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Recess for Middle School Students

Physical activity during the school day is important for students of all ages, but according to some teenagers, recess is for younger kids. If you want to encourage students at your teen’s middle or high school to get moving, take a lesson from these two schools in the Wake County, North Carolina, Public School System. (Hint: Just don’t use the word “recess.”)

  • Apex Middle School students don’t have recess; instead, they get 12 minutes of “Blacktop Time” after lunch. The PTA painted the blacktop to mark out various activities to inspire more movement, and adults are on hand to encourage participation.
  • Panther Creek High School offers SMART Lunch, an extended, single lunch period for all students. Students spend half their time eating lunch and half their time participating in a variety of activities, including rotating sports activities that are set up in the gym. Your school could also include active video games, yoga or exercise videos.

Before getting your principal’s buy-in, get creative. Come up with some ways middle schoolers like to be active, be imaginative, or relax, and then list any resources and tools necessary to make it happen. Work with your school wellness team to determine the best time of day to incorporate this free time.