Lee County students combine fitness with learning

By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal

SHANNON – Shannon Primary second-grader Bryant Perkins and his classmates took time on Wednesday afternoon to get their brains ready for learning.
For about 40 minutes in the afternoon, the students danced to music in the school’s auditorium and followed a routine that included running in place, pumping their arms, slapping their knees and shaking their heads. The exercise was all part of Mississippi’s new Move to Learn initiative.
“It was really fun because when I was doing all of it, it helped my brain think more about getting active and not being lazy,” said Bryant, 8.
The Bower Foundation teamed with the Mississippi Department of Education’s Office of Healthy Schools to develop Move to Learn, a series of five-minute videos featuring simple movement exercises. The idea is for teachers to incorporate them into classroom breaks, reflecting research that physical activity increases children’s ability to learn.
“It is an easy tool to help with classroom management and get kids engaged,” said Anne Travis, CEO of the Bower Foundation.
All of the videos are available for free online at http://movetolearnms.org. Led by Clinton Schools P.E. teacher Larry Calhoun, the Move to Learn team is traveling throughout the state to spread the word about the initiative.
Calhoun led Shannon’s students in several of the exercises on Wednesday.
“They can see what it looks like live, and how easy it is to do in a classroom setting,” he said.
Lee County Schools Child Nutrition Director Susan Killens invited the team to come to the district this week. They also visited Shannon Elementary on Wednesday and will go to all of its elementary schools.
“I needed it because I don’t work out a lot,” said Shannon second-grader Takarra Gates, 8, after completing the exercises. “Now I feel like working out.”
chris.kieffer@journalinc.com

Learn More
FOR MORE INFORMATION about Move to Learn or to view the videos, visit http://movetolearnms.org.