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The Brain and Physical Activities August 2014 Amanda Morgan, MS, OTR/L Danielle Alden, MS, OTR/L.

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Presentation on theme: "The Brain and Physical Activities August 2014 Amanda Morgan, MS, OTR/L Danielle Alden, MS, OTR/L."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Brain and Physical Activities August 2014 Amanda Morgan, MS, OTR/L Danielle Alden, MS, OTR/L

2 Good Morning!! Think about where your body is right now Are you Low- tired, sleepy, sad, or bored? Medium- focused and ready to learn Are you Medium- focused and ready to learn? Are you High- too much coffee, leg shaking, overly excited about the presentation today? Write your name on a sticky note Put your sticky note on the alert meter.

3 Let us try out some strategies!!! Theraband Move n Sit Mouth Tools

4 Why is Movement Important? Blood pools in the seat and feet after about 20 minutes. Humans need to move at least 6 – 7 paces to re-circulate this blood and allow it to be pumped through the brain. Current research is showing that today’s students are developing their fine motor skills and not developing their gross motor skills. Encourage teachers to incorporate gross motor movements into the learning.

5 Physical Activity Take two minutes to start your class with some type of mild physical activity and build activities into your lesson, app. every 20 minutes Stretching Brisk walk Cross-lateral re-patterning movements – Arm and leg movements that cross over from one side of the body to the other

6 Hook Ups Stand or sit Cross the right leg over the left at the ankles Right wrist cross it over the left wrist Link up the fingers so the right wrist is on top Bend elbows out and gently turn the fingers toward the body Rest the hands on the sternum (breast bone) in the center of the chest Few minutes

7 Hook Ups

8 Purpose: to help with nervousness to calm the mind and improve concentration Useful: before a test or special event (like speaking in front of class)

9 Cross Crawl Instructions: Stand or sit Right hand across the body to left knee as you raise it Do the same with the left hand on the right knee (like you are marching) About 2 minutes

10 Cross Crawl

11 Purpose: help coordinate right and left brain by exercising the information flow between the 2 hemispheres Useful: spelling, writing, listening, reading, and comprehension

12 Stretching (aka: Yoga) Create a chart with each student’s name and the different poses. Time how long they can maintain a position and let them see their progress.

13 Hands to Heart Everyone position your hands for Hands to Heart Take a deep breath in through your nose and exhale through your mouth You can close your eyes to help relax your body.



16 Why Does It Work? All of those activities are bilateral movements improving communication between hemispheres.

17 Research Physical exercise and stimulation are just as critical as mental stimulation. Given the trend of reduced recess time and physical education requirements, we should rethink how we spend class time and introduce research proven activities that expand brain function. Reference: Fitzell, Susan, M.Ed. (2005). A Dozen Mind-Expanding Strategies to Increase Brain Capacity!

18 Research The number and intricacy of connections (synapses) in the human brain is greatly dependent upon the richness of the environment to which it adapts. Physical movement has impact on creating and accessing memory. Reference: Jones, Susan (1999). Grow A Brain.

19 Alert Program Primary focus: help students learn to monitor, maintain, and change their level of alertness needed for specific situations or task. "Self-regulation is the ability to attain, change, or maintain an appropriate level of alertness for a task or situation" (Williams & Shellenberger, 1996).

20 Alert Level Stage 1: Identifying levels of Alertness Stage 2: Finding Strategies, which change your level of alertness Stage 3: Self Regulation

21 When would you use it? Part of your natural day Transitions Before needed concentrations. Functional Heavy Work Activities Chairs up and down Sanitizing tables

22 Do you feel the strategies change your alert level or help you to focus? $60 a box for $25 yards Look for Latex Free $25 small (10 inches)- $30 large (13 ½ inches)

23 The Environment Does it feel like Crackle Barrel?

24 The Environment or Does it feel like a Spa?

25 Classroom Light Filters

26 Fluorescent Light Covers Diffuse the harsh glare of fluorescent lights while reducing flickering and eyestrain. classroom-light-filters-covers-light-sensitivity (4-piece sets (Tranquil Blue or Whisper White) $33.99 -Use Low Lights (Lamp)


28 Plants Plants increase O 2 levels by 10 %. – Typical classroom needs 4 – 8 plants. – Good plants are areca palms, lady palms, bamboo palms, rubber plants, gerbera daisies, yellow chrysanthemums, ficus benjamina, philodendrons, dracena deremensis, and peace lilies. Heavy lifting and class chores- water the plants and flowers.

29 Noise Level Rugs- defuse the noise and provides a visual cue. Tennis Balls on the feet of the chairs ~contact high school tennis coaches for the old tennis balls

30 Any Questions??

31 References Brain Gym International retrieved on November 1, 2010 from Fitzell, Susan, M.Ed. (2005). A Dozen Mind-Expanding Strategies to Increase Brain Capacity! Hannaford, Carla (1995). Smart Moves: Why Learning Is Not All In Your Head Jones, Susan (1999). Grow A Brain. The Alert Program retrieved on November 1, 2010 from

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