Bjorklund, D., & Brown, R. (1998). Physical Play and Cognitive Development:
Integrating Activity, Cognition, and Education. Child Development, 69(3), 604-606. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/1132190
This article instead describes theorized benefits of play and breaks in the classroom in conjunction with child developmental stages. Well-respected child development theorists such as Piaget and Vygotsky are used to support play and break theories. The article is beneficial for developing background knowledge about the topic of play in relation to its effects on learning for young students in the classroom. It also elaborates on differences between genders in terms of preferred types of play or breaks. Asian school systems are also contrasted to American school systems in both length of the school day and number of breaks throughout the day for younger students.
Brown, S. (2007). Play is Not Just for PE. The English Journal, 96(3), 46-50. Retrieved
The author, Stacey Brown, is an English teacher in Colorado and she writes this article about incorporating play and fun into the classroom based on her own experiences in her classroom. This article uses anecdotal evidence and personal experience to support the use of play in the classroom. As with the previous article, the benefit of this article is that it helps build background knowledge about the practical use of play in the classroom. While the types of play Brown uses in her classroom consist more of games and humorous activities, it provides and interesting comparison to the use of physical play and its benefits in the classroom.
Evaluation of the Take10! daily physical activity program in elementary school children. (2005). Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 76(1), 1. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/218552407?accountid=44766
This article presents the results of data gathered from a study that took place in
an elementary school that implemented a 10-minute physical activity break program
called Take 10! The main purpose of this study was to investigate the physical health benefits of the program on students, however it does include some information on teacher reactions to the program, which were mostly positive. This study and article are important because they demonstrate one example of the slow, but forthcoming shift that is taking place to increase the amount of movement and physical activities that take place inside the classroom, and the multifaceted reasons why they are beneficial.
Hyatt, K. J. (2007). Brain Gym: Building Stronger Brains or Wishful Thinking?.
Remedial & Special Education, 28(2), 117-124.
This article is a strongly written piece that exposes shortcomings of the Brain Gym program. Brain Gym is a program originally created in the 1970s, which offers short exercises for teacher to do in their classrooms that were claimed to be effective for waking up student minds, and preparing them for learning. This article is extremely biased and written in a negative tone. From the opening paragraph it is clear the author has no respect for the Brain Gym creators, and he continues to write the rest of the article in the same tone. The author writes about the theories that Brain Gym is supposed to have been founded on, and demonstrates how the Brain Gym program actually does not have any research to support the claims it makes about the effectiveness of the program. While this article is clearly biased, it presents an opposing view to the Brain Gym program and will be useful for careful and objective research and presentation.
Ostroff, W.L. (2014) Don’t Just Sit There! Pay Attention! Retrieved from
This article explains the benefits of using breaks in the classroom and what types of breaks are most useful. It explains that the average attention span is about ten minutes and that teachers should strive to change information, setting or environment often. It also explains that learners are able to retain information better when provided breaks (pg. 71). It then continues to explain that the best kinds of breaks are those that involve movement. The main purpose and benefit of the article is summed up in the following quote on page 72, “teachers know that the few minutes lost to such actions (physical activity breaks) are easily regained by the quality of students’ engagement afterward.
Stephenson, J. (2009). Best practice? Advice provided to teachers about the use of
Brain Gym® in Australian schools. Australian Journal Of Education (ACER Press), 53(2), 109-124.
This article explains the prevalence of the use and availability of Brain Gym in Australian schools and districts. As in the United States, Australian schools are focusing on using evidence and research based practices in schools, and as concerns were demonstrated the other articles about the research behind Brain Gym, Australian researchers have concluded that the Brain Gym program is also deficient in research provided to support the claims of the program. However, despite this lack of research, the author of this article discovered that the Brain Gym program is widely supported and endorsed among Australian school districts. The author conducted an Internet search of the program and its use in Australia that yielded the result of 200 different sites that provided advice, and “No sites were found that advised against the use of Brain Gym,” (pg. 113). The author agrees with other researches that the Brain Gym program is not research based and therefore should not be trusted, however the fact that “all state and territory education departments (in Australia) provided some level of explicit support for the use of Brain Gym” (pg. 118) must mean something for the use, applicability and benefits of Brain Gym.
Watson, A., & Kelso, G. L. (2014). The effect of Brain Gym on academic engagement for children with developmental disabilities. International Journal Of Special Education, 29(2), 75-83.
The article begins by presenting the same issues with Brain Gym as the previous article, the fact that the Brain Gym program has no empirical data to support its claims. There are four research studies about Brain Gym, however researchers invalidate these studies due to methodological flaws (pg. 76). However, the article continues to explain that despite these research flaws, the Brain Gym program continues to be widely used and promoted by educators. This article presents a study of the effectiveness of Brain Gym and its use specifically on developmentally disabled students in increasing academic engagement compared to regular physical activity. The results of the study demonstrated that Brain Gym was no more effective in increasing academic engagement in the three students selected for the study than was regular physical activity.