Monday, March 5, 2012

Jammin' Minute

There is progress happening in the Mesquite ISD here in Texas.  They are using a program called "Jammin' Minutes" in grades K-8.  These are one-minute exercise sessions that can be done standing beside a desk or even sitting in a desk.  The story I read about the local school district using this program doesn't give a lot of information (which is honestly pertinent to the story) such as:
1.  Are teachers required to use these sessions in their classroom?
2.  How many times per day are the sessions recommended?  Is there a minimum or a maximum?
3.  Do the sessions HAVE to be limited to one minute?
4.  Is anyone keeping data on classroom performance before the program compared to after the program?
5.  Have teachers received any training on the importance of and implementation of this program?

All that aside---this is GOOD news!  Educators are understanding the role of movement in brain function---at least for one minute.  I hope they are keeping some data so it will spur them on to further changes incorporating movement into the classroom.  I would honestly recommend 15 minutes out of every hour be spent moving---it is an investment that would pay nearly immediate benefits---but I emphasize that one minute is a big start!

The Fort Worth ISD is using this program and report that tardies have gone down 30% because they "jam" immediately after the bell every morning.  Students report they don't want to miss the jam so they make extra effort to be punctual.

If your school district isn't doing SOMETHING to incorporate movement into the classroom, please encourage them to do so.  The particular program I'm referring to is free to school districts---the ever-present money issue should not stop this from moving forward.  

Do NOT, however, think this is the solution.  It's not.  It's a starting point from which there needs to be a LOT of progress going forward.  But starting points are GREAT and I wanted to celebrate a move in the right direction!

These "jammin' minutes" are the product of a California non-profit which you can read about at www.jamschool.com .   The original story by Janet St. James can be seen/read here: http://www.wfaa.com/news/health/Jammin-Minutes-141186803.html