Teaching That Engages The BODY, BRAIN & BEING

2017 Healthy Schools Summit gets GROOVY!

In March, the South East Education Cooperative’s Healthy Schools Program combined efforts with PartnerSHIP 4 Health, N.D. Department of Health and Dakota Medical Foundation to do something a bit different for this year’s Healthy Schools Summit. With intel from colleagues in the field, a decision was made to bring in a FANTASTIC keynote speaker and instead of just sharing her knowledge with our Summit attendees, we coordinated a SchoolsAlive! Family Fun Night that would allow to connect with kids, families and community partners!

The Head and Co-Visionary of Groove EDGEucation’s Michelle Hillier made her way south from Canada to share with us her fantastic movement-based teaching approach that engages the BODY, BRAIN & BEING while learning. The goal is to create learning environments that equally engage the physical, cognitive, social and emotional self and have techniques and resources to ensure it is student-centered (students problem solve, discover and make their own decisions), inclusive (simple, functional movements used with repetition make it adaptable for different students and abilities), integrated (combines multiple curricula together) and differentiated (meets multiple learning styles including kinesthetic, auditory, visual, logical, musical, interpersonal and intrapersonal).

Grooving also helps to nurture the Entire Self:

  1. Physical Literacy – ability to move with competence & confidence in a variety of settings and develop the motivation, knowledge & understanding that establishes purposeful physical pursuits as an integral part of a healthy lifestyle
  2. Social/Emotional Learning – development of skills that lead to understanding & managing emotions, positive sense of relationships & community
  3. Executive Functioning – set of cognitive processes that are necessary for the cognitive control of behavior that facilitate the attainment of a chosen goal

On the evening of March 29, approximately 300 community members joined together to GROOVE at Concordia’s Olson Forum Gym and learn about healthy lifestyles and area organizations/programs/events that are available to partake in for fun family activities. Michelle led multiple Groove sessions throughout the event that got everyone on their feet, moving their bodies, laughing and grooving together. Take a moment to watch the great videos we were able to capture!

Nearly 30 organizations brought activities to share with children and parents to experiment, move and learn while others donated prizes for kids to win after completing a passport! Organizations included: Great Rides, Boys and Girls Club, Concordia Science Academy, YMCA of Cass Clay, Fargo-Cass Public Health, Cass County Extension, NDSU Extension, Family HealthCare, Essentia Health, Sanford Health, Family Wellness, Fuel Up to Play 60, American Gold Gymnastics, Sanford WellU program, Nature Play, NDSU athletics (golf, basketball, track & field, football and wrestling), Red River Valley Zoo, Babe Ruth, Skate City.

The next morning, March 30, physical education teachers, classroom teachers, school administrators, out-of-school-time program staff, wellness coordinators, physical therapists, registered dietians, and more came together at Dakota Medical Foundation to learn HOW to embed this type of movement-based learning into their classrooms, schools, programs, etc. Michelle was able to get everyone to hone in on the real movement: stomping, drumming, dramatic movements, multiple dance types, meditation, slow-mo, and the list goes on! Check out a bit of video we took – most of the time we were having to much fun Grooving to video. 🙂

All attendees were also given access to The Groove EDGEucation Online Resource Library which is home to loads of kinesthetic lessons and activities for various grades and subjects like numeracy, literacy, physical education, Kindergarten, dance, with more lessons and subjects being added each year! It also includes lesson/activity PDFs, video tutorials, downloadable music and an online community for discussion and support.

Here are a couple comments from Summit attendees:

“Michelle was an amazing, personable presenter. She had great content and was easy to understand and follow. I wish I would have brought more staff to hear her speak because what she did and said can easily be carried over and used in our programs.”

“Our staff involvement is sometimes closed-minded. Michelle was PHENOMENAL!!”

“Awesome session that we can bring back to our schools and workplaces.”

“Super fun and easy to take back to my afterschool program.”

“The ‘You Can’t get it Wrong!’ allows all to participate and not be judged.”


Attendees were also given the option to attend a Movement in the Workplace session with Michelle, or finish out the day with Let’s Move Active Schools Physical Activity Leader (PAL) training with trainers Pam Powers and Nancy Raso Eklund. The PAL Learning System is a dynamic, cutting-edge professional development for physical education and physical activity. It is adaptable to individual school environments and PALs are set up for success with 12 months of continued learning and support in an online community where PALs and trainers from all across the country engage.

During the PAL training, participants were equipped with:

  • Leadership skills to foster support for Let’s Move! Active Schools in their school/district.
  • The knowledge and know-how to serve as a local champion for Active Schools
  • Data to demonstrate the effectiveness of a Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program (CSPAP)
  • The ability to plan and implement efficient lessons; increase physical activity opportunities; promote an Active School environment and evaluate programmatic progress
  • Establish support for implementing 60 minutes a day of physical activity for all school-age youth.


For more information or to see upcoming trainings and events made available through SEEC’s Healthy Schools Program, visit http://www.ndseec.com/healthyschools or contact our Healthy Schools Program Coordinator Keely Ihry at 701-446-3168 or ihryk@ndseec.com

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