, Muskogee, OK

October 3, 2012

Students JAM for a minute

— By Travis Sloat

Times Correspondent

Karlie DeShazo, an third-grader at the Intermediate Elementary, said she felt like a minute of exercise a couple of times a day would help her learn better.

“I thought it was really fun,” Karlie said. “I really like getting up and moving around.”

DeShazo was one of 1.3 million students across the country that participated in the JAM (Just a Minute) movement on Thursday morning at precisely 10 a.m. The campaign was started to help raise awareness of the need for daily exercise.

Carol Scott, the physical education teacher at Fort Gibson schools, said studies have shown that a minute or two of exercise can be beneficial for students.

“It helps get the blood flowing,” Scott said. “It doesn’t matter how good the teacher is, there is only so much you can absorb before you need a break.”

Oklahoma ranked 15th in the nation for percentage of students participating in JAM. Just over 18,000 students in the state got their groove on between 10 and 10:10 a.m. The exercise was directed by teachers and a YouTube video, showing students some dance moves to emulate.

Carmen Garrett, third-grade teacher, said she has started incorporating these “brain breaks” into her daily teaching schedule.

“We do one in the morning and one in the afternoon,” Garrett said. “This is a great tool to help concentration as well as combat childhood obesity. The kids enjoy it and, to be honest, it’s good for me as well.”

Garrett also said she’s seen a marked improvement in student’s behavior since implementing JAM into her lesson plan, but hasn’t been doing it long enough to see any difference in grades.

Scott said she’s also seen studies that indicate the current generation will be the first to outlive their children, and that scares her.

“Everybody needs to get up and move more,” she said. “Even if it’s at home.”