Posted in Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, General, Programs, Union Memorial School

Have You Heard About Action-Based Learning?

Have we mentioned before that we have some really innovative educators in our district?

Union Memorial School is pioneering an initiative that incorporates physical movement into the classroom environment as a means of increasing focus, curbing behavioral issues, and increasing exercise opportunities based on the theory that there is a direct link between physical activity and academic performance. Simply put, evidence shows that learning and physical activity are complementary—that engaging other parts of the brain during learning will increase retention and enhance knowledge acquisition. And then there are the added benefits of letting students expend some of their physical energy in an interactive, productive way rather than asking them to sit still for long periods of time.

Inspired by the Texas-based Action-Based Learning program, UMS is expanding upon last year’s pilot program to include kindergartners who qualify for Title I services, as well as first and second graders who may best benefit from additional enrichment and skills reinforcement. After observing the program in action with kindergarteners at Burlington’s CP Smith School, a UMS committee is compiling ideas and resources in order to incorporate action-based learning into their curriculum. Some of UMS’s teachers also attended a four-day “Brain Gym” workshop as part of this initiative.

A simple example of incorporating action-based learning into curriculum is one in which students sit on medicine balls during a lesson—or stand for a lesson rather than sitting. Action-based learning can incorporate any number of creative physical activities into the lessons, such as twirling, jumping, balancing, juggling, bouncing, walking, and a variety of others. Some action-based learning environments also include equipment like hula hoops, bean bags, streamers, balls, and the like. The learning environment is quite varied, helping to keep the students engaged and interested.

The action-based learning initiative is an important component of UMS’s shared vision of how children learn best and of how they can succeed. The goal is that it will further enhance the students’ learning experience and become an integral part in enhancing their academic successes.

For more information, please contact Lynn Mazza at mazzal@csdvt.org.

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