CHALK/Just Move

New York, New York


Looking for creative ways to meet the state standard of 120 minutes of physical activity per week, and facing space and scheduling constraints, a group of innovative schools in New York City has employed a classroom-based activity program called CHALK/Just Move. First launched in 1999 in Washington Height’s PS 128M, CHALK/Just Move now reaches 15 schools in Washington Heights, Inwood, and Harlem. Developed in collaboration with NewYork Presbyterian Hospita/Columbia University Medical Center, CHALK/Just Move features an academically-integrated curriculum of a wide range of 5-minute in-class activity breaks. Color-coded flashcards explain the movements and corresponding academic lesson, with yellow for stretching and held-poses, and blue for intense cardiovascular sequences and plyometrics. Student ownership is key in making the program fun and embraced by kids. Students themselves are photographed as the demonstration models on each card, and in-class leaders help teachers run each break. A true homegrown approach, the cards and lesson plans are developed at the central level, then customized by the staff and students of each school at the start of the year. Together with other forward-thinking developments such as yoga, community gardens, and full-time P.E. instruction, CHALK/Just Move is contributing to an active and happy student body.