The Daily Mile keeps kids engaged in the classroom
As a teacher, you know this. You see it every day in your classroom. At some point, you are going to have a couple of students who are off task and having a hard time concentrating. And it could happen at any time from when they arrive in the morning until the dismissal bell rings.
This isn’t a coincidence. It’s a proven phenomenon. Research shows elementary students spend over a quarter of class time distracted. They’re unable to focus on the teacher or their current task.
What are some ways that you can encourage your students to stay on task?
How can you also help them stabilize their energy levels? You want to make sure they are awake and alert without having too much energy to focus on learning. Physical activity is the answer to both questions. Studies have determined that short physical activity breaks help students stay on task. Research has also shown that exercise helps get the brain ready to learn. But the benefits of physical activity on learning don’t stop there. Movement also makes it easier to remember information over time. This is because it improves brain function.
What are some easy ways to incorporate physical activity into your classroom time? That’s where The Daily Mile can help.
What’s The Daily Mile? It’s a free initiative where students go outside for 15 minutes each day to run, jog, roll, or walk.
But it’s more than physical activity. The Daily Mile is a time for students and their teachers to connect and talk. And they don’t have to talk about schoolwork. Teachers can take this time to learn about their students. They can connect with them on a deeper level. What are their hobbies? What is their home life like? Is there something going on in their life that is preventing them from coming to school ready to learn?
Kimberly McIntosh is a first-grade teacher at Parker Elementary in Galveston, TX. Her students used The Daily Mile to make a new classmate feel welcome. “This student was very quiet when she first came into our class right after we had all come back from vacation. During The Daily Mile, the other students went up to her and grabbed her hand to invite her to walk with them. Now I notice her coming out of her shell as we have continued to do The Daily Mile,” McIntosh said.
Did you know that it’s been scientifically proven that doing something for 21 days turns it into a habit? Use the 21-Day Tracker to build up the habit and get students used to doing The Daily Mile. Teachers tell us that their class starts to look forward to The Daily Mile after they have done it for 21 days. They even start to ask when it is time to go outside.
The Daily Mile has free resources available to help keep your students engaged. And a lot of these resources feature activities that can also tie in with your curriculum as well.
The Daily Mile BINGO game is a fun way to try to do The Daily Mile five days in a row to try and get a BINGO. After you’ve done that, why not continue until you fill up the entire card? Each activity can fit with a learning goal while also building up the habit of doing The Daily Mile. If you draw the card that says, “Count how many steps you take,” why not incorporate that into the day’s math lesson? Or use the opportunity when you draw the card “pick up a piece of trash” to teach about responsibility.
Another resource that can tie into your SEL curriculum is the Kindness Calendar. Pair your students up before you go out for The Daily Mile. Have them discuss a topic or do an act of kindness from the calendar during The Daily Mile. Talk about the topic or discuss how doing the act of kindness made your students feel when you come back inside.
Looking to teach a connection between physical activity and emotions? The Journal of Joy is the perfect resource for this, and it’s available in English and Spanish. Do your students notice that they have a lift in their spirits after doing The Daily Mile? Have them write a few sentences or draw a picture about how being active changes their mood.
The Daily Mile can also help you build relationships with your students. Use the Classroom Reward Coupons to show your students that you notice them. Recognize someone for a good deed or for working hard on a difficult assignment. Best of all, these coupons feature incentives that won’t cost you a penny out of pocket!
Classroom relationships are great. But you know that you also need to build rapport with the community supporting your students. Check out the Extra Mile Note home, available in English and Spanish. Recognize a student with one of these notes. They’re a great way to show them you notice them and to build rapport with the important people in their lives.
Sign up for The Daily Mile for free today. More engaged students will follow.