Archive for May, 2014


Common Core Survival Guide (CCR in PE: Mission Possible)

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

CC_Survival_Logo_01.jpg

What is “College and Career Readiness” (CCR) and how do we as physical educators walk this talk?

In 2012, the Educational Policy Improvement Center published an article by Dr. David T. Conley, PhD offering, “A Complete Definition of College and Career Readiness.” Having researched several explanations and definitions of this concept I found Dr. Conley’s work to be on target and relevant to physical education.

Within his definition Dr. Conley identifies Four Keys to College and Career Readiness.

  • THINK: Key Cognitive Strategies
  • KNOW: Key Content Knowledge
  • GO: Key Transition Knowledge and Skills
  • ACT: Key Learning Skills and Techniques

In this blog entry we’ll look at two of these keys as they relate to CCR in PE, saving the other two for a future post.

First, Key Cognitive Strategies, “are the ways of thinking necessary for college-level work” (Conley, 2012). Students must be able to identify and formulate problems or challenges in order to conduct focused research, interpret the results and then communicate findings with appropriate accuracy.

In SPARK High School PE we guide students through this process with Jigsaw learning and teaching experiences. In teams, students are given a set of skills and strategies needed for successful participation in a unit. Next, they split up with each of the team members becoming the “expert” in one specific skill or concept. After the research is complete and students have become competent or proficient in their specific area, the groups come back together and communicate to (i.e., teach) their teammates what they’ve learned. In this way, students are provided an authentic context for practicing a way of thinking which aligns to CCR.

Second, Key Content Knowledge as it applies to the technical area of physical education includes key skills and knowledge, the ways in which individuals interact with those skills and knowledge, their value to the learner, and the ability to reflect on how personal attitude and effort can contribute to successful mastery of specific knowledge or skill sets.

This CCR Key provides an opportunity to take a quick look at the new National Standards and Grade-Level Outcomes for PE. Standard 3 and its outcomes at the high school level (S3.H1.L1) jumps right into the center of this CCR Key, “(The learner) discusses the benefits of a physically active lifestyle as it relates to college or career productivity” (SHAPE, 2014). This discussion requires key content knowledge learned throughout the scope and sequence of a quality PE program. Specifically, what are the various benefits of physical activity? It also prompts reflection on how this knowledge directly relates to future productivity. The next progressive step is to ask students who have acquired this knowledge, “what does this understanding mean with regard to your own personal commitment to physical activity and wellness?”

At SPARK we’re all about keeping MVPA levels high in physical education classes. We don’t advocate sacrificing physical activity in an attempt to increase student learning. In fact, evidence suggests our teaching strategies promote BOTH. However, discussions like the one described above are critical to the core outcomes of our content area and therefore must be built in to our lesson structure. If we don’t provide focused discussion in physical education classes, then where will these important talks take place?  Chances are they won’t happen at all.

That’s a very brief look at the first two keys to College and Career Readiness. We’ll look at the final two in the next Common Core Survival Guide blog post.

Click Here to read Part 1 of the SPARK Common Core Survival Guide Blog Series

Click Here to read Part 2 of the SPARK Common Core Survival Guide Blog Series

Happy 25th Anniversary to SPARK!

Monday, May 19th, 2014

How can SPARK be 25 when I’m only 39??

But it’s true!  In June, 1989 a couple of “relatively young” Professors from San Diego State University, Drs. Jim Sallis and Thom McKenzie, received a large award from NIH (National Institutes of Health) to create, implement, and evaluate an elementary school physical education program that could maximize health and behavior related outcomes, and eventually (if successful) become a nationwide model.  Project SPARK (Sports, Play, and Active Recreation for Kids) was born 25 years ago.

As they say, the rest is history.  Today, after many more research and special projects from Early Childhood through University levels, SPARK is referred to as, “The most researched and field-tested physical education program in the world.”

While the data tells an impressive story about significant student outcomes in physical activity, fitness, motor/sport skills, academic achievement, enjoyment of PE, activity levels away from school, program sustainability and more, there are a few lesser known stories from the early years of SPARK.

Did you know?

