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The benefits of physical health go beyond our bodies—our cognitive skills also improve with physical fitness. Our Physical Well-being involves proper nutrition, regular exercise, and quality Sleep. Students with good overall Physical Well-being benefit from improved cognitive skills, which in turn can boost academic performance including learning to read and write.
Physical Well-being is dependent on several important components:
Adolescents experience many physical, cognitive, and social-emotional changes triggered by the beginning of puberty. Their Physical Well-being can also impact the timing of puberty which may be delayed by nutritional deficiencies or start earlier in girls who are obese. Physical Well-being is also tightly intertwined with psychological well-being (see Emotion). Each can have a significant impact on the other, and this interplay ultimately defines a student's overall health. For example, just like in adults, stress in children can lead to increased levels of stress hormones, high blood pressure, obesity, and other negative effects. Managing stress is an important part of maintaining Physical Well-being.
Physically acting out a text or enacting major themes from texts enhances reading comprehension, particularly as texts become more complex.
Advance graphic organizers link prior knowledge to upcoming learning to help students anticipate and understand the structure of new information.
When annotating, students engage deeply with a text and make their thinking visible while reading.
Audiobooks allow students to hear fluent reading and experience books above their reading skills.
When adolescents can connect and communicate with authentic audiences about their interests and values, reading and writing become more personally meaningful and relevant.
Students practice making and finding meaning in texts through book discussions moderated by teachers to varying degrees.
Building positive and trusting relationships with learners allows them to feel safe; a sense of belonging; and that their academic, cognitive, and social and emotional needs are supported.
Checklists and rubrics help students understand expectations as they navigate more complex tasks and assignments.
When peers are able to work together to plan, draft, edit, and revise during the Composition process, their writing quality improves.
When students express information visually, they are activating more cognitive processes while problem solving and increasing their experience with alternate texts.
As part of a varied curriculum, explicit instruction in reading comprehension strategies from teachers can help older students use strategies meaningfully and flexibly.
Seeing and using new words repeatedly and in many contexts is critical for Vocabulary acquisition.
Explicitly teaching strategies for planning, writing, and revising texts improves students' writing quality.
Interpreting and composing discipline-specific texts requires tailoring literacy strategies, like annotating or asking questions, to the disciplinary goals and practices.
Increasing how much and how frequently students write improves both their writing quality and content knowledge.
Providing constructive feedback supports students' writing development by letting them know how to improve their writing.
Visiting places connected to classroom learning provides opportunities to deepen understanding through firsthand experiences.
As students move through multimodal stations pertaining to a particular unit, the social and physical nature of the activity supports deeper understanding.
Adding gestures and motions to complement learning activates more cognitive processes for recall and understanding, particularly within content area instruction.
Setting overall goals with actionable steps for achievement can help students feel more confident in their skills and abilities.
Visualizing how ideas fit together helps students construct meaning and strengthens their recall.
During guided inquiry, teachers foster student autonomy by designing lessons centered on meaningful questions in which students locate, analyze, and present relevant information on their own or in small groups.
Independent reading promotes literacy by emphasizing student choice with teacher support in selecting books, as well as setting the expectations that everyone is a reader.
Having private or semi-private spaces where students can go to support Self-regulation and individual deliberate practice.
As students work with and process information by discussing, organizing, and sharing it together, they deepen their understanding.
Journaling allows students to reflect on their thinking and feelings, process their learning, and connect new information to what they know.
Through short but regular mindfulness activities, students develop their awareness and ability to focus.
Creating patterns for remembering content information, important Vocabulary, narrative structures, etc.
Brain breaks that include movement allow learners to refresh their thinking and focus on learning new information.
Instruction in multiple formats allows students to activate different cognitive skills and Background Knowledge that are necessary to remember procedural and content information.
Connecting information to music and dance moves enhances Short-term and Long-term Memory by drawing on auditory processes and the cognitive benefits of physical activity.
When students provide constructive feedback on each other's work, they learn to give relevant suggestions, receive specific ways to improve their writing, and engage in Metacognition.
Having students teach their knowledge, skills, and understanding to their classmates strengthens learning and increases Motivation.
Maintaining consistent routines, structures, and supports ensures that students are able to trust and predict what will happen next.
When teachers provide students with model texts for their writing, they learn to identify effective elements to incorporate into their own writing.
Reading aloud to adolescents models Reading Fluency as texts become more complex and disciplinary in nature and therefore, more difficult to understand.
Teachers can provide individualized support through one-on-one conferences to assess reading comprehension, understanding of content, and spark further interest in reading.
When students explain to others, they deepen their understanding and gain confidence in their learning.
When students monitor their comprehension, performance, and use of strategies when reading and writing, they build their Metacognition and actively participate in the reading process.
Sentence frames or stems provide language support for students' writing and participation in academic discussions.
Providing a story or concept map prior to lessons or having students create their own maps during or after reading helps learners identify and organize key elements of a text.
Bringing students' every day literacy practice of texting into the classroom provides regular, low-stakes practice communicating with authentic audiences.
Transforming written text into audio supports learning by activating different parts of a learner's brain for comprehension.
During reading, giving students the opportunity to explain their thinking process aloud allows them to recognize the strategies they use, solidify their comprehension, and move knowledge into their Long-term Memory.
Think-pair-share encourages meaningful student discussion by allowing for extra processing time and multiple shares.
Writing conferences allow students to fully immerse, share, reflect, and receive feedback during the writing process, promoting Motivation for continuing the sometimes lengthy revision process that occurs in the upper grades.
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