Archive for June, 2012


How Active is Your CA Teen?

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

Extrapolated from Health Policy Brief, UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, May 2011

Many California Teens Do Not Participate in Physical Education How Active is Your CA Teen?

California requires 400 minutes of physical education every 10 days for middle and high school students. Despite these requirements, more than one third (38% of California adolescents, 1.3 million teens in all) report not participating in PE at school. Moreover, the percentage of teens participating in PE drops precipitously with age, from 95% participation at age 12 to just 23% at age 17 in part because many high

school students obtain exemptions from PE for the last two years of school. This decline in PE participation with age is consistent with national estimates. Furthermore, participation in PE is higher among boys than girls (66% vs. 59%, respectively).

Experts recommend daily participation in PE to increase physical activity among youth and promote the development of healthy exercise habits. Increasing the number of schools that require daily PE is also a Healthy People 2020 goal. Despite this, only 42% of California teens report participating in PE on a daily basis. Furthermore, daily PE participation varies considerably with age, dropping from 62% among 12 year olds to just 15% among 17 year olds.

California Teens Don’t Get Enough Physical Activity

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 60 minutes of daily physical activity for children and teens. In California less than one-fifth of adolescents (19%) are physically active for at least 60 minutes every day (Exhibit 3). Although rates are low for both boys and girls, 25% of boys meet current physical activity recommendations compared to just 13% of girls. These findings are consistent with national

data. In 2009, 18% of high school students nationally had participated in at least 60 minutes of physical activity on each of the past seven days, with 24% of boys and 11% of girls attaining this level of physical activity.

Participation in Physical Education at School Linked to More Overall Physical Activity

School-based PE is an effective method for increasing physical activity and improving physical fitness among youth. For California adolescents, participating in physical education is associated with an additional 18 minutes of physical activity each week, adjusting for age, gender, race and income. These results suggest that participating in PE can contribute to increased levels of overall physical activity for California teens.

PE HS steps copyQuality middle and high school physical education programs exist

SPARK, developed by researchers and educators at San Diego State University, disseminates two, evidence-based secondary physical education programs:  SPARK Middle School and SPARK High School. Each offers CA physical educators innovative and standards-based curricular materials, training, content-matched equipment, and extensive follow up support.

Early Childhood Teaching Tips: Stop and Start Signals

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Spark Physical Activity Lesson PlansIn order to keep children on task and provide instruction during lessons, it is important to teach children to respond quickly and consistently to start and stop signals. This will allow more time to be spent on activity rather than class management.  There are many different types of stop and start signals.  There are many other types of signals you can use that are successful for preschool age children. We recommend using music as often as possible.  Music is fun, encourages movement and is easy to hear turn on and off.  Other ideas include:

Whistle cues
Claps and response claps
Visual signal (hold a hand up or turn the lights off and on)
Verbal cues (“1-2-3 eyes on me”)
Bang a tambourine or other musical instrument
For a sample SPARK physical activity lesson, Click Here.
    • Whistle cues
    • Claps and response claps
    • Visual signal (hold a hand up or turn the lights off and on)
    • Verbal cues (“1-2-3 eyes on me”)
    • Bang a tambourine or other musical instrument

For a sample SPARK physical activity lesson, Click Here.

Stay Fit and Have Fun with Outdoor Summertime Activities

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

No season stands close to summer when it comes to outdoor activity potential.

From the beach to your local park, there are a million ways to stay fit, have fun, and enjoy the summer sun.

Let’s dive right in, shall we? Here’s a look at ways you can stay fit in the summer that won’t put you in the heat exhaustion red-zone.