  • Jim Sallis thought of the name SPARK and the acronym
  • The first SPARK logo was orange and black (scary!) and the colors were voted on by kids in the study
  • One of the original consultants on the first SPARK study was Dr. Bob Pangrazi.  And Bob came back and spent a couple weeks in San Diego with us during our M-SPAN (Middle School Physical Activity and Nutrition – funded by NIH) project that ran from 1996-2000.
  • Kecia Carrasco was Jim and Thom’s first hire, and Kecia is still with SPARK today, 25 years later!
  • BJ Williston worked on the pilot study from 1989-1990 and after a hiatus to work on other studies/projects, she came back to SPARK again about 10 years ago and is now a Lead Trainer.
  • I met my wife Wendy in 1990 when the intervention began and we were married in 1991.  She was one of the elementary classroom teachers at a school we were working with.
  • SPARK won the Governor’s Commendation Award from California Governor Pete Wilson in September 1993
  • The SPARK dissemination effort began in 1994 (20 years ago) and Poway Unified School District was the first to purchase SPARK
  • SPARK’s Director of Dissemination, Leticia Gonzalez, joined SPARK as a part-time employee after her freshman year at San Diego State and has never left!
  • We used to have two cartoon characters in the pages of our manuals – SPARKle and SPARKy!  They were pretty cute, some of us were sad when they grew up…
  • SPARK’s first “beyond the 50 U.S. states experience” was Saipan in 1995.  I led workshops for the elementary physical education teachers on the island and it was a great experience.  Ironically, we’re sending trainers back there again this month.
  • Jim pronounced me – decreed actually — Godfather of SPARK in 1995.  I have a plaque to prove it!  So, if you want a favor, you’ll need some cannoli…

Over more than two decades, all of us at SPARK have appreciated the opportunity to provide innovative instructional materials, effective teacher training, excellent follow up support, and content-matched equipment to thousands of physical educators and physical activity leaders across the globe.

Thank YOU.

Cheers to another 25 years!

Paul RosengardSpark yellow logo color

1993 Governors Award

Take a Hike: How to Start Hiking With Your Family

Monday, May 12th, 2014
Hiking can be a great way to spend some quality time with your family, with nature, and with your exercise program, too. Day hikes are the best way to start hiking, and this article will show you how to get out there on that first trail.
Strap on your pack and lace up your shoes—it’s time to take a hike!
Shoes
Day hikes may sound like a walk in the park, and for some trails, you can get away with just your walking or everyday athletic shoes.
For others, you’ll want a pair of sturdy hiking or trail shoes. What to look for:
Ankle support
Arch support
Proper fit—not too small or too big
Breathability
Waterproof materials
Solid traction
Clothes
Think in layers, especially if starting in the early morning. Avoid cotton and go for light, breathable materials that wick away sweat. Wool or performance athletic socks keep your feet comfortable and dry all day.
A hat is an excellent addition to your hike and can prevent sunburns.
Packs
An ordinary, run-of-the-mill backpack off the rack of the discount store certainly works (as long as it’s comfortable). Start with what you have and work up from there. Make sure that the straps don’t rub and irritate arms and shoulders.
For a day hike, common items to keep in the pack include:
Lunch and snacks
Water
Trail map, compass, and other on-trail guides
First aid kit
Sunscreen
Lip balm with sunscreen
Bug spray
Allergy medicine, if necessary
Your phone may or may not be a good thing to bring, depending on service in your hiking area
Camera
Binoculars
Multitool
Journal and pen
Extra socks
Trails
You can find day hike trails at regional, state, and national parks, which are scattered all across the United States. You can also find trails near just about any location using an online service like trails.com or everytrail.com.
The American Hiking Society can help you find trails and hiking events in your area and sponsors National Trails Day each year with many parks, trails, and hiking groups across the country. It’s usually held in early June.
Food and water
A day on the trail is thirsty business and works up quite an appetite, too. For a day hike, you can pack a “sack lunch”—just avoid anything with mayonnaise or other foods prone to spoilage. Sure, you could cool it with a cold pack, but only if you don’t mind the extra weight.
Pack something salty, like nuts or pretzels, as a way of replenishing your body’s salts. Pack some sweet fruit or fresh veggies, too, to help add to your water intake.
Avoid sugary drinks, energy drinks, milk, or caffeinated drinks. That pretty much leaves you with the hiker’s friend, water. You’ll need at least 1 liter per person, two if the weather is hot and dry. Most adults will most likely need two, regardless of the weather. It really depends on the severity or difficulty of the trail, the length of your hike, how strenuously you are hoofing it down the trail, and the temperature of the day. It’s better to err on the side of caution and pack more than you think you might need, rather than be caught thirsty and dry on the trail.
Trail Etiquette
Enjoying the protected spaces in our beautiful country comes with responsibility. There are some common-sense rules all hikers must follow to keep the trail in good condition and be conscientious of others—and that includes the plants and animals.
Leave only footprints and take only pictures and journal notes—not rocks, flowers, or critters. Likewise, pack it in, pack it out—leave no trace that you were there.
Keep to the right. Just as on the road, when approaching another group of hikers, keep to the right side of the trail to allow everyone room to pass. In narrow areas where passing is impossible, the group closest to, or in, the narrow passage has the right-of-way.
Stay together.
Stay on the trail. Never venture off the marked trail very far. Not only can you get lost easier, but the trail is there for a reason. It was put where it is to allow us to enjoy the space without eroding it.
Obey all signs and warnings. Keep your eyes up and stay aware of any signage on the trial.
Day hiking is a rewarding, enjoyable, and healthy experience, especially with your family in tow! One word of caution: Once you hit the trail, you may discover a family activity that is highly addictive.
Go take a hike!

