Learning and Exercise: A Conversation with ActivEd Founder Dr. Julian Reed
Updated: Nov 24, 2022
Every teacher is familiar with the kind of student who struggles to pay attention for a long period of time. They doodle, stretch their legs, or more often than not, misbehave. In this week’s podcast, I had a great conversation with the founder of ActivEd, Dr. Julian Reed. He talked about the benefits of exercising while learning. Instead of taking a break from learning with recess or gym, students actually move and learn at the same time. Walkabouts allow students to interact, relieve stress, and stay healthy at the same time.
The pandemic forced teachers to find creative ways to get students outside in the fresh air. Sometimes I’d let students out into the hallway to collaborate. My school put up tents and encouraged teachers to have class on our front lawn. We did whatever we could to inspire students, especially the ones that get distracted easily, tune us out, or daydream. It’s all natural and normal behavior especially early in the morning, after lunch, or at the end of the day.
When trying to differentiate, it’s easy think in terms of group work, independent work, visuals, speaking, listening, and reading. But I can say I’ve never looked at a lesson and thought, how can I get my kids moving around. Of course they walk to get into groups, do a gallery walk, or walk to the board to write, but there’s no meaningful movement or exercise.
Think about how coaches inspire athletes or how passionate fans are about their team. I actually created an entire course on how to bring the culture of sports into the classroom. Teachers, like coaches, move around and create activities that get the blood flowing. But Dr. Reed’s program is not a metaphor. It actually gets kids up out of their seat and learning at the same time. It’s the kind of program that makes you wonder how it never existed before.
English language arts teacher
Teacher's Workshop, professional development for secondary ELA teachers