During School Activity



Best Practices

Murfreesboro City Schools

The sensory paths shown in the pictures above are lined up in various areas throughout Cason Lane Academy. The paths are used daily by students as they are in heavy traffic areas. The Calm Coach uses the paths in conjunction with the Calm Center for the students with high energy and hyperactivity to get wiggles out. This calm-down area is used to prevent missed instruction time and help regulate the students who need that assistance. The sensory paths are also used during bathroom breaks, brain breaks, and when indoor recess is necessary. The teachers and administration have been excited to have the paths in their schools. They make it a point to use them whenever possible and have been writing grants to get more for the younger grade hallways.

Best Practices for Physical Activity Policy

Using or withholding of physical activity as punishment is an inappropriate practice that should be prohibited in local district policy. Tennessee State Board Policy 4.206 states that “Physical activity shall not be withheld from a student as a punishment”.


LEAs should align their policies with the recommendations of professional organizations, such as the Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE America). In their 2021 position statement, SHAPE America asserts the position that withholding physical activity (PA) and physical education (PE) as a form of punishment and/or behavior management is inappropriate. In addition, administering physical activity as punishment is inappropriate.

Resources to support this policy with best practice include, but are not limited to:

  • Strategies for Recess in Schools - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and SHAPE America have developed guidance documents that provide schools with 19 evidence-based strategies for recess, as well as a planning guide and template to help develop a written recess plan that integrates these strategies.
  • SHAPE America Guide for Recess Policy – Includes recommended policy language and rationale for each policy component. Example: “School staff shall be provided resources and at least one annual professional development event each year on conducting active recess, the benefits of physical activity, behavior management, emergency protocols, and systematic supervision”
  • Peaceful Playgrounds: Alternatives to Withholding Recess
  • Recess Lab by Playworks


Tools and Resources


  • GoNoodle is currently used in hundreds of classrooms across Tennessee.  The program includes activities that include purposeful movement, deep breathing, aerobic exercise, and class cohesion/interaction.  This program also offers academic subject-specific activities.  GoNoodle is free of charge and most activities take only 3 minutes to complete.

SPARKabcs Classroom and Recess Activity Program

  • Classroom activity solutions brought to you by the world's most researched & field-tested physical education program! Extensive evidence supports the association between school-based physical activity (PA) and academic performance.

Energizing Brain Breaks

  • Energizing Brain Breaks are quick 1-2 minute activities for your classroom or audience.  They take virtually no preparation and no extra materials to perform.  Students and audiences of all ages love them

Active Academics

  • Active Academics® is a resource for classroom teachers to provide practical physical activity ideas that can be integrated into regular classroom content areas. Get students "up and moving" while still engaged in the academic learning process.

Adventure to Fitness

  • Inspiring kids to lead healthy lifestyles through imagination, education, and movement.

Move to Learn

  • Move to Learn is a video series of physical activity breaks for the classroom.

Take a Break!

  • This document was developed by the Colorado Education Initiative and is filled with Physical Activity breaks.

Brain and Body Boost

  • The WELNET® Brain and Body Boosts module is a collection of videos to allow children the movement breaks they need to increase cognitive performance, concentration and fitness. These high-quality educational videos and teaching resources provide an engaging and dynamic learning environment for all students.

Action Base Learning Labs

  • The Action Based Learning™ Lab is a series of progressions and stations, each designed to prepare the brain for input and processing. Sensory components of balance, coordination, spatial awareness, directionality, and visual literacy are developed as the child rolls, creeps, crawls, spins, twirls, bounces, balances, walks, jumps, juggles, and supports his/her own weight in space. Levels of physical fitness are increased and academic concepts are reinforced. As students move from station to station with a partner or partners, their self awareness, self esteem, and social skills are enhanced. Each progression and station allows the student to experience challenge, feedback, and physical activity, three components that are necessary for optimal brain function.

Active Living Resources for Schools

Integrating Physical Activity into the Complete School Day

Video - The Science Behind Brain Breaks

Playworks Resources for Recess and School-Based Play

Classrooms in Motion

Jack Hartmann Kids Music Channel

SHAPE America Activity Calendars

National Program for Playground Safety

Move 2 Learn