LiiNK Updates

November 2017

What is the LiiNK Project?

The LiiNK Project (Let's Inspire Innovation 'N Kids) was designed and created by Dr. Debbie Rhea, Associate Dean and Kinesiology Professor at Texas Christian University. It is an ongoing research study that aims to develop the whole child by increasing time for physical activity/recess in schools and creating more equality across content areas. LiiNK incorporates four 15-minute recess breaks daily and 15-minute character development lessons daily. LiiNK recesses are outdoor, unstructured play breaks. LiiNK started in two private schools in Fort Worth in 2014-2015. Over the next three years, 17 public schools joined the project. The project has plans to expand nationwide over the next few years. For more information, check out the LiiNK website and the LiiNK Facebook Page!

LiiNK Playmates

Tips From the Top

My goal as the LiiNK Project Creator is to produce a school environment that creates all aspects of the child: social, emotional, physical, and cognitive health! In turn, the classroom environment becomes much more conducive for learning, the teacher becomes much more relaxed, the students are less stressed, and overall, social behaviors are enhanced through play and character development. Many great stories have come from parents and teachers about the students and their abilities to empathize. I’ll leave you with this one for November: A little boy went home from school one day and saw that his mother seemed stressed trying to pack for a week-end family trip. He said, “Mom, I don’t like seeing you stressed. Let me help you out around the house to get ready to leave. What do you need for me to do?” The mom just about fell over when she heard her son say this. She said, “my son would have not said this before Positive Action and play became such a huge part of his life. He has really become much more empathetic and thoughtful.” Have a great November!

Dr. Rhea

Recess Highlights: Creativity at Work

Students in Chattanooga, OK, put a creative spin on what was originally just some dirt and grass. Over the course of four recesses, they built a farm with hay bales, horses, cows, and trees!
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Positive Action: A Character Development Curriculum

Alongside four daily recesses, LiiNK students enjoy 15-minute Positive Action Lessons daily. Positive Action is "a systematic educational program that promotes an intrinsic interest in learning and encourages cooperation among students. It works by teaching and reinforcing the intuitive philosophy that you feel good about yourself when you do positive actions." Below you will discover some of the learning targets and vocabulary used as a part of the curriculum. As the school-home connection is a valuable tool for reinforcing positive actions, we encourage families to talk about Positive Action at home. Illustrated below is the thoughts-actions-feelings circle. Students will learn positive thoughts lead to positive actions, positive actions lead to positive feelings about ourselves, and positive feelings lead to positive thoughts. Teachers and school faculty will use the TAF cards to reinforce positive behaviors.

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Week 1) Positive Action: To do or cause good things to happen

Week 2) Self-Concept: How you think and feel about yourself

Week 3) Valuable: Precious or great worth

Week 4) Happiness & Success: To feel good about who you are, what you are doing, and how you treat others

Week 5) Unique: To be one of a kind


Week 6) Success: To feel good about who you are, what you are doing, and how you treat others

Week 7) Healthy: To be well or have good health

Week 8) Wellness: To be totally healthy in body, mind, and feelings

Week 9) Creative: To be able to make something new

Week 10) Challenge: A task that calls for special effort


Week 11) Curious: Eager to learn how and why things happen

Week 12) Decision: To think about the choices and pick the best one

Week 13) Time: When something happens; Energy: The force to do something

Week 14) Talent: A natural ability that can be developed

Week 15) Possessions: Things you are responsible for; Money: Coins and bills

Kindergarten Lessons

Kindergarten students take their journey through the Kingdom of Positive Action to the Castle of Self-Concept. Two puppets, Pix-it and Nix-it, lead students through their journey. Pix-it, the raccoon, is wise and experienced, while Nix-It, the Panda, is young and innocent. Throughout their journey, students will earn keys needed to enter the castle. During their lessons, kindergarten students will be introduced to many other forest and jungle friends who are also on their way to the castle. Stories about the animals' experiences serve as the vessel for the Positive Action lessons.

In Unit 1, the jungle animals will teach students how friends and family can help develop students' self-concepts, and how words can affect how people feel about themselves. Lessons in Units 2 and 3 include teaching the students how to take care of themselves and stay healthy, how to use their time wisely, how to care for their possessions and save money, and how to control negative emotions like anger.

Students will be excited to share what Pix-It and Nix-It have been up to and have learned each week.

