Unit 1


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Unit Overview and Objectives

Objective: 1. To be able to explain and understand how recess benefits students learning productivity.

In this Unit, you will learn about what having recess or a break during a student's day does to their focus in school.

In every Unit I would like you to write in each discussion post about what you have learned, what you would have liked to learn more about if anything, and what you would like to do or use as a teacher from these Unit's

Academic Achievement Due to Physical Activity

There was a study on elementary students relating physical activity to academic achievement. In order for a student to do well in their studies, they have to be engaged in learning. To be engaged in something, your brain has to be active and focused. As students, especially elementary students are so young, they need breaks to rest their brain so they can retain more information and stay actively engaged in their lessons. Through a test called "The Wechler Individual Achievement Test" (Stapp and Karr, 2018). This test measures all academic skills of children. The examiners of this reported study provided 90 minutes per week of moderate to extreme physical academic activity classrooms versus controlled non-physically active classrooms (Stapp and Karr, 2018). In results, there was an "improvement of 6% among students involved in physically active academic lessons compared to a 1% decrease for students in control classrooms" (Stapp and Karr, 2018). In conclusion, physical activity promotes a higher academic achievement rate.

There are ways to give students this physical activity in the classroom if there is no recess due to long extended school days. Two of these examples include:

  • A small in-class trampoline for kids to jump on during free periods.
  • Online programs that encourage kids to move around the classroom and spark their brain's energy such as go noodle for elementary students or fun YouTube videos for students to dance or sing to.

On-task Versus Off-task Behaviors

Graph chart on on-task student study.jpg

It is thought of that adding more instruction time can create better grades. In ways, yes this can be true because sometimes all a student needs is just a little more time to grasp what they are learning and to fully understand it. I see this would be a reason to have more time spent in class and less time spent playing or communicating with peers. However, too much time spent on learning in one period can exhaust anyone's brain, especially the developing brains of children. When a brain is tired and needs a break we become antsy. Did you know currently is the worst time for attention spans due to the ever growing technology that is in the reach of our hands? I have learned through my college experience that the growth in technology has caused more students to become diagnosed with ADHD. During a study from the same previous article on this page, there were 12 participants being studied with an on-task and off-task frequency chart for 25 minutes prior to recess and after recess, determining their focus levels (Strapp and Karr, 2018). "Results revealed that each of the 12 participations average time on-task increased from before recess to after recess" (Strapp and Karr, 2018). Providing a brain break for students to release their fidgety energy creates a better on-task approach when they come back from this break. Recess or breaks during the day can help a mind contain the new knowledge they have learned without it becoming overloaded.

Further Resources

Citation for article and the graph:

Alicia Cooper Stapp, Jenny Kate Karr. (February 28, 2018). Effect of Recess on Fifth Grade Students Time On-Task in an Elementary Classroom. Internal Electronic Journal of Elementary Education.

Continue To: Unit 2: How having recess versus not having recess (or free time) affects students mental, physical, and social health.