While only about one-quarter of youth meet the current recommendation of at least 60 minutes of daily moderate to vigorous physical activity, Portland students are getting more active right in the classroom using GoNoodle physical activity breaks or “brain breaks.” GoNoodle is an online suite of interactive physical activity games designed to improve student engagement, behavior and performance. Each GoNoodle activity provides students with 3-5 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity they can perform next to their desks.
More than 44,000 students in Portland Public Schools have access to GoNoodle, and its companion health curriculum product HealthTeacher, thanks to a generous sponsorship by OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital and Randall Children’s Hospital at Legacy Emanuel.
One of the GoNoodle activities, “Run With US!,” created in collaboration with the USA Track and Field Foundation, features Olympians and elite athletes coaching students in virtual track and field events.
Mary Cain, the youngest runner to compete in the 2013 World Championships (1500m), and Galen Rupp, a silver medalist at the London 2012 Olympic games (10,000m), led students in GoNoodle physical activity breaks in classroom Tuesday, April 15, at King School and Forest Park Elementary, respectively.
Research shows that short bursts of physical activity have positive health benefits and improve student performance. According to a report from the Institute of Medicine, “Children who are more active show greater attention, have faster cognitive processing speed, and perform better on standardized academic tests than children who are less active.”
In addition to the track and field games, GoNoodle includes dancing and calming exercises along with activities that incorporate math, spelling and vocabulary. Combining movement with learning provides an opportunity for students to benefit from activity while teachers can choose what types of activities to offer. Teachers in Portland Public Schools can access GoNoodle for free by visiting gonoodle.com.