Hiking can be a great way to spend some quality time with your family, with nature, and with your exercise program, too. Day hikes are the best way to start hiking, and this article will show you how to get out there on that first trail.

Strap on your pack and lace up your shoes—it’s time to take a hike!

Shoes

Day hikes may sound like a walk in the park, and for some trails, you can get away with just your walking or everyday athletic shoes.

For others, you’ll want a pair of sturdy hiking or trail shoes. What to look for:

  • Ankle support
  • Arch support
  • Proper fit—not too small or too big
  • Breathability
  • Waterproof materials
  • Solid traction

Clothes

Think in layers, especially if starting in the early morning. Avoid cotton and go for light, breathable materials that wick away sweat. Wool or performance athletic socks keep your feet comfortable and dry all day.

A hat is an excellent addition to your hike and can prevent sunburns.

Packs

An ordinary, run-of-the-mill backpack off the rack of the discount store certainly works (as long as it’s comfortable). Start with what you have and work up from there. Make sure that the straps don’t rub and irritate arms and shoulders.

For a day hike, common items to keep in the pack include:

  • Lunch and snacks
  • Water
  • Trail map, compass, and other on-trail guides
  • First aid kit
  • Sunscreen
  • Lip balm with sunscreen
  • Bug spray
  • Allergy medicine, if necessary
  • Your phone may or may not be a good thing to bring, depending on service in your hiking area
  • Camera
  • Binoculars
  • Multitool
  • Journal and pen
  • Extra socks

Trails

You can find day hike trails at regional, state, and national parks, which are scattered all across the United States. You can also find trails near just about any location using an online service like trails.com or everytrail.com.

The American Hiking Society can help you find trails and hiking events in your area and sponsors National Trails Day each year with many parks, trails, and hiking groups across the country. It’s usually held in early June.

Food and water

A day on the trail is thirsty business and works up quite an appetite, too. For a day hike, you can pack a “sack lunch”—just avoid anything with mayonnaise or other foods prone to spoilage. Sure, you could cool it with a cold pack, but only if you don’t mind the extra weight.

Pack something salty, like nuts or pretzels, as a way of replenishing your body’s salts. Pack some sweet fruit or fresh veggies, too, to help add to your water intake.

Avoid sugary drinks, energy drinks, milk, or caffeinated drinks. That pretty much leaves you with the hiker’s friend, water. You’ll need at least 1 liter per person, two if the weather is hot and dry. Most adults will most likely need two, regardless of the weather. It really depends on the severity or difficulty of the trail, the length of your hike, how strenuously you are hoofing it down the trail, and the temperature of the day. It’s better to err on the side of caution and pack more than you think you might need, rather than be caught thirsty and dry on the trail.

Trail Etiquette

Enjoying the protected spaces in our beautiful country comes with responsibility. There are some common-sense rules all hikers must follow to keep the trail in good condition and be conscientious of others—and that includes the plants and animals.

Leave only footprints and take only pictures and journal notes—not rocks, flowers, or critters. Likewise, pack it in, pack it out—leave no trace that you were there.

Keep to the right. Just as on the road, when approaching another group of hikers, keep to the right side of the trail to allow everyone room to pass. In narrow areas where passing is impossible, the group closest to, or in, the narrow passage has the right-of-way.

Stay together.

Stay on the trail. Never venture off the marked trail very far. Not only can you get lost easier, but the trail is there for a reason. It was put where it is to allow us to enjoy the space without eroding it.

Obey all signs and warnings. Keep your eyes up and stay aware of any signage on the trial.

Day hiking is a rewarding, enjoyable, and healthy experience, especially with your family in tow! One word of caution: Once you hit the trail, you may discover a family activity that is highly addictive.

Go take a hike!

