School Activation | Ophea Teaching Tools

    School Activation

    1. Schedule Daily Physical Activity (DPA) as a grade team, division, and/or school-wide activity. Assemble students and staff together in the gymnasium or at an outdoor space, or in separate classrooms using the PA system. If DPA takes place at the beginning or end of the school day, invite caregivers who do drop-off or pick-up to participate, as well. Also, include physical activity as part of any school event, such as assemblies, spirit days, or seasonal celebrations.

    2. Use physical activity challenges that encourage physical activity and decrease sitting time. For example, challenge your class to accumulate a set amount of active time during one month, or challenge other classrooms to see which class can achieve the most steps or most active time in one week. As a role model to your students, make sure you are participating, too!

    3. Host a contest that encourages students to think of creative ideas for increasing physical activity and decreasing sedentary behaviour at school. Try out a new idea every week.

    4. Organize an active fundraiser that focuses on physical activity while lending to a happy and healthy community. Examples include fun wheels/walks/runs, a bowling night, dance-a-thons, a car wash, sport tournaments, or students versus staff challenges.

    5. Set up a variety of physical activity stations throughout the school using indoor and outdoor spaces. Choose activities that can be done on-the-spot and with no equipment (e.g., wall push-ups, jumping jacks, or squats). Place signs in areas where students are likely to be waiting, such as the office, at a water fountain, or outside of classrooms. Also, consider painting lines and patterns on the hallway floors or on the pavement outside to encourage movement.

    6. Start a lunchtime walking/wheeling club. Staff supervisors can sneak in physical activity while walking/wheeling with the students, and students can increase their activity levels. Participating students can be entered into a draw for non-traditional prizes, such as free time in the gym during recess.

    7. Organize intramurals where all students can participate in physical activity during the lunch hour. Encourage students of all skill and ability levels to participate (not just those that are considered “sporty”) and include unconventional and non-traditional activities, such as yoga, broomball, or rubber chicken games.

    8. Complete an “Around the World with Dance” challenge. Spend 10 minutes each day learning a new dance. Try a new dance every week. Challenge your class to pick a traditional dance from each of the seven continents (make up your own for Antarctica!), or have each student learn a dance from a different country.

    9. Promote active time during recess by encouraging students to bring active equipment from home, and having active equipment available for students to use. Equipment suggestions include skipping ropes, sidewalk chalk, and a variety of objects that can be thrown, such as beach balls, flying discs, and beanbags. Also, teach older students to lead games and activities. When developing student “‘champions”, consider teaching them about playground safety, leadership and communication skills, and conflict resolution.

    10. Create a classroom environment that promotes physical activity. Examples include setting a timer to go off every half hour for an activity break (e.g., chair aerobics or yoga), changing classroom rules to encourage standing and stretching when necessary, and having equipment (e.g., balance discs, resistance bands, or fitness dice) available to promote movement. Also, consider an area in the classroom where students are able to have a “Mindful Moment” to self-regulate when they feel they need a break. Include a yoga mat, stress balls, and fidget toys.