Meet Melissa Poggio

Melissa Poggio is the head special education teacher at Charles Barrett Elementary in Alexandria. She’s also a RunningBrooke Movement Mentor! She’s part of this special group of dedicated teachers who share information about RB opportunities with their fellow teachers and provide invaluable programmatic feedback to the Move2Learn staff. They’re simply awesome!

We “sat down” with her  recently to learn a little bit more about her.

RB: Tell us a little about when and why you became one of our Movement Mentors.

MP: I became a Movement Mentor two years ago when our fabulous music teacher, Ms. Kat Toton, asked if I would be a co-mentor with her. As a special education teacher, I’ve always incorporated movement into my teaching in some way, whether it be counting in math or jumping while we make the sound for the letter J.  It only seemed natural to make the leap to being a Movement Mentor!

RB: What’s your favorite part of being a Movement Mentor?

MP:  All of it!  I especially love getting my school and students engaged in movement.  My Masters thesis was on the importance of play in the elementary classroom, and it was so important to me from early on to include movement.  When I started teaching in the upper elementary grades, I realized how difficult this could be: most movement videos and games are geared toward younger children. I’ve loved finding different ways to engage my students in grades 4 and 5 — the Movement Challenges are great because all of the students love a good competition.

RB:  We understand your kids come into your classroom, go straight for the Move2Learn activity cube and get right on their brain boosts. That’s so awesome!

MP: They do, and they love it!  One of my 2nd grade groups comes in right from lunch, where they’ve been sitting for 30 minutes, so they’re coming ready to move.  Our quick movement break helps get their “wiggles and giggles” out, and then we move into multi-sensory reading instruction. It only takes a couple of minutes to do, but it gets them ready to learn for the entire group session!

RB: What’s one thing you wish people would talk about less and what’s one thing you wished people spoke more about?

MP: Transitioning back to in-person learning. I wish, instead, we were talking more about mental health. During the COVID closure, we had daily lessons on social-emotional health, and it was nice to see that connection in school and seeing teachers and students have balance between school and their lives! Now that students are re-adjusting to in-person learning, the balance isn’t there.

RB: What’s one of your favorite forms of exercise/activity?

MP: I love going for walks, especially with friends! It’s a nice way to get in some physical activity and socialize at the same time.

RB: We agree, Ms. Poggio, nothing like a walk with friends! Thanks for sharing!