriate [...]

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