Action Based Learning Labs

Picture this: you walk into a room where a dozen elementary school students are jumping up and down and crawling across mats across the floor. The room is absolutely buzzing with life and breathless energy. You look around, searching for the gym coach, only to discover that the teacher at the front of the room isn’t blowing a whistle or leading PE drills—she’s holding up math flashcards and quizzing students on multiplication tables. It’s not gym class—it’s Action Based Learning at its finest and it’s changing learning and lives across the Jenks Public Schools District.

Action Based Learning focuses on a critical directive: it’s time to get up and MOVE! This teaching strategy is based on the concept that physical fitness and academic achievement go hand-in-hand. Brain research shows that when students are engaged in physical activity before and/or during academic sessions, the brain is stimulated, which leads to both improved brain function and memory retention.

The belief that physical activity and learning are positively linked together is what initiated the addition of Action Based Learning Labs throughout the Jenks Public Schools District. These environments consist of a series of progressive stations that engage students in balance, coordination, spatial awareness, directionality, and visual literacy exercises. This experience leads not only to improved academic performance, but also increased physical fitness and self-esteem.

The first Action Based Learning Lab in Jenks was established as the result of a grant from the Jenks Public Schools Foundation. Currently, Action Based Learning Labs are located in five Jenks Public Schools sites (Southeast Elementary, East Elementary, West Elementary, East Intermediate, and the Freshman Academy). Participants from these sites include students in Pre-K through 9th grade.

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