If you talk to seventh to twelfth grade Regents students, you may hear about block scheduling, upcoming tests and papers, and serious classroom discussions. While this is all true, they may not let you in on the other half of the story: every single class in the Logic and Rhetoric School takes at least a five minute break every period to go outside - and study halls take at least ten minutes.
You will often find Latin students marching around the building, reciting declensions, middle schoolers involved in a spirited game of 9 square (a mix between four square and volleyball) and math students pausing from Calculus to play a quick game of 3-on-3. Four regularly scheduled classroom breaks, a forty minute lunch, and students walking from one side of the campus to the other during the five passing periods and you’ll see that physical activity is no small part of the life of a Regents upper school student.
“Although Physical Education classes end at sixth grade at Regents, physical activity is a big thing for us in the Logic and Rhetoric Schools,” says Principal Christopher Webb. “One reason we expanded lunch to 45 minutes this year was to give students more time for physical activity and going outside. We take a break from each class during the block schedule and as much as possible we walk a lap around the school during that time to physically engage. During study halls, we give students an extended break where we let them play football and basketball and walk around. Just because of the nature of the block schedule, students are having regular study halls and regular breaks from class and we have more opportunity for activity than in a traditional schedule. With 45 minute classes and 5 minutes in between, there’s not time to do more than to go from point A to point B so I would argue that the block schedule has expanded time outside."
"Activity does not merely exist during passing periods, breaks, and recess; rather movement is regularly integrated into the Logic and Rhetoric School classes as well," says Principal Christopher Webb. "Students work problems on the board, stand to give speeches and recitations in class, and are also engaged in outdoor labs for their math and sciences as teachers seek to the concepts they are learning with embodied experiences." The block schedule has also increased the ability of teachers to bring group-based and project-based learning into their lesson plans which opens up additional opportunities for movement and physical engagement in the classroom.
No conversation about physical activity in the Logic and Rhetoric School would be complete without a discussion of the vibrant and growing athletics program at Regents. "At the middle school level, there’s at least two days a week of high level physical activity, and at the varsity level it’s four," says Mr. Webb. "I’d say 70% of students do sports at Regents, and 85% of students do sports whether it’s with the school or not.” Current sports include: cross-country, volleyball, basketball, track and field, baseball, golf, tennis and golf with plans to add soccer as soon as we have a useable field on the new site.