Archive for April, 2014


5 Ways to Improve YOUR Health Before Summer

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

by Paul Rosengard

Spring is a time for renewal, and as the green leaves emerge and the weather improves we’re more motivated to be active outdoors.  So how do we press “Play” again after a long winter on “Pause?”  Here are 5 tips I hope you’ll find helpful:

1.  Goal Setting: If you are among the many millions of people who are currently doing very little or nothing in terms of weekly physical activity, you’ll likely benefit from setting a few goals.  Make an appointment with yourself and schedule movement into your life.  You wouldn’t miss a doctor’s appointment right?  So don’t miss that 15 min. you’ve set aside to walk around the block and back.  Every little bit counts – in fact studies have shown that being active in three, 10-minute increments provides nearly the same health benefits as a 30 min. session.

Goal setting should first involve specific days and times for activity.  Write it in your calendar; for example:  Wed. from noon-12:15.  Once you have a specific day and time in mind, write down what you plan to do.  Walk, ride a bike, swim, weight train, garden!  All movement is good movement and it all counts.  As you become consistent – moving a little (10 min.) to a lot (60 min.) almost every day of the week, then consider goals to increase your intensity over time so your heart rate is elevated (Are you breathing harder?  Can you feel your heart beating faster?) during some of your activity sessions.  Goals should be challenging, specific, and realistic. Can you set a physical activity goal that meets those parameters?  Give it a try!

2.  Start slowly: Everyone, young and old, should begin an activity program slowly, allowing our body’s time to acclimate to the change in frequency, intensity, time, and type of exercise (FITT principle).  For example, 6 months ago you were running 4-5 miles outside.  Then, winter arrived and you were confined to the great indoors, now using a treadmill or elliptical for your cardio workout.  Fast forward to Spring — you don’t want to throw open the door and hit the dusty trail!  Instead, re-start your running program slowly.  A good rule of thumb (or in this case, foot) is to begin at about 25%.  If you were doing an hour on the treadmill, try jogging for 15 min. – after an appropriate warm-up of course.  Gradually add 5 min. each run (as long as you’re feeling good and your body is cooperating) until you’re at or near the level you were before.

3.  Cross-Train: A lot of people lock in to the one thing they do, and their bodies lock in right with them.  Certainly, we need to do cardio for heart health and resistance training for skeletal health and muscle exertion.  So is a run every 2nd or 3rd day and a weight-training workout 2-3x a week the ideal?  It’s DARN great and if you’re doing it congrats!  And, let’s also think variety.  Mix up your cardio, different running routes (more hills, less hills) and different paces (how about some sprints once a week?).  If you’re in a health club or gym pushing weight on machines around, how bout mixing in some free weight exercises?  Try a TRX system?  Do a day of just body weight/resistance exercises?  It’s easy to get into a rut and keep repeating the same exercises at the same weight, same number of repetitions, in the same sequence.  Try not doing the same workout twice! Your body will respond differently too.  And don’t forget Yoga, Pilates, Body Pump and Zumba classes.  Videos available to check out at a library close to you too!  We have so many different and fun ways to be active and stay healthy and fit.  Viva la difference!

4.  Social Support: While some people are motivated and able to stay consistent with their exercise regimens, most of us benefit from being active with a friend.  If you’re one of these folks, recruit a workout buddy! When there’s someone else counting on you to carpool to a health club, or meet you at a trail for a jog, or rendezvous at a park to shoot some baskets or play tennis or just a game of catch, there’s a much better chance you won’t cancel your activity time.  Plus, you’ll have someone to give you feedback, spot you when you’re bench pressing, and maybe even encouraging you to try something new and different.

5.  Have Fun! As you become more active more opportunities will open up for you.  When was the last time (if ever) you played table tennis?  Badminton?  Pickleball?  These and other activities might be offered at a recreation center not far away.  Check out their schedules and see if there’s a class or league you can participate in and if it looks interesting and fun, sign up!  If you’re a member of a health club or gym, when was the last time you looked at their class schedule?  What about that spinning class you walk past from time to time?  Whatever you do to move, we know that if it’s fun you’ll want to do it more often.

I hope these 5 tips were helpful and you’ll become healthier and happier by making physical activity happen in your life!

Paul Scout 1

SPARK’s Common Core Survival Guide (Part 2)

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

CC_Survival_Logo_01.jpg

Lesson planning to meet CCSS mandates with a focus on PE

By Aaron Hart (@nyaaronhart on Twitter)

Welcome to the second installment of our CCSS Survival Guide. As I mentioned in Part 1, it’s important to know and understand your district’s interpretation and guidelines for working toward Common Core Standards.

This week’s tip: Planning with Depth of Knowledge (DOK) on your mind.

If you would like a quick refresh on DOK you can visit Part 1 of this series.

Consistent with other CCSS concepts, lesson-planning structure is also nothing new. I’m sure most of you will recognize the lesson components I’m outlining as we review them. What I believe is important here is that we define each component in light of CCSS and speak the language of the standards, as well as other core subjects (remember PE is – or at least should be – a core subject).

