Thursday, March 26, 2015

Can using a Fitbit activity tracker improve your classroom teaching?

How can I exercise, reflect on my teaching, and reduce stress with my busy teaching schedule? The answer just may be found in the hottest fitness craze called the Fitbit Activity Tracker.



It seems everywhere I go these days I see someone wearing a Fitbit activity tracker,and talking about how they enjoy using it to reach their fitness goals. Fitbit is a very cool activity tracker that records all kinds of data ranging from heart rate,  number of steps, distance, calories burned and other data points . Another really fun feature is that the data can be shared online with other people. You can create Fitbit groups in order to encourage, and compete against friends,family, and other folks. All this sounds great, but can a FitBit activity tracker actually help you become a better teacher?  I will outline five areas that a Fitbit activity tracker can be used by teachers in order to help them grow and improve as educators.

become a better teacher


10,000 steps  Improve your fitness and teaching.  Many people use their Fitbit to track their steps.  Simply pick a number of steps you want to achieve each day, and you have a clear goal to accomplish. A very popular number is 10,000 steps. I know from experience that 10,000 steps can be a challenge to accomplish during the day. One way that I fit in many of my steps is by walking around my classroom. During class I clip on my Fitbit, and start cruising my classroom.While I move around the classroom, I'm able to help my students, observe what they are doing, and add up steps. You will greatly increase your classroom monitoring, and this will help you and your students. At first this may seem exhausting, but your body will adapt, and soon it will just seem natural.


listening to podcasts


 Walk and learn
One of my favorite activities is walking or running while listening to Podcasts. Now with any smartphone you can download a Podcast on any subject you can think of, and start learning something new. I'm currently listening to productivity Podcasts, and I have picked up five or six really helpful productivity tips. The great thing about Podcasts is that you can walk and listen at the same time. Here are a few educational Podcasts to help get you started.

TedTalks Education   Here is how they describe their Podcast, "What should future schools look like? How do brains learn? Some of the world's greatest educators, researchers, and community leaders share their stories and visions onstage at the TED conference."

EdReach   Education Podcast produced by Google certified teachers sharing how to use Google tools in the classroom.

Grammar Girl  Tips and tricks on teaching or learning grammar.

Teacher Created Materials  A podcast on different teaching strategies to use in the classroom.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are thousands of Podcasts available. Just like musical tastes, you'll love some Podcasts, and not enjoy others. In addition you can download audiobooks. Amazon owns Audible so they have a huge library of audio books for purchase. If you don't want to pay for a book your local library has books to download.You will be amazed how quickly you can listen to an entire book while adding up your FitBit steps.

walking meditation



Moving Meditation   When most people hear the word meditation they have visions of people sitting quietly for long periods of time. You don't have to just sit still to meditate, you can meditate while moving. I have solved many of the world's problems while out on a long walk or run. In order to improve as a teacher you will need to be intentional about what you will focus on while trying to achieve your FitBit steps. Follow these three steps to meditate while moving.

Step 1. Attach your FitBit and go for walk.

Step 2. Gather questions that you will reflect upon while walking. Here are a couple of example questions.

  • If I complete today's activity again, how can I improve it?
  • Did my attitude today in class encourage or distract from student learning today?
  • Are my students excited to attend my class?
  • Which students need extra TLC?
  • How did my students show me today they are learning?
  • How could I add rigor, and excitement to today's lesson?
Step 3.  Write the reflective questions on an index card and start walking. As you walk you can  reflect and think deeply about each question. You can also take a pencil with you and jot down any ideas you have as you walk.

the brain


Sharper Brain Overwhelming evidence shows a link between exercise, and increased brain power. In 2008 research  published in the prestigious, The Journal of American Medical Association showed walking, and other forms of exercise improved cognitive function in adults. During a typical day a teacher has to organize, solve problems, remember tasks, make decisions, recall names, and many other brain demanding tasks. A small brain improvement can have a large impact on teacher effectiveness.

im stressed right now

Stress Relief  Teaching can be stressful. My day starts in homeroom, where I take attendance,remind students about overdue books,hand out forms,collect forms, ask my class to be quiet for the announcements, read out lists of students that need to go somewhere in the building, and many more tasks. With each of these tasks the stress builds. I love teaching, but I don't enjoy the stress. Walking and running is a great stress relief for me. People handle stress in many different ways. Some people eat,some folks drink, other love chocolate. One form of stress relief that is very healthy is walking. When I'm really stressed, I will use my FitBit to count my steps during a short walk around the building at the beginning of planning. Although it may be a short three to five minutes, it helps to add additional steps, and reduce stress.


 The FitBit is an easy to use activity tracker , and a helpful tool in accomplishing fitness goals. In addition, it can increase your classroom monitoring, help you learn something new, provide a platform to think deeply about your teaching, increase your brain power, and finally reduce your stress to help prevent burning out as a teacher.