"I asked a couple teachers, 'Hey, would you like to have it in your classroom?'" West, a physical education teacher at Bauder Elementary School in Fort Collins, said.
West placed workout benches called Railyards, in three classrooms at his school. This equipment allows teachers to give kids brain breaks every 20 minutes to get the blood flowing and the brain stimulated, according to West.
"What's my main job? My main job as a P.E. teacher is to generate neurons and the teachers fill those brain cells," West said.
Connie Cooper is a fourth grade teacher who has incorporated this two-tiered Railyard as part of her classroom. Thursday during a math quiz, she offered her students a brain break and they performed pushups, step ups, dips and lunges before returning to the test.
"Because they get so frustrated and they go, 'I can't do this,'" Cooper said. "Then we take a brain break and then they're ready to go back to work."
Fourth grader Jaeda Rodriguez says the brain breaks and Railyard exercises are working.
"I think it's fun because it gets your blood flowing to your head and it makes it easier to think about more things," Jaeda said. "I don't think I paid attention as much as I do now because now I am more energized."
Cooper says it's improving more than academic performance in her classroom.
"This prevents falling asleep and does cut down on behavior problems," Cooper said. "It's three-to-five minutes. It's very simple and it just gets them energized again."
West used a combination of school funds, grant money, and external donations to pay for the equipment. He was recently honored at the White House with the "Let's Move Champion of Change" award for his innovative ideas in physical education.
He is happy to celebrate his latest idea during National Physical Education week which runs from May 1 to May 7.
"It's built into our DNA that we want to play," West said. "There's nothing wrong with having fun in class. We can learn and have fun at the same time."
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