Springtime Family Fun

Monday, May 5th, 2014

Spring is finally here and with it comes many opportunities to enjoy all the season has to offer. Here is our list of favorite kid-approved springtime activities to get you up and moving whether you’re enjoying April showers or May flowers.

Spring in the Great Outdoors
1) Make the ground your canvas – Grab a bucket of chalk and head for the sidewalk. This creative activity is perfect for everyone—toddlers to grandparents! It’s also a great way to temporarily decorate the driveway or stoop for spring.
2) Take a nature walk – Slip on your walking shoes and head out of doors for a taste of spring in all her natural glory. Be on the lookout for spring flowers, nesting birds, bumblebees and butterflies in the garden, rainbows in the sky, and four-leaf clovers in the grass. Nature walks are a fabulous way to spend time together as a family, learn about the beautiful world around you, and improve everyone’s powers of attention and observation.
3) Visit the local farmers’ market – A trip to your local farmers’ market brings the freshest, yummiest produce around right to your reusable shopping bags. Support your local farmers and experience the joys of food and community. It’s healthy all around!
Spring in the Kitchen
1) Fix a spring dinner of salmon, new peas, and baby potatoes – Cooking seasonal, fresh foods helps you make the most of their nutrients and your grocery budget.
2) Enjoy some strawberries – Spring is berry season, and there’s nothing better than a juicy, sweet berry in season. Toss them in a spinach or fruit salad or just munch ‘em whole as a snack. Vitamin C and other antioxidants put a spring in your step.
3) Roast asparagus – The closer your asparagus is to the garden, the better it will be, in all ways. And roasting it is a sure way to bring out its sweetness without losing the crunch. Yum!
An Old-Fashioned Spring
1) Fly a kite – Kite flying is another great activity that can include just about the entire family. Look for a good open space on a nice, breezy day. Try your hand at homemade kites for a day of old-fashioned fun.
2) Plant a garden – The best way to celebrate spring is with dirt under your nails and sweat on your brow. Whether you prefer vegetables or violets, planting a garden is a good way to ensure plenty of time in the outdoors moving and investing in time in overall health—mentally and physically. It can also teach children responsibility and stewardship, as plants need weeding, pruning, watering, harvesting, and other care.
3) Visit a pond – Duck pond, lake, reservoir—it really doesn’t matter, but spring is the best time to visit. Baby ducks and geese, the peeping of newly hatched frogs, song birds and dragonflies flitting about, and perhaps even tadpoles and minnows to watch along the shoreline make these seemingly simple bodies of water wondrous eco systems for all to explore (treading lightly). Make an underwater viewer from a milk carton and a piece of plastic wrap. Pack a picnic lunch and make a day of it.
Soggy Springtime
1) Rainy Day Out – Put on your slicker and boots and head out for a walk the next time a gentle rain starts falling. Jump in puddles, dance in the rain, catch raindrops on your tongue. Don’t let days of endless soggy springtime weather keep you cooped up inside, or from taking your daily walks. Walk in the rain, for your health, for the heck of it, for the sheer delight it can bring.
2) Rainy Day In – Play board games. Plan a marathon of Oscar-winning films. Have an afternoon tea. Spend time reading stories aloud. Put come classical music on. Turn it off and listen to the rain on the roof, on the windows, on the pavement outside. Play dress up, or put on a play for family members (don’t forget to record it for grandpa and grandma). Making the most of rainy days helps every family member learn that there is no such thing as boredom. Each day is what you make of it.
Springtime is the perfect time for spending time with your family. Enjoy the season!

Spring in the Great Outdoors

  1. Make the ground your canvas – Grab a bucket of chalk and head for the sidewalk. This creative activity is perfect for everyone—toddlers to grandparents! It’s also a great way to temporarily decorate the driveway or stoop for spring.
  2. Take a nature walk – Slip on your walking shoes and head out of doors for a taste of spring in all her natural glory. Be on the lookout for spring flowers, nesting birds, bumblebees and butterflies in the garden, rainbows in the sky, and four-leaf clovers in the grass. Nature walks are a fabulous way to spend time together as a family, learn about the beautiful world around you, and improve everyone’s powers of attention and observation.
  3. Visit the local farmers’ market – A trip to your local farmers’ market brings the freshest, yummiest produce around right to your reusable shopping bags. Support your local farmers and experience the joys of food and community. It’s healthy all around!