  • The beach. It can be much more difficult to swim laps in the ocean, but there are a ton of activities along the sandy shores or pounding waves you can take part in to stay in shape.
    • Volleyball. If you think jumping over and over again is hard enough, try doing it in a few inches of sand. Fortunately, friendly games of volleyball are so much fun that you won’t even realize you’re working nearly every major muscle group in your body.
    • Running. Remember Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed at the end of the montage in Rocky III? They were running on the beach because it offers a high level of resistance, increasing muscle-building potential. Plus, you can just hop in the ocean (or lake, depending on where you live) and splash around a bit to cool off.
  • The pool. If you’re going to get a workout, you might as well do it in the cool waters of a pool! Whether you’re alone or have a few friends to entertain, there are plenty of athletic aquatic activities you can do.
    • Swimming. Generally, swimming laps around a pool is a solitary thing, so put on some tunes and spend the next hour practicing your backstroke. Even moderate levels of effort can burn hundreds of calories per hour.
    • Water polo. Anyone who has tried to tread water for any length of time knows how difficult it is to stay afloat. Add that difficulty to the sheer competition inherent in any friendly game of water polo and you’ve got yourself a satisfying workout.
  • The wilderness. Whether you live near a coastal area or in a landlocked region, you can always count on your local wilderness to offer many outdoor opportunities.Stay Fit and Have Fun with Outdoor Summertime Activities
    • Hiking. Walking is a great way to burn fat and spend some casual time out in the sun, so stock a backpack with healthy snacks and water. You’ll add weight resistance, plus you can stay out longer and enjoy the views.
    • Camping. You’ll get more benefit from hiking a few miles to your campsite than you will parking your car and setting up a tent right next to it. State parks are abundant in this country, and so are national forests and wilderness areas. Both offer fun and beautiful ways to get exercise while enjoying the serene beauty of your local forest, desert, or grassland.
  • The park. Get a group together and head to the park. Here are some great ways to work up a sweat in the summer afternoons with your buddies.
    • Basketball. You don’t need a group of people to work on your jump shot, but it helps when it comes to getting an intense workout. One-on-one basketball forces you to make all the moves yourself, get your own rebounds and take your own shots. There’s no sitting up behind the play to catch your breath here.
    • Frisbee. Once you’ve mastered your forehand and backhand throws, graduate to Ultimate, a game rapidly increasing in popularity. Ultimate Frisbee joins elements of football and soccer, but this game is discs only. It’s a great workout, and it’s accessible by males and females alike, so create coed teams and have a blast.
    • Wheels. Take a simple bike ride around your town (make sure you wear your helmet!), or jump on your skateboard and practice your tricks. It’s not as easy as it looks on TV, and it’ll give your ankles and good workout.

Whatever you do to stay fit during the summer months, remember to stay safe in the heat by:

  • Drinking more water than you think you need. Even after you’ve finished your activity, your body will be recovering. Keep the fluids coming. Fruit is also a great source of energy, and who doesn’t love cold watermelon in the summer?
  • Taking breaks. In the interest of preventing sunburn as well as heat exhaustion, make sure to take breaks often. Escape the sun under a tree and hydrate.
  • Playing in the early mornings or late afternoons. The best way to escape the heat is to simply wait for it to pass. Summer mornings and evenings are perfect times to play, when it’s still warm out but the sun hasn’t yet reached scorching-status.
  • Wearing sunscreen. Look out for the health of your largest organ by protecting it from harmful UV rays. Reapply often! Hey, you’ll still be able to get a tan.

Above all, remember this: It’s summer. Throw a Frisbee. Go for a swim. Go camping.

School will start again before you know it.

“Vallone del Salto, au fond le Madom da Sgiof” Photo Credit: Bertrand Semelet

Healthy Kids Challenge: Action Idea, Tip Sheet, and June Challenge

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012
Action Idea: Bumps on a Bagel Recipe, A Taste and Learn Activity

Ingredients:

  • 4 whole grain bagels, split in half
  • 4 small ripe bananas
  • ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup raisins

This Taste and Learn Activity is based upon the HKC Healthy6 Snack Attack message which teaches kids to choose foods with added sugar and fat less often or in smaller amounts. Access the entire activity in the Monthly Action Idea section of our web site.

Tip Sheet: Water – The First Choice!