As a resource, SPARK is providing a Standards-based Lesson Planner here to help you with your alignment.

Component 1: Standards Focus

There are two fields provided for this component of the planner, one for PE standards and one for Academic Standards. (We don’t label this section CCSS because each state is different and it is possible that one day CCSS will be a thing of the past.) This allows you to clearly define the standards that you’re working toward during your lesson. The space for PE standards is above and is larger than the academic standards because we’re PE teachers and as PE teachers, our focus should remain on OUR standards.

Component 2: Academic Language Focus

This field allows you enter key physical education vocabulary words that are the focus of the day’s lesson. These are the words that you’ll use, define, and model in order to increase your students’ depth of knowledge.

Component 3: Student Targets

AKA – objectives. This field provides four lines, enough room for 2 to 4 student learning targets. These statements should reflect DOK outcomes for the lesson and should also link directly back to the standards listed above. These targets will also provide structure and meaning to the assessment tools that you’ll select below. Well written targets are observable, measurable and developmentally appropriate.

Component 4: Assessment Tool Used

The main point of DOK is to provide a structure for preparing students to demonstrate their skill and understanding on a given assessment. So, this field is important. However, it’s also important to keep in mind that assessments do not need to result in an every-day grade, or be put on display for all to critique. Visual performance demonstrations, as well as group and individual discussion are appropriate Formative Assessments. This field allows you to clearly define the assessment opportunities that you’ll use to either guide or evaluate student DOK.

Component 5: Frontload the lesson with a “Hook”

Back in the old days we used to call this “Anticipatory Set.” This component provides a brief discussion topic or point that you’ll use in order to get the students curious about the day’s lesson. It’s where you’ll “hook” them in with something interesting and on topic. This can be done just before, during, or after your lesson ASAP.

Component 6: Selected Physical Activities (In Sequence)

Our planner provides space for three scaffolded activities. Depending on your lesson duration, you may need more or less than 3. If you need more and want to use our planner, simply fill out an additional PDF form for activities 4, 5, and so on.

The fields in this section provide room for the activity title, as well as a field for transition notes. The idea is that you’ll have your activity plans in addition to this planner on your iPad or clipboard. What’s important here is that selected activities build on one another, increasing the depth of knowledge presented and practiced.

Component 7: Debrief / Think About

This part of the lesson is one of the most important and is also one of the most often forgotten. In an effort to maximize activity time and teach proper fitness habits, I suggest that you have your students sit and stretch during the debrief. You can even model good stretching technique with your younger students while you discuss the day’s lesson.

The key to effective DOK debrief sessions is using DOK question stems. Again, this type of questioning and discussion is nothing new. However the DOK stems do provide a great starting point for planning a meaningful end to your lesson.

Again, here’s a link to SPARK’s Standards-based Lesson Planner.

Our CCSS alignment is an ongoing work in progress so please send us your feedback and questions. We’re all learning this together!

SPARK’s Paul Rosengard Receives Honor Award

Monday, April 7th, 2014

At this year’s annual CAHPERD (California Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance) SPARK researcher, co-author and Executive Director Paul Rosengard was presented with the CAHPERD Honor Award for his “Outstanding and noteworthy contributions to the advancement of physical education in California.”

“It was special to receive the award in front of a lot of friends and colleagues” Rosengard said.  “I thanked two my mentors Jim Sallis and Thom McKenzie, as well as everyone on our SPARK team.  I felt very humbled and grateful to the CAHPERD board for supporting my nomination.”

A few years ago, Rosengard received a “Past President’s Award” from CAHPERD when he was singled out by Dr. Robin Reese of Sacramento State University.

“Robin was a brilliant writer and teacher and helped many of us think differently about physical education content and instruction.  You might say she went against the grain — a quality I admire greatly – so I was particularly happy to be acknowledged by her.”

This June, SPARK will celebrate 25 years of research (N.I.H. funded in 1989) and 20 years of dissemination.  Read more about SPARK at www.sparkpe.org

Paul CAHPERD Award

My favorite principal in Malaysia

Friday, April 4th, 2014

by Dr. Jim Sallis

I recently had an opportunity to visit Malaysia, to speak at the International Conference on Obesity and have meetings with collaborators. As part of tours of potential neighborhoods for an IPEN Adolescent study (www.ipenproject.org), we visited a high school in Kuala Lumpur. The school was buzzing with activity due to a girls’ handball tournament after school. Handball is like soccer except you use the hands. Unexpectedly we were invited to meet the principal. While meeting with the principal we told her we were interested in physical activity. She immediately launched into a passionate endorsement of the importance of physical activity in school. She said it was essential to have a balance of movement and academics. She also said that physical activity helps students with their academic studies.

It was such a treat to hear this kind of enthusiasm for physical activity from a principal. I wish I heard this point of view more often in the US. She understood that children need to move and the brain and body are connected.

–  Jim Sallis

Here’s a picture of our group:

Jim_Sallis_Malaysia