"I am a proud Hilldale Tiger. I choose to be respectful, responsible, and ready to learn!" -Kaylee Fant
School Spotlight: Hilldale Elementary School
At Action Based Learning, we not only want to provide the best for our customers and their students, but we also want to show how schools are changing lives through ABL! This is Kaylee Fant, an EL Teacher and District Coordinator at Hilldale Elementary School, in Putnam City School district. Kaylee has been using ABL in her school for 5 1/2 years now, and the impact on her students has been incredible! In her own words, Kaylee discusses how the Action Based Learning lab in her school has helped students learn and grow.
The ABL labs were slowly making their way into Putnam City when my principal was told that Hilldale would be receiving 2 ABL labs. Once this became a reality I jumped right into learning about what ABL had to offer for myself and my students. I began as a facilitator at my school and was able to train all of our students and staff. After the first year, we slowly learned how successful the labs were for our students' academics and behavior. I then branched out with other schools in our district and started working with them to see how we could serve our students better. Soon after, I was asked to be the district coordinator for Putnam City.
Once beginning the lab in my school, I instantly fell in love and couldn't get over the excitement my students had when coming to the lab each week. They had never been exposed to anything like this and I was happy to offer them this opportunity. Since I have been able to prove the benefits, back up by research and data scores I have been able to stay in this position for almost 6 years now.
I am most proud of the success we have had in the lab, specifically with our academics. Our 5th grade students have shown higher test scores than those who do not use the lab. Our 5th grade students use the lab to work on the academic vocabulary they are learning in the classroom. Once they transfer it to the ABL lab it has proven to be beneficial for them.
The culture of my school is very diverse. We have so many students with unique backgrounds that makes our school stand out from the others. The staff at Hilldale really work together to provide and create innovative ways to give our students the best education. The biggest difference between our school and other schools are our ABL labs and are willingness to support each other. Working at a school like Hilldale is such a team effort! We are a Title 1 school and 100% poverty school. We feel at Hilldale, that no matter what our students should be provided every opportunity possible. As teachers, we are faced with challenges daily and the staff at Hilldale find a way to meet it.
Brain research tells us that after about 17 minutes of sitting the brain starts to shut down and tells the body to go to sleep. We try to provide ways for our students to get up and move between each activity or assignment to keep their brains awake and alert. Before having the ABL lab we did not fully understand the benefits of movement and how it can positively impact our students. Now that we have the labs, we are constantly providing ideas to our staff how to get their students moving. Our school has become more active all around. Our students are constantly moving whether they are in the ABL lab, PE, Health, recess or participating in brain boosters (break breaks) throughout their days.
I can't stress the importance of the ABL labs and its benefits to our students. I see growth in ours students on a monthly and yearly basis. There is a huge difference between the children that use the labs and those that do not. We feel at Hilldale, that the labs are important, which is why we make it a priority to come every week. Moving is good for the soul and body! Why wouldn't we want to do what is best for our kids? The ABL Lab has made a positive impact on our students. It helps to release their stress, especially during testing time. We have seen test scores increase, specifically with our 5th graders. I have seen our younger students improve their fine motor skills. Many of the skills the students work on in the labs they missed out on before. The ABL lab helps us to close those gaps that they are missing.
I have seen physical growth with our students. Our PreK and kindergarten students struggle with balancing and when they finally start balancing on their own it is so exciting to see! It is also very fun to see my students gain confidence in their different skills they are learning.
Data was collected after five 5th grade classes had completed a unit test. 3 out of the 5 classes come to ABL twice a week to practice their math, science, and social studies vocabulary while the other 2 classes do not. The classes that came to the lab regularly, (Teacher A, B, and C) have a higher percentage of students that mastered each standard. On average 70-90% of the classes that came to ABL mastered the standard. Those that did not come to ABL, (Teacher D and E) only had an average of 30% master the standard.
There are several hurdles we have overcome like space, time, and teachers feeling like ABL is one more thing to do. Some labs in our district are utilized by their PE teachers, some of the equipment has been divided up into the classrooms, or there is a designated space for the labs. We have found that you have to make the labs work for you and your school. Once a space has been created we worked with our teachers to find the best time for them to bring their students to the lab. Our goal is for them to come right before instructional time to wake up their brains and to prepare their bodies for learning. Our teachers quickly discovered that the ABL labs are not one more thing to do, but an extension of their classroom. They are able to take information their students are learning and have them review the material in the labs. Students are then able to retain the information better and also have fun while learning. I learned that it is okay to make quick adjustments to the lab even when students are present. Sometimes we would set up a progression and think it would work and as soon as we get students in the lab we find some things we needed to change. Every year we are learning, growing, and adapting what we need to offer into the labs. I work with the teachers to find out what they are working on in their classroom so I can then help to reinforce that in the ABL labs.
A lot of our "trial and error" stems from how a rotation might look or seeing if a station will work for a student. Sometimes the students have been able to give me new ideas on how to use a station so we can work together to see what works best. In the beginning, we started with students working in partners and over the years we have found they excel more when working at their own station individually. I always say do what it is best for you and your students. To those who say that they, "don't have time" for ABL, I say: You need to make time!! ABL works and is extremely beneficial to your students. It helps to calm their body if they are stressed while at the same time it can awaken them up if they are tired or feeling sluggish. The data proves how the brain is more functional and can retain information better with movement. We have seen classes that implement the labs having higher test scores than those who do not utilize the labs. The ABL labs are so worth your time and your students will thank you!
I have a 3rd grade student who doesn't do well with change. When starting the lab a year ago he wouldn't come into the room. Over time he started coming in with his class to observe what was happening. After several months of encouragement he started trying a few selected stations. Now, he confidently comes in and participates in all of the stations. He enjoys coming each week and looks forward to his time in ABL.
The best way to get someone to "buy-in" is to explain the data of how the brain reacts when the body moves and the positive impact it can have on a child socially, emotionally, and physically. Afterwards, I would show them academic scores. Districts are always looking for ways to improve test scores and the ABL labs can do just that! Don't be afraid to start! You don't have to have an ABL lab or any equipment. You can start with simple movement in the classroom or even adding music to your day. Taking these moments to allow your students to move are not a waste of time. It will allow them to refocus their attention on the teacher and learn at a higher level.
Help give kids strength and endurance with our animal round-up poster! Performing different animal walks allow children to gain muscular strength and endurance while having fun. Each animal walk strengthens a different muscle group and allows for movements in different directions, different levels, and eventually different heights.
The Cardio Kids Snowboarder brings the fun of snowboarding to the great indoors! With lateral movements and swivel snowboard base, children can enjoy a cardio session and hardly notice! Resistance is created by the users body weight. Computer reads speed, time, distance, heart-rate and calories. This unique movement exercises the triceps, deltoids, trapezius, external obliques and the entire range of central core muscles including the transversus abdominis, back and pelivs, while providing a complete cardiovascular workout for youth.
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