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Being physically active is one of the most important steps to being healthy. Schools are an ideal setting for teaching youth how to adopt and maintain a healthy, active lifestyle. Schools can help youth learn how to be physically active for a lifetime.
Make the Connection: Health and Academic Achievement
CDC Health and Academics - A leading authority on the connections between health, wellness, nutrition, physical activity and academic success.
School Connectedness: Strategies for Increasing Protective Factors Among Youth - Students who feel connected to their school are also more likely to have better academic achievement according to this CDC resource. Fact sheets for school districts, administrators, teachers, staff and parents/families can be found here. Also staff development resources including a facilitator’s guide, power point, and action plans.
Fact Sheets and Flyers:
- Physical Activity and Academics From Alliance for a Healthier Generation
- Youth Physical Activity: The Role of Communities
- Youth Physical Activity: The Role of Families
- Youth Physical Activity: The Role of Schools
- Tips for Teachers A flyer promoting healthy eating and physical activity in the classroom
Physical Activity Breaks, Brain Breaks, and Energizers
Brain Breaks for the Classroom - Engage students’ brains, improve attention and concentration, and improve behavior by getting kids up and moving! Taking a quick brain break or physical activity break during class is easy and only takes a few minutes
Classroom Energizers - Action for Healthy Kids
Deck of Cards - Physical activity break ideas using a deck of cards
Get Movin’ - This Get Movin’ card set created by the Iowa Department of Public Health provides simple, short activities designed to be done in the classroom to help students achieve 60 minutes of physical activity daily
GoNoodle - Free short videos are ready to use
Kids Yoga Poses - Kids demonstrating yoga poses. Fun names like the Giraffe Pose and the Butterfly Pose
Lining Up and Waiting in Line Strategies - Creative ways to guide students to line up and activity breaks for waiting in line with this teacher created handout by Karen Bagby
Indoor Fitness Breaks - Active inside recess or physical fitness break
In School Activity Breaks - 135 ideas for active learning
Move for Thought - 10 activities that can be integrated with any subject in the elementary classroom
Take a Break! Teacher Toolbox: Physical Activity Breaks in the Secondary Classroom - Colorado Legacy Foundation
Staff Physical Activity Break Card Set - Alliance for a Healthier Generation
Stories in Motion - Short stories that include action words which prompt bursts of physical activity! Utilize these stories in your classroom for short physical activity breaks
Physical Activity Before, During and After School
Walking Works for Schools Tool-kit - Use this resources to organize a walking club or walk-to-school program at your school that will energize the entire community
Indoor Recess 101 - Ideas to incorporate physical activity when recess is held indoors due to the weather
Recess Moves: A Toolkit for Quality Recess - Discover more about the benefits for brains and bodies from an active, quality recess from the Minnesota Department of Education
Healthy Meetings Toolkit Putting on a meeting or workshop? Consider creating a “Healthy Meeting” atmosphere by following the ideas in this toolkit.
School Employee Wellness Guide This downloadable guide has tools, power point presentations, tip sheets, samples, and surveys to start a school employee wellness program.
Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program (CSPAP) Webinar - Overview of the School Physical Activity Program. This introduction will increase knowledge about next steps participants can take to become a physical activity leader to then establish a comprehensive school physical activity plan in their own school.
School Health Index Use this tool to assess your school environment and plan for changes
4-Hour CSPAP Presentation This 4-hour CSPAP presentation was conducted in May 2015 in Sioux City
1305 School Health and Wellness Grant Success Stories
The 1305 School Health and Wellness Grant is a 5 year collaborative grant between the Iowa Department of Public Health and Iowa Department of Education. The 1305 Grant team is working to on state public health actions to prevent and control diabetes, heart disease, obesity and associated risk factors and promote school health.
The following Iowa school are participating in the 1305 Grant:
- Cedar Rapids CSD: Thomas Jefferson High School, George Washington High School, Metro High School
- Des Moines IDS: Weeks Middle School, McCombs Middle School
- Knoxville CSD: Knoxville Middle School, Knoxville High School
- Marshalltown CSD: BR Miller Middle School, Marshalltown High School
- Melcher-Dallas Jr./Sr. High School
- Saydel CSD: Saydel High School, Woodside Middle School
- Van Buren Jr./Sr. High School
Below are their success stories.
Year 1 Success Stories:
- Jefferson High School - Cedar Rapids
- Melcher - Dallas CSD
- Saydel CSD
- Weeks Middle School - Des Moines
Year 2 Success Stories:
- Cedar Rapids CSD: Thomas Jefferson High School
- Des Moines ISD: Weeks Middle School
- Knoxville CSD: Knoxville Middle School, Knoxville High School
- Marshalltown CSD: Miller Middle School/Marshalltown High School
- Saydel CSD: Woodside Middle School, Saydel High School
- Van Buren CSD: Middle School/High School - Improving Water Access, HealthierUS School Challenge Award, Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program
- Veteran Teacher Shadows Two Students for Two Days: Lessons Learned - A blog written by Grant Wiggins with lessons learned from a teacher’s experience shadowing a high school student.
- A Therapist Goes to Middle School and Tries to Sit Still - Read insights from a therapist who went to middle school for a day
- Exercise is ADHD Medication - Read about the impact of physical activity on attention
- How Exercise Can Boost Young Brains
- Teachers Learn About Classroom Movement
- Fitness May Boost Kids’ Brainpower
- Effects of the FITKids Randomized Controlled Trail on Executive Control and Brain Function
- Free Breakfast in the Classroom Could "Level the Academic Playing Field"
- Opportunities Abound for Moving Around - Learn how to get active wherever you are from National Institutes of Health