Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Physical Education


College of Education

First Advisor

Collin A. Webster


This dissertation contains three studies that advance the knowledge base on classroom movement integration (MI), specifically within low socioeconomic (SES) schools. Study One examined the current level and types of MI being utilized in a low SES school district. Study Two and Study Three focused on one low SES school. Study Two compared movement breaks in traditional general education classrooms to other in-school PA opportunities (i.e., time in physical education, recess, and movement facilitative classrooms) regarding their associations with student off-task behavior, while Study Three evaluated an MI training delivered to classroom teachers

For Study One, classroom teachers (N = 48) in eight elementary schools in a rural, low SES school district in the southeastern U.S. were systematically observed using the System for Observing Student Movement in Academic Routines and Transitions (SOSMART). Trained observers (N = 10) observed the teachers’ classrooms randomly and on unannounced days over one academic calendar year. Descriptive statistics were calculated for the frequency and types of MI being used. The majority of teachers (n=44) were observed using MI. Of the 9398 individual observation scans across the year, students engaged in movement 41.3% of observed time. Student movement was observed to be teacher directed 14.4% of scans and non-teacher directed 26.9% of scans. Non-teacher directed movement consisted mostly of transitions (M = 99.5) in which movement occurred as a result of pre-established classroom rules, protocols, and organization. This is one of the first studies to provide objective information about MI in a low SES school district. These descriptive data lay the groundwork for future correlational and experimental research that can lead to the development of effective intervention design and teacher professional development training to increase MI use in low SES school contexts.

Systematic observation protocols for student off-task behavior and teacher redirects were developed for Study Two. For four non-consecutive weeks across one academic year, observations of off-task behavior, teacher redirects, and PA opportunities across the school day were conducted with students from elementary classrooms (N=6) in one low SES school. Percent agreement between codes for off-task behavior and redirects was calculated to determine the consistency of the two measures. A multi-level mixed effects logistic regression explored the likelihood of a teacher redirect at 5, 10, 15, 30, and 60 minutes post each PA opportunity and identified the association of student participation in the different school-based PA opportunities to the occurrences of students’ off task. Teacher redirects were found to be a suitable proxy for measuring occurrences of student off-task behavior. The only PA opportunity associated with teacher redirects was movement breaks in traditional classrooms, where redirects were found to be less likely to occur at all post-PA opportunity time points. Findings of this study provide a teacher-driven measurement protocol for examining off-task behavior and further support the benefits of classroom-based PA for reducing children’s off-task behaviors during regular classroom time.

The purpose of Study Three was to evaluate an MI training for classroom teachers at the school from Study Two. Participants in this study were classroom teachers (n=6), the activity lab supervisors (n=2), and the school principal (n=1). The training was recorded compared to recommended best practices for teacher professional development, Less than half (M = 42%) of best practices were evident in the training. Interviews with participants led to the identification of three themes, each with two subthemes concerning the strengths and weaknesses of the training: a) training purpose, b) challenges, and (c) future training recommendations. It is important for future research to align MI training design and resources provided with current recommendations for professional development and to ensure stakeholder perceptions of MI trainings are identified and utilized.