A safe and engaging "mind break" experience for students. Currently, third through fifth-grade students are 1:1with technology. The simple, yet very effective, games we are suggesting have been proven to stimulate a different part of the brain. They are a "reboot" to the brain. We also believe it will be imperative to find a way to ensure our students feel safe and engaged during the 2-3 year period of construction. (Students will be in an extremely tight space!) The suggested items will be best used by ALL 3-5th-grade students (approximately 10-12 classes). The idea is to rotate the items/games for a 1-2-week period per class after Shauna and Mike have had an opportunity to introduce and teach the activity during PE rotations.
· Simple hand/eye coordination exercises are proven to improve cognition and recall (Healthy Brain, Happy Life). Repeated activity heightens a person’s ability to strategize. Preparation for continued movement lights up the hippocampus which improves memory.
· Moving eyes up/down or side-to-side in a rapid motion makes stressful or worrisome thoughts and memories fade by soothing the emotion-processing areas of the brain (Biopsychosocial Medicine).
· Benefits of this form of exercise can not only provide brain growth but body comfort as well. In comparison to the body dynamics of a student sitting at a desk hunched over a computer, worksheet, or even reading, the proposed relief of the attached exercises will improve both posture as well as oxygenation to the brain. Other benefits include, but are not limited to, the following:
o Stress relief ~ physical activity, brain stimulation, visual stimulation, the joy of success at learning something new…(not academic)
o Focus Retention ~ Mind/Body connection at being completely engaged and focused at the moment
o Coordination Boosting ~ Improvement of gross and fine motor skills
o Improved Learning ~ problem-solving skills, reconnection to a sense of self, executive function improvement, ability to ignore distractions, multitask, and hold and manipulate information in the mind
o Active meditation ~ being focused in the moment and aware of your surroundings creates a “relaxation response” which creates a shrinkage of the part of the amygdala, a deep-brain structure strongly implicated in processing stress, fear, and anxiety.
As stated above, the items will serve as a rotation of games to be used both individually as well as cooperatively during academic breaks and P.E.
As mentioned above, the items will be shared amongst 3rd-5th-grade classes. This includes 11-12 classes which equate to approximately 275-300 students.
We did not discuss this grant with site/district since the items listed are specific to some, but not all, grade levels. Shauna, Mike, and I are willing to research items specific to kinder-2nd but would request additional funds be added. We are working towards a positive emotional and mental break for our students and realize that students in the upper grades have a less imaginative play. We are trying to keep the older students engaged in an activity that will help them through a possibly rough time in the next few years.
Shauna, Mike, and I have research several links to the many options we have chosen. We looked for quality, durability, cost/sustainability ratio, and student engagement for each item. Although our spreadsheet represents a specific item, as stated, we will order one of each item and "put it through the test!"