Mini Grant SenseMaker Project Story or Micro-Narrative
As a veteran teacher working with students that have emotional and behavioral challenges, I always wanted to create a program that could impact students by developing healthy habits with skills that can be used throughout their lives to manage stress and maintain healthy bodies. When Covid shut everyone down in the spring, I knew that this needed to happen more than ever – my students were isolated and not engaging as they did in the classroom. I read Activate by Katherine Mills Hernandez this summer and was pleasantly surprised to find that much research has been done showing the positive impact movement has on learning – as a teacher, it’s logical to try something as simple as adding movement to improve student focus and success. Other research shows that exercise is beneficial for mental health as well. There was no way that I wasn’t going to add movement to my lessons and conduct my own “research.” How to convince the students became my challenge.THEN, I stumbled upon an email from Palm Beach Health about the Be Well PBC Mini-Grant! After the Mini-Grant Workshop, I felt confident enough to apply for my first grant, keeping my students in mind. The program idea involves students getting fit, creating obstacle courses at home, designing an obstacle course for school, and finally creating the course on-site so that students can compete for personal goals and bragging rights. At the end of July I was surprised to learn that $3,000 had been awarded for the idea! I was thrilled and wanted to order the fitness equipment for everyone to start getting stronger a.s.a.p., and was disappointed that the process was a little time consuming with the School District, BUT that turned out to be beneficial.Instead of students having the exercise gear for the first day of school, they got to design a logo for the materials and choose the items for purchase after a lesson on budgeting! While we waited for the items to arrive, we worked out for a few minutes every day in class, exploring different websites and videos. Student engagement grew as their skills improved!When the items arrived, they were eager to take them home and start using them. They are required to log 30 minutes of activity every day. I hold a virtual workout session three times per week! Almost every day someone tells me a story about something they are able to do now that they couldn’t a few months ago. Now that most have “bought into” fitness, we are going to start the fun part of designing the obstacle courses at home over the winter break, and then on campus in January and February.The process is taking longer than I envisioned, but the results so far are greater than I dreamed! This would not be possible without the BeWellPBC Mini-Grant!