Help kids think about what they drink—starting with water! Encourage kids
to select water as a healthy thirst quencher instead of sugary beverages! Use
these ideas and activities to get them thinking about what they are drinking…

For all 6 tips to help kids do a Drink Think, go to our Take Healthy Action with Kids page and click on Parent Tip Sheet Download.

June Challenge: Plan Your Snack Attack

Summer activities require “grab and go” snacks. Ahead of time, mix favorite whole grain cereals, dried fruits and nuts for a healthy snack and put in a plastic baggie. Add a baggie of baby carrots or cherry tomatoes and you have snacks ready at a moments’ notice.
For more challenges, tips, and ideas like these: http://bit.ly/freewows

Early Childhood Teaching Tips: Increasing Physical Education Participation

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012
Every teacher has encountered children who are not disruptive, but demonstrate that are clearly not ready to participate in structured physical activity.
It is essential to develop a positive learning environment that is physically and emotionally safe. The goal is that children feel secure, are able to take risks, try new things, help one another, and see themselves as part of the class. Try the following strategies:
Allow the child too simply observe the activity.
Be patient. Don’t force the child.
Give the child a manipulative and see if any exploration begins.
Be certain children have progressed through developmentally appropriate activities.
Digress to simpler tasks.
Partner the child with an out-going classmate.
Send activities home to engage children in more practice time in a different setting.
For a sample SPARK physical activity lesson including a Family Fun activity to send home, Click Here.

Every teacher has encountered children who are not disruptive, but demonstrate that are clearly not ready to participate in structured physical activity.

It is essential to develop a positive learning environment that is physically and emotionally safe. The goal is that children feel secure, are able to take risks, try new things, help one another, and see themselves as part of the class. Try the following strategies:

Allow the child too simply observe the activity.Increasing Participation- Spark PE

Be patient. Don’t force the child.

Give the child a manipulative and see if any exploration begins.

Be certain children have progressed through developmentally appropriate activities.

Digress to simpler tasks.

Partner the child with an out-going classmate.

Send activities home to engage children in more practice time in a different setting.

For a sample SPARK physical activity lesson including a Family Fun activity to send home, Click Here.

PE Grant Guide

Monday, June 18th, 2012

Once budget season rolls around, it’s very common for educators and administrators to hold their breath.

Unfortunately, PE is often one of the first departments to get cut from the budget in dire situations—unless you can do either of two things: secure grant funding that ensures not only your program’s existence, but its vitality and success; and create a PE environment that uses few financial resources, reducing its visibility in the budget.

Below, you’ll find examples of both. First, we’ll look at two grants that can help your school or organization come up with the funds it needs to provide quality education to youth.

Next, we’ll look at an example of the kind of PE program you should implement to greatly increase your chances of landing a grant, even if that grant isn’t specific to PE. Many programs are free to join and cost very little.

After all, there is a veritable treasure trove of research out there that proves how helpful physical activity is when it comes to learning, retention, and comprehension. A solid PE program could have your underperforming school turned around before you know it.

Innovative Ideas Challenge

  • Highlights: $4 million available, deadline to apply: September 1, 2012

The California Endowment, a private statewide health foundation, has offered up to $4 million in funds to organizations across California through the Innovative Ideas Challenge (IIC). If your organization is not already under the umbrella of the Building Healthy Communities plan, this grant will get you out of the rain.

The California Endowment seeks to “support innovators who can rapidly engage in work that will promote fundamental health improvements in the health status of all Californians. This can be through new ventures or expansions of already existing efforts. Special attention will be paid to proposals that are public/private partnerships.”

This program will reward your organization based on new, creative, and successful ideas related to reversing childhood obesity in California and improving the wellness of our youth.

Race to the Top

  • Highlights: Potentially billions of dollars available, split among states and further split among individual organizations as decided by states.

Race to the Top provides billions of dollars to states as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Money is awarded to states that have “success in raising student achievement and have the best plans to accelerate their reforms in the future.”

Once you find out if your state has been awarded grant money, ensure your organization’s vision aligns with the following criteria, according to the U.S. Department of Education:

  • Makes substantial gains in student achievement.
  • Closes achievement gaps.
  • Improves high school graduation rates.
  • Ensures student preparation for success in college and careers.
  • Implements ambitious but achievable plans.

