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49ers Help Students Stay Fit During Distance Learning

Over the winter break, Santa Clara Unified School District (SCUSD) students will be staying fit with a little help from the 49ers. The 49ers Foundation launched its Digital Huddle at the end of November, a hub of free education and fitness resources for teachers.

“It’s taking all those physical exercises that [the 49ers] were creating, and the tutorials of how to do them right, correctly and safe and putting it in a fun format, where the kids have fun doing it,” said Angie Scott, SCUSD’s Physical Education Curriculum Specialist.

Some of the initial programs offered in the digital huddle are presented in a “This or That” format, allowing students to express themselves while they exercise. Their “This or That” selection determines which exercise they do. Not only is the format fun for kids, but it meets local and state physical education standards.

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“All of the education content is Common Core Standard and Next Generation Science Standard (NGSS) aligned and the same with the fitness content, which is aligned with California State Fitness standards,” said the 49ers Foundation in a press release. “The goal of doing this was to make it easy for teachers and coaches to integrate the lessons into their curriculum and not have to worry if it would meet state standards.”

Over 200 teachers and coaches across 45 Bay Area school districts have found ways to use the Foundation’s programs during distance learning, including Danny Okazaki, the Physical Education Teacher at Bracher Elementary School. Okazaki likes the program because it’s accessible to everyone.

“At Bracher, we focus on a lot of bodyweight and non-equipment sessions because some of the kids don’t have anything or space to do it. So, I think it’s a great introduction for kids for other exercises,” said Okazaki.

It’s also helpful that the kids see a familiar face. Ryan Dillard, who is the PREP Coordinator with the 49ers and works closely with SCUSD students, is the one performing the exercises.

“The guy that runs it, Coach Ryan, he’s actually come out to our school last two years, and he’s been in charge of the program. He’s a really high energy guy, great with the kids. So, I like it, because we’ve had exposure to him in the program before and we’ve had a lot of positive feedback from parents and the kids about him coming out and doing stuff,” said Okazaki. “So, giving [kids] something else to do during the break, or some other videos to watch with their family and that familiar face for them, I think is really good.”

Scott says the exercises will be an asset to teachers after the holiday break because they provide “brain break” type exercises that will keep children focused while doing digital learning.

“If you can get up every 20 or 30 minutes and do a brain break activity, number one, you’re re-energizing yourself, which increases the focus and attention given to the academia that’s being taught, which then increases the retention, which increases the learning,” said Scott. “Exercise and movement are more important than ever in this distance learning.”

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