Celebrating Inquiry: Spring 2016 v.2 no.2

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Anna Gotgilf & Kristen ter Steege.....ActivEd: Taking Literacy on the Go!

How can physical activity be integrated into instructional time?

Countless studies attest to the value of physical activity in promoting learning; however, the realities of the classroom setting, curricular demands, and time constraints often hinder our ability to provide opportunities for additional physical activity. Our project aims to provide a solution by making instruction mobile.

To begin, we consulted multiple educational psychology journals that had findings supporting the use of physical activity during instruction. We used these findings to justify our PIP Proposal to our Administration.

In particular, our project required the purchasing of a class set of MP3 players. We were very fortunate to be at a school with a newly opened Learning Commons that had room in its budget for expanding its collection. While it was really exciting to be approved for the funding of our project we were delayed by the process of ordering the MP3 Players through the District. This left us with less time than we expected to implement the project but allowed us to proceed by collecting audio materials while we awaited the players.
When we finally had the players we were able to do a test run with a small group of students to get their feedback to share at a staff meeting. We filmed a short video of students sharing their thoughts about the project to show the staff.

Thus far, feedback from students and staff has been very positive. Students have identified many benefits to taking instruction on the go as well as the use of audio content. In particular, students have said that they have an improved focus with the removal of noise and distraction of the classroom. Further, students are excited to be outside and repeatedly refer to the process as a reward, in contrast to reading similar material in class. Many teachers have stated their intent to use the resource for teaching in the French Immersion program as well as in classes such as Music and Social Studies, not just Language Arts. The potential for this resource to continue to grow and develop is very exciting.

We have learned a lot by completing this project. In particular, we have seen the relative ease with which instruction can be re-conceptualized to prioritize students' desire to be physically active. Additionally, we have experienced the collaborative nature of the teaching profession first-hand in the willingness of other teachers to contribute to the project and share their ideas.


Anna Gotgilf (@IAm_AMG) and Kristen ter Steege are currently completing a combined English/Ed degree. They both completed their Internship at Ecole Agnes Davidson School. Anna taught grade five humanities and mathematics, and Kristen taught grade three social studies, science, physical education, health and art.