Once Race to the Top funds are disseminated to states, you must contact your individual state department of education to find out application deadlines and requirements.

Of course, there are many, many more grants available for your school or organization.

Now, here’s an example of a PE program that’s easy to implement, and comes with the backing of private and public entities.

Fuel Up to Play 60

  • Highlights: Free to join. Rewards and prizes are available for various challenges. While not technically a grant, up to $4,000 per year in funding is available for qualifying K-12 schools enrolled in the program.

This partnership of the National Football League (NFL) and the National Dairy Council (NDC) also works with the United States Department of Agriculture to encourage kids to eat healthily and play for an hour each day.

This program is free for K-12 schools and for students to join. Fuel Up to Play 60 offers the kind of program that many grant-giving organizations (including IIC and Race to the Top) want to see implemented in your organization.

From their website: “Fuel Up to Play 60 is designed to engage and empower youth to take action for their own health by implementing long-term, positive changes for themselves and their schools and inspiring their friends to do the same.”

The program uses the Internet to encourage students and schools to meet challenges and track their progress online. It’s a way individuals, entire classrooms, and even entire school districts can work together for the well-being of kids, tweens, and teens.

Schools can apply for funding through the program, and students/schools can win prizes for accomplishments along the way.

Next Steps

In order to put your organization in the best possible position to grab your share of grant funding, you’ve got to show that you’re on the right path to positive change and long-term success; think proactive vs. reactive. Our website has tons of resources and information about how to set your organization on the right path, and feel free to contact us for help!

Early Childhood Teaching Tips: Repeating PE Lessons

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012
Children enter preschool with different experiences and levels of exposure to physical activity. Lessons should be presented in a teaching progression to introduce and develop fundamental movement and motor skills which require repetition and practice. Teachers are the best judge of how rapidly to progress through lessons. Rather than moving on to the next lesson, repeating lesson segments using slight modifications may be beneficial in helping children feel successful. Keep in mind:
It is acceptable to repeat lessons or lesson segments to help children feel comfortable. Repeating activities children enjoy ensures they are having fun!
It is acceptable to repeat activities that children enjoy and are easy to teach. Avoid getting into the routine of repeating the same activity too frequently “just because” it is fun and easy to teach. Instead, use favored activities as “the carrot” to motivate and heighten enjoyment.
For a sample SPARK physical activity lesson that is fun and easy to teach, Click Here.

Repeating Lessons- Tips for TeachersChildren enter preschool with different experiences and levels of exposure to physical activity. Lessons should be presented in a teaching progression to introduce and develop fundamental movement and motor skills which require repetition and practice. Teachers are the best judge of how rapidly to progress through lessons. Rather than moving on to the next lesson, repeating lesson segments using slight modifications may be beneficial in helping children feel successful. Keep in mind:

It is acceptable to repeat lessons or lesson segments to help children feel comfortable. Repeating activities children enjoy ensures they are having fun!

It is acceptable to repeat activities that children enjoy and are easy to teach. Avoid getting into the routine of repeating the same activity too frequently “just because” it is fun and easy to teach. Instead, use favored activities as “the carrot” to motivate and heighten enjoyment.

For a sample SPARK physical activity lesson that is fun and easy to teach, Click Here.

Lesson Plan: 3-Catch Basketball

Monday, June 11th, 2012

Here’s a glimpse into what a SPARK lesson plan has to offer. We’ll look at one very popular game called 3-Catch Basketball, which is from the SPARK 3-6 PE Program. It’s a fantastic way to increase coordination and teach teamwork and strategy for elementary students.

Let’s huddle up. Here’s how to play:

What is 3-Catch Basketball?

  • The object of this game is to complete three passes in a row.
  • When a team successfully does this, they earn a point.
  • The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.

