Huddle

BRAIN BREAKS

Morgan Gentile gets kindergarten class active for self-regulation.

“I’ve read the research and then actually saw it work in my classroom... I don’t think kids are meant to sit still for half an hour on the carpet.”

~ Morgan Gentile, Planning Teacher, Tiger Jeet Singh Public School



It’s afternoon. What’s the energy like today? Morgan Gentile says that kindergarten class is unpredictable. It keeps you on your toes and you need to think outside the box to keep them active, engaged and learning.

Morgan is introducing "Brain Breaks" to as many students as possible. It's been a way to get them moving so they can relax and come back to learning. When they see the Functional Fitness Charts their faces light up and it’s hard to say if they’re high energy that day or just excited to move.

Morgan is greeted by huge smiles and students shouting “Excercise!” She runs fitness circuits with the Functional Fitness Charts or sets up stations at the back of the class as a form of self-regulation. The greatest part for her is seeing how happy it makes kids to be active.

“I started doing this in the winter time. It was twenty below and we needed a way to exercise and let the energy out,” said Morgan. “It’s an awesome way for them to get their sillies out so they can have a fair chance to focus with their learning.”

“There was one time we were doing something on the carpet and you could tell this one student was not interested at all and he just got up, went over to the chart and started doing jumping jacks.”

~ Morgan Gentile, Planning Teacher, Tiger Jeet Singh Public School

Circuits & Stations

Morgan uses activity in two ways for self-regulation: circuits and stations. When students could use a “brain break” she creates a circuit by hanging Functional Fitness Charts around the classroom and has groups rotate to different stations. When students are engaged in quiet activities, she creates self-regulation stations that they visit on their own.

Self-Regulation

According to many self-regulation experts, behavioral challenges may mean a student is unwell or disengaged . “There’s likely an underlying issue and they just need an outlet,” Morgan said. “It’s not always black and white, there’s a grey area and you need to think outside the box.”

Wellness

The Functional Fitness Charts are a great opener for class discussions about exercise and wellness. As science now shows, being active is especially helpful for students who are dealing with anxiety or depression.

“The charts are visually easy to follow and you don’t need a lot of space.”

~ Morgan Gentile, Planning Teacher, Tiger Jeet Singh Public School

Physical Activity
Anytime, Anywhere!

Space issues and numbers are an obstacle to providing enough Daily Physical Activity (DPA) in many schools.

“The charts are visual and easy to move from room to room,” said Morgan. “I can get kids active without a gym or any equipment.”

Cross-Curricular
Integration with Art!

As a cross-curricular activity with art, students made pictures of themselves doing the functional fitness movements and posted them all over class.

“They see pictures of themselves doing the correct movements and it encourages them,” said Morgan.

"It's amazing being greeted by huge smiles
and all these kids shouting 'Exercise!'"

~ Morgan Gentile, Planning Teacher, Tiger Jeet Singh Public School