The Effects of Recess Before Lunch on Students Behaviors

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Introduction
When I was younger recess was a daily activity in my school. Like most of my fellow peers, I felt that recess was my favorite part of the day. As I continued my education and later became a teacher in New York City, I slowly saw recess disappear. At my current school, recess is almost nonexistent. Students only get recess when the weather is above 60 degrees and an administrator is available to accompany the aids outside. I currently teach a fifth grade class in an urban community. Many students in my classroom and students throughout the school have behavioral issues that are affecting their academic and social relationships. The purpose of my action research was to see if providing recess fifteen minutes before lunch plays a positive role in improving student’s behaviors during the rest of the lunch period. My hope is that by providing behavioral at-risk students with the opportunity to play outside before they eat lunch, there will be a decrease the amount of behavioral incidences. I strongly believed that incorporating recess time everyday would help students release energy and be more focused throughout the rest of the day. As a classroom teacher, I feel that if students are more focused they will know how to handle behavioral issues more appropriately. This research helped me find out what the effects of daily recess are on student’s behavior. The participants in the study were a mix of girls and boys. I decided to focus my attention on third, fourth and fifth grade students who frequently are suspended because of inappropriate school behavior that disrupts their learning and others.

This action research is important because of the pressure to increase activity in school has come from efforts to combat childhood obesity, because the results may aid in the awareness of the importance in having daily recess as a part of students’ curriculum. Many organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Association of Sports and physical Education, and National association of Early Childhood Specialists in States Departments of Education all believe that recess plays an important role in developing the whole child. It was important to me because I believe students should have time in the day to exercise their bodies so they can be ready to exercise their minds. This study was conducted to try to increase the knowledge known about the effects of daily health-related physical activity on a student’s behavior. Limitations of the Study

This study has a few limitations. First, this study will only be discussing information gathered on six children. Therefore, there is no assurance that this information can be used to generalize to all students. A second limitation to this study is the time frame. This study was taken place over two weeks, due to city wide state testing.

Literature Review
There are many articles and debates that discuss the extent recess plays on a child’s academic, physical and emotional well-being. The purpose of this study is to examine the effects of recess on students with behavioral issues. For this study, I wanted to see how recess before lunch changes students’ behaviors in the lunchroom. This study will focus specifically on inappropriate school behaviors during lunch time in order to explore the following questions: Does fifteen minutes of physical activity before consuming lunch help stop bad behaviors in the lunchroom and classroom?

The purpose of my action research is to gain more of an understanding of how daily recess plays a role in students’ behavior. This review of literature will include research on the impact recess plays on student’s developments and the relationship between physical activity and behavior.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (2007), 14 to 18 percent of United States children in grades 1 through 6 get 15 minutes or less of recess daily. About 40 percent of schools have reported that...
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