Set Up the Boundaries and Teams

  • Boundaries: Create square grids on the court that are 10 paces on all sides using cones or chalk. Six players will be assigned to each grid, so create as many grids as you need for your entire class. (For example, if your class has 18 students, create three grids. For 24 students, create four grids.)
  • Teams: Each grid is split into two teams; three students to a team. One team wears pinnies on top of their gym clothes; the other team wears their normal gym clothes only. The team with the pinnies is offense and begins the game with the basketball in their possession.

Rules

  • Since the team wearing pinnies is offense first, it is their mission to complete three passes in a row in the same direction.
    • If player A begins with the ball, she can pass to player B or player C. If player B gets the ball second, he must pass it to player C before passing it back to player A.
    • Players cannot switch places or hand the ball to their teammates.
  • Players can pivot, fake-pass and move to open space in order to pass and catch the ball, but they cannot dribble.
  • Once the offense completes three consecutive passes, that team scores a point and becomes the defense. The defense now takes control of the ball.
  • Defensive players must attempt to break up the passing of the offense by using their hands to intercept the ball.
  • If the ball is intercepted, dropped, or goes out of the grid, possession goes to the defense and the teams switch roles.

You’ll soon have a lot of action happening at one time, so keep the following pointers in mind.

Tips and Hints

  • Defensive players stay with the same offensive player (no ganging-up on one person), but can rotate at your discretion.
  • The defense must stay three feet away from the person with the ball.
  • Offensive players can only hold the ball for three seconds at most. If they fail to pass in time, the ball switches teams.

Does it all make sense so far? Once you’ve mastered the basics, let’s add some difficult challenges to the game plan and Spark it up!

Alternative Game Options

  • Endline. This game utilizes the same grid but the players are arranged differently. Instead of passing in a circle, the offense passes in a line. The offensive players begin on their own endline and advance the ball toward the opposing endline using passes only. When the ball is passed over the endline, a point is scored (similar to a touchdown in football). If the ball is dropped or intercepted, the defense takes over.
  • Endline with shot. This is the same as regular endline, but in the opposing end zone, an offensive player picks up a hoop while his or her teammate shoots the ball through the hoop. A missed shot means no points and the defense takes over.
  • Endline with post player. This game type gives the offense the advantage. A post player stands at the midpoint of the grid and doesn’t move. He or she can help the offense pass the ball but must stay in one place (like a post). This player is rotated after each score so everyone gets a chance to be the post player.

Regardless of the age of your students, they will find 3-Catch Basketball challenging and fast-paced. It’s a game where you can add all kinds of stipulations that increase the difficulty level as well, like restricting the offense to using only one kind of pass (a bounce pass, one-handed pass, two-handed pass, maybe even a behind-the-back pass) if your students show an exceptional aptitude for 3-Catch Basketball.

Best of all, it meets several standards set by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE):

  • Passing and catching
  • Offensive and defensive strategies
  • Cardiovascular fitness
  • Cooperation

Ready… set… play!

Click Here to download the complete 3-Catch Basketball lesson plan, or Click Here for more Elementary Physical Education sample lesson plans.

New: Community Transformation Grants (CTG) “Small Communities Program”

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

The CTG Small Communities Program was recently announced with approximately $70 million being awarded to improve the health of small communities across the nation. This small communities component of the CTG program targets intervention populations of up to 500,000 in neighborhoods, school districts, villages, towns, cities and counties in order to increase opportunities for people to make healthful choices and improve health.

Deadline: June 18 (LOI), July 31 (Application)

Award Amount: $70 million will be awarded to up to 50 communities.

Eligibility: Governmental agencies and non-governmental organizations, including school districts, health departments, and non-profit and community based organizations.

Click Here to learn more about the CTG-Small Communities Program.

Click Here to download a CTG Resource Guide that explains how you can use SPARK to align with the goals of the grant. This document includes information that shows:

  1. Alignment to the Strategic Directions and Strategies within the CTGs application
  2. Alignment to CDC’s long-term measures for addressing physical activity and nutrition
  3. Why you should partner with SPARK for your CTGS submission
  4. How SPARK deliverables align with CDC prevention outcomes
  5. Which SPARK Evaluation & Assessment options might be used to support your submission

Next Steps:

Click Here to apply for the Community Transformation Grants-Small Communities Program.

