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Exercising new ways to motivate students

By encouraging the students to flex their physical muscles they are helping them flex their mental muscles, too! (KBOI Staff photo)

A Caldwell teacher is inspiring her students to be better learners — all starting in the gym!

Sherry Adams has been a P.E. teacher at Lewis and Clark Elementary since the school opened in 2004.

Since then, she has pioneered several creative ways to motivate students.

This year, Ms. Adams began a school-wide walking program. She encourages students to log miles on the school's track with fun incentives like awarding the top scoring class a 'golden shoe' and adding charms to their necklace when they meet their goals.

Yet, the best incentive of all is that they're realizing it's not just helping the students physically!

"There is a cool correlation we are finding," said Ms. Adams. "The bi-product is they are achieving higher in the classroom!"

Through collecting data, they have discovered that by encouraging the students to flex their physical muscles they are helping them flex their mental muscles, too! The school as a whole is seeing improved classroom participation and test scores.

"I try to do that for the kids, make that correlation that when you are exercising, you are building brain cells," said Ms. Adams. "When you have those extra brain cells, you get to use them in the classroom!"

As it turns out, P.E. teachers have a unique opportunity to inspire an entire school of students and Ms. Adams does not take that lightly!

"Whether [it's] after they have walked a mile on the track at recess after lunch or after they come back from her class doing circuits or running laps, she wants them to be in the best state to be L.C. (Lewis and Clark) learners," said Leigh Peebles, Principle at Lewis and Clark Elementary. "She helps get them there!"

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