Overcoming Barriers in the Classroom

Overcoming Barriers in the Classroom

You may have concerns about incorporating physical activity breaks into your classroom. Maybe you worry about the time involved or if these breaks would be to distracting to your students. Check out a few commonly perceived barriers and how to overcome them below.

“I don’t have time.”
  • While a brief adjustment period is common, many teachers who use daily physical activity breaks find that they become part of the routine. As a standard part of the schedule, the breaks take little extra time to implement.
“Physical activity breaks would cause my students to lose focus.”
  • Consider the minutes traded as an exponential gain in “on task” time, as students are able to attain better focus for academic activities as a result of physical activity breaks.
  • When planning activity breaks in your classroom consider these tips for managing your classroom:
    • Set expectations
    • Arrange the classroom
    • Use cues
    • Set time limits
    • Be firm
    • Start small
  • Try using a stretching or mindfulness activity as a way to calm a class down after a more vigorous activity.
“Middle/High schoolers will think physical activity breaks are silly.”
  • This group in particular would benefit from physical activity breaks because they don’t get recess.
  • Consider asking the group what they would like to do, and don’t forget that even big kids like to act like kids!
  • Use lesson review time as an opportunity to engage students in physical activity.
  • View activity ideas that will engage your middle and high schoolers.
“Some of my students may struggle with fitness.”
  • Select physical activity breaks that are inclusive so that every student is able to participate.
  • Encourage students to modify the activity to what feels right to them. It’s less about doing it perfectly, and more about getting up and moving.
“My classroom is tight on space.”
  • Select activities that can be performed in small spaces or consider having your students find a designated space that they go to when it’s time to participate in a physical activity break.
  • Consider hallway space or holding your physical activity breaks at a time of day where your class can visit a larger unused space, like the cafeteria, gymnasium or school lobby.