Contact SPARK at 800-SPARK-PE or spark@sparkpe.org. We’ll ask you a few questions, learn about your current programs, and listen to your vision for creating a healthier community. Together, we’ll create a program that will WORK and LAST.

Additional Resources:

Click Here to read how North Carolina successfully implemented the SPARK Programs to fight childhood obesity state-wide.

Click Here for the CDC’s report “School-Based Physical Education: An Action Guide”. This document may provide guidance in determining your community’s approach to increasing physical activity. SPARK is mentioned throughout the report as an evidence-based program that increases the quality and quantity of activity for all students.

An Update from Dr. Jim Sallis: “20 Years Later: Physical Education’s Role in Public Health”

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

This communication is stimulated by the release of a journal article about physical education and public health that I want to comment about. But first, I noticed it has been almost one year since my last blog entry, so I want to mention a few things that have happened recently.An Update from Dr. Jim Sallis: “20 Years Later: Physical Education’s Role in Public Health”

Moving universities was a big event for me over the past year.  I have been at San Diego State University since the summer of 1989, the same time the SPARK study began.  After 22 wonderful and productive years there, my research group moved to the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at University of California, San Diego.  I was so pleased I did not have to change cities, and even better, we did not have to move our offices from the walkable neighborhood we enjoy. Nevertheless, there are plenty of adjustments to make. We are confident our new work-home will lead to more and better research and use of that research to inform practice and policy changes.

In March 2012, I attended my first meeting of the California Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance. It was a pleasure to be part of a very strong health emphasis of the conference. Robert Ross from The California Endowment (a health funder) and Superintendent Tom Torlakson (former PE teacher and big supporter of school health) also spoke at the conference. In addition to my invited plenary talk, I participated in a panel on PE and health organized by Nicole Smith of SDSU. My overall message was about the need to make sure PE makes optimal contributions to children’s health. The audience was not only receptive, but many of them are committed to active and enjoyable PE classes. I want to recognize the leadership of Drisha Leggitt, CAHPERD Executive Director, who strengthened ties with health organizations but recently stepped down from her position.

In early May I attended the Weight of the Nation conference in Washington DC.  There were two especially notable aspects of the meeting for me.  One was that the new Institute of Medicine report, “Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention,” made only three recommendations for schools, and the first was “require quality physical education and opportunities for physical activity in schools.” The IOM’s definition of quality is about the same as SPARK’s.  We want students to be active in PE class while they are achieving additional goals of PE–teach through activity. The second notable event of Weight of the Nation was that our Active Living Research Program was given an Applied Obesity Research Award, along with Healthy Eating Research and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. It was wonderful to have our program recognized for contributing the prevention of obesity, especially among children. You can watch a video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJlmNLRwwSQ&feature=relmfu

Finally I want to come back to the paper that stimulated this posting. Over 20 years ago, Thom McKenzie and I wrote a paper proposing that PE should be considered a public health intervention. That paper went on to become one of the most cited in the history of Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport.  Some of our younger colleagues proposed that we update that paper for the 20th anniversary, and we collaborated with several talented people to do that. An Update from Dr. Jim Sallis: “20 Years Later: Physical Education’s Role in Public Health”

We found a lot to celebrate over the past 20 years, such as highly-active PE being embraced by the public health field, even including substantial funding by very large grant programs such as Community Transformation Grants, administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The need for active and high-quality PE has increased with the childhood obesity epidemic, and there has been major progress in the development and dissemination of evidence-based PE such as SPARK. We found much room for improvement. Though several states are “requiring” specific amounts of physical activity in PE and throughout the school day, those requirements lack accountability and funding to achieve them. The PE profession has not fully embraced active PE as a primary goal, but we see progress toward this goal. You can access the abstract of the paper here: http://www.aahperd.org/rc/publications/rqes/Indexes.cfm

Jim Sallis

http://sallis.ucsd.edu