First Grade Lessons

In Unit 1, the students are introduced to two mice who guide the students through their Positive Action lessons. Maurice is a positive, happy mouse. Marrott is an unhappy mouse, full of self-doubt. Maurice leads Marrott and first grade students to the understanding of how positive actions improve their self-concepts. Students also learn through the experiences of fictional children how their thoughts, actions, and feelings impact their happiness. They learn to flip their negative thoughts into positive ones to improve how they feel and behave.

Throughout Unit 2, students take the Road to Good Health to learn positive actions that will help them to get healthy and strong, take good care of their bodies, and improve how they feel about themselves. Maurice the Mouse visits the students and teaches them about positive actions to keep their bodies clean, and students also learn about getting exercise each day, getting enough sleep, and taking care of their teeth.

In Unit 3, students learn about self-management, why it is important to plan ahead, how to care for and share their possessions, and how to spend money wisely. The students also discuss their talents.

Ask your children what Marrott has learned each week, and they will begin to share what they have learned as well!

Second Grade Lessons

In Unit 1, second grade students learn about Positive Actions through class discussions and realistic fiction stories of children who may think, act, or experience similar events and emotions. Students are also introduced to Eric the Elephant who serves as a reminder to always use positive actions. Students are introduced to the concept of self-control, and how using self-control contributes to having a good self-concept. They learn the difference between a can-do and can't-do attitude.

Throughout Unit 2, students tackle many of the unhealthy choices Scrappy, a fictional Positive Action character, has made. They learn about good personal hygiene, eating nutritious foods, brushing teeth, and getting enough sleep and exercise. Students also learn to always follow instructions for taking medicine, only take medicine meant for them, take medicine only when needed, and never to use illicit drugs.

In Unit 3, the students learn about self-management and self-discipline, using time wisely and planning ahead, using their energy wisely, and being responsible with their possessions. The students also recognize their talents as well as others' talents. Finally, the students discuss their feelings and how to manage negative feelings such as anger.

Third Grade Lessons

In Unit 1, third grade students have class discussions and hear realistic fiction stories to explain and support Positive Action concepts. Students learn if they work hard to do well on a task, they can achieve success. They learn about their self-concepts, and how things and people affect them. Students learn that sometimes when they don't feel good about themselves, it can make them feel bad physically. To improve their mental health, they must improve the way they see themselves. Students learn that only they can control their happiness and success.

In Unit 2, students are introduced to a character, Teresa, who has very bad habits: eating junk, not bathing, wearing dirty clothes, and not exercising. Teresa begins making positive changes by developing healthy habits, such as eating the right foods, maintaining personal cleanliness, exercising, getting sleep and rest, and having good dental hygiene. Students learn about preventing illness by having these healthy habits. Students also learn about proper use of prescription medications.

In Unit 3, the students learn about being well-rounded emotionally, physically, and mentally. The students learn about taking responsibility for their choices, managing their time and possessions wisely (including money), and identifying their emotions. The students celebrate their talents and recognize the talents of others also. Ask your students about these lessons, they would be excited to share what they have learned on their Positive Action journey!

Recess Highlights: Rain, Rain, We're Here to Play!

LiiNK Loves to Play!

Pictured below are members of the LiiNK Team at the 2017 PLAY conference. LiiNK put on a workshop on how to become change agents for play, as well as presented on the following public school results from this past year: off-task behaviors, body mass index (BMI), attentional fatigue, and academic scores. And of course - LiiNK had a blast playing outside with the Clemson Tiger! For a full list of conferences attended and presentations, check out the LiiNK Webiste!
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Can your family swap a half hour of screen time for outdoor family time each week?

We would love to hear from you. Please send us pictures of the fun your family discovers outdoors, along with any other stories, pictures, or videos showing how LiiNK has positively impacted your child or family.

Recommended Reads

LiiNK Leadership Team

Dr. Debbie Rhea (Creator & Director)

Alex Rivchun, MS, MBA (Project Manager)

Laura Clark, MS (Communications Coordinator)

Carol Bollinger, MS (Field Manager)

Candice Williams-Martin (LiiNK Specialist - EMS-ISD)

Kim Jones, MEd (Lead Trainer/Observer)

Dave Farbo, MS (Research Associate)


LiiNK thanks Candice Williams-Martin for gathering several sections of the newsletter!