Archive for July, 2010

Michelle Obama Discusses Childhood Obesity

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

Here at SPARK, we closely watch First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Campaign. A few years ago, the Obamas’ pediatrician suggested that they pay more attention to their children’s’ health, and the First Lady began to realize the incredible obesity issue among America’s youth.

AOL Health interviews Mrs. Obama about childhood obesity and the changes that parents and schools can make in order to reverse the startling numbers of unhealthy kids. It is estimated that 1/3 of America’s young people are obese, but Mrs. Obama believes that it does not have to be their future.

Mrs. Obama discusses several small steps to help parents create healthy lifestyles for their children. She suggests limiting TV time to the weekends, which forces kids to find other entertainment, usually involving movement, and encourages parents to practice balance by allowing their kids to enjoy a slice of cake at a birthday party occasionally, rather than eliminating it altogether. In the Obama household, they removed processed and sugary snacks from their cabinets, and increased the consumption of fruits, vegetables, and water.

Mrs. Obama understands that healthy eating habits and weight discussions can be sensitive topics between parents and children, and she suggests a great way to approach the topic. “The flip side to obesity can be eating disorders, and we certainly don’t  want to encourage the reverse trend…one of the things that we try to do in our home is not really talk about weight,” she explains, “The campaign of Let’s Move is not about how our kids look, this isn’t vanity or ego. It’s really about how our kids feel and it’s about their health.

In the below video, Obama discusses some of the individual successes as well as the long-term goals of the Let’s Move Campaign. Update 07/10: Physical Education and the iPad

Monday, July 19th, 2010

New Dynamic Rubric for iPad:

It’s mid-summer and although we’re not trying to get you back to school too soon, we do want you to be prepared when the time comes. So, we’ve added the first of our new iPad features for a handful of 3-6 Instructional Units. Check out our new Dynamic Rubrics and Class Roster templates.

Each Rubric and Roster template is given in XLS format and has been designed to look great and function well on iPad and laptops alike. Currently, we’ve posted these tools in the following units (3-6 Instructional Media Library): Aerobic Games, Chasing & Fleeing, Group Fitness, and Racquets & Paddles.

Here’s the quick-tips version on how they work:
(Numbers App is required for iPad)

  1. Visit and download a Dynamic Rubric and Class Roster.
  2. Open the files in Microsoft Excel or Apple Numbers.
  3. Type student names into the Class Roster for quick cut-and-paste into each rubric. See tabs along the bottom of the spreadsheet for 8 separate classes.
  4. Save the rubric in an organized Rubrics folder.
  5. After names are entered into your rubric, connect iPad, select your iPad device in iTunes and select the Apps tab.
  6. Click on the Numbers App, then click “Add…” below the Numbers Documents listing.
  7. Choose the rubric you’d like to work with and click open.
  8. Sync your iPad and you’re ready to work!

Look for detailed iPad tutorials this Fall in the SPARKfamily .org Resource Center.

Enjoy the rest of the summer. We’re looking forward to serving you in the 2010-11 school year!

Aaron Hart
Development Director

Physical Education vs. Physical Activity

Monday, July 19th, 2010

This week Michelle Obama hosted a live chat and took questions from the field as they announced the new look to the Let’s Move! website. This movement has been exceptional way to raise awareness and a call to action to improve the health of our families in this country.

One disturbing piece of information continues to hamper physical education successfully moving forward. The terms “physical activity” and “physical education” are often used interchangeably, yet they differ in important ways. Understanding the difference between the two is critical to understanding why both contribute to the development of healthy, active children. Think of this: Physical Activity is a behavior. Physical Education (PE) is a core subject area with a curriculum that includes physical activity.

Here is NASPE’s definition of physical activity vs. physical education:

To those of us at SPARK, and certainly to the researchers, active classes is a hallmark of quality Physical Education. A PE class in which students are standing or sitting most of the time cannot be a good PE class. PE is about teaching through the physical. The goal is to teach movement skills, teamwork, and positive social interactions, as well as improve fitness and promote the joy of movement by getting students active. Right?

What are your thoughts??

-Kymm Ballard, Ed.D