Research News

UW’s Larson helps secure funding for ‘Active Classroom Engagement' project

April 21, 2016

UW-Madison’s Elizabeth Larson helped secure a grant for Madison's Elvehjem Elementary School titled, “Active Classroom Engagement (ACE).”

This project ­–- which is being supported by a $25,000 grant from the Foundation for Madison’s Public Schools -– is designed to create movement-permissive classrooms to accommodate students’ natural need to be more active.

This initiative, which will begin in the 2016-17 school year, will include six third through sixth grade classroom teacher volunteers who will be instructing about 120 students. The project leads at Elvehjem Elementary School are third grade teacher Dan Heinemann and Principal Sarah Larson.

ACE Project
Third grade teacher Dan Heinemann (left) and Principal
Sarah Larson (purple shirt) are the project leads for the
'Active Classroom Engagement' initiative that will begin
in the 2016-17 school year. (Photo courtesy of Marla
Peterson/Madison Metropolitan School District.)
Students will be provided individually fitted standing desks, with stools and anti-fatigue mats. They will also participate in daily 3- to 5-minute, teacher-led movement breaks. This curriculum will be developed by UW-Madison’s Cindy Kuhrasch, the coordinator of the Physical Education Teacher Education program within the Department of Kinesiology.

Research suggests that movement-permissive classrooms have positive effects on students’ engagement and on-task behaviors. Data will be collected at baseline, mid-year and end of year to assess the impact of the ACE project.

Collaborators in the School of Education’s Department of Kinesiology and UW Health will assist in designing movement break curriculum, collecting focus group data, providing pedometers for assessing physical activity and analyzing of data.

ACE will address three key goals: increase on-task behavior, decrease off-task disruptive behaviors and increase student’s daily physical activity.

Larson is an award-winning associate professor of occupational therapy with the School of Education’s Department of Kinesiology.