Spring in the Kitchen

  1. Fix a spring dinner of salmon, new peas, and baby potatoes – Cooking seasonal, fresh foods helps you make the most of their nutrients and your grocery budget.
  2. Enjoy some strawberries – Spring is berry season, and there’s nothing better than a juicy, sweet berry in season. Toss them in a spinach or fruit salad or just munch ‘em whole as a snack. Vitamin C and other antioxidants put a spring in your step.
  3. Roast asparagus – The closer your asparagus is to the garden, the better it will be, in all ways. And roasting it is a sure way to bring out its sweetness without losing the crunch. Yum!

An Old-Fashioned Spring

  1. Fly a kite – Kite flying is another great activity that can include just about the entire family. Look for a good open space on a nice, breezy day. Try your hand at homemade kites for a day of old-fashioned fun.
  2. Plant a garden – The best way to celebrate spring is with dirt under your nails and sweat on your brow. Whether you prefer vegetables or violets, planting a garden is a good way to ensure plenty of time in the outdoors moving and investing in time in overall health—mentally and physically. It can also teach children responsibility and stewardship, as plants need weeding, pruning, watering, harvesting, and other care.
  3. Visit a pond – Duck pond, lake, reservoir—it really doesn’t matter, but spring is the best time to visit. Baby ducks and geese, the peeping of newly hatched frogs, song birds and dragonflies flitting about, and perhaps even tadpoles and minnows to watch along the shoreline make these seemingly simple bodies of water wondrous eco systems for all to explore (treading lightly). Make an underwater viewer from a milk carton and a piece of plastic wrap. Pack a picnic lunch and make a day of it.

Soggy Springtime

  1. Rainy Day Out – Put on your slicker and boots and head out for a walk the next time a gentle rain starts falling. Jump in puddles, dance in the rain, catch raindrops on your tongue. Don’t let days of endless soggy springtime weather keep you cooped up inside, or from taking your daily walks. Walk in the rain, for your health, for the heck of it, for the sheer delight it can bring.
  2. Rainy Day In – Play board games. Plan a marathon of Oscar-winning films. Have an afternoon tea. Spend time reading stories aloud. Put come classical music on. Turn it off and listen to the rain on the roof, on the windows, on the pavement outside. Play dress up, or put on a play for family members (don’t forget to record it for grandpa and grandma). Making the most of rainy days helps every family member learn that there is no such thing as boredom. Each day is what you make of it.

Springtime is the perfect time for spending time with your family. Enjoy the season!

Q: How Can We Help Students Reach 60-a-day?

Monday, May 5th, 2014
A: Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program!

For National Physical Education Week, we’re taking a deeper look into a Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program and resources available to help reach the goal of 60 minutes of MVPA a day.

How much activity and why?
It seems you can’t look through a magazine or watch a news program without hearing about the importance of physical activity (PA) and its role in overall health. There’s nothing better for controlling weight, reducing risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers; not to mention PA’s role in increasing muscle strength and bone density, improving attention in class, and so much more. PA is the “wonder drug” of champions (literally!).

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Department of Health and Human Services, as well as the President’s Council on Fitness, Sport, and Nutrition all recommend 60 minutes of physical activity for children ages 6-17. With that dosage kids will be healthier, happier, leaner, and have a much better chance of living longer. Sixty minutes seems to be the “magic” number and it should consist mostly of aerobic activities in the moderate to vigorous intensity level range (MVPA), such as brisk walking, running, swimming, etc., as well as 3 days/week of muscular strengthening like gymnastics and calisthenics. So, how on earth are today’s busy kids supposed to accumulate 60 minutes of MVPA most days?

Physical Education (PE) is a great start!

Let’s say your school has a fabulous, quality physical education program with daily PE for all students. They have PE for 30+ minutes (for elementary) and 45+ minutes (for MS/HS) each day and they are engaged in MVPA for 50% of class time — always! It’s an ideal program all around. Sounds great, right?  It is – yet it’s also VERY rare.

Are YOUR students reaching the magic dosage of 60 minutes on most days with PE alone? If not, they’ll need to find other physical activity opportunities throughout the day if they’re going to achieve their 60 minute goal.

How might you supplement student Physical Activity (PA)?

Viable options include before and after school programs, recess, activity during other academic classes, on-site intramurals, as well as myriad activities off campus after school. Programs such as these are components of a Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program (CSPAP). They include quality PE as the foundation, as well as PA opportunities before, during, and after school, staff involvement, and family and community engagement.* The whole package helps keep our children active and fit. Like SPARK Principal Thom McKenzie likes to say, “It takes a village to raise an active child.”

Teaming up for PA!

No one person or entity is responsible for our kids’ health. When everyone does their part and students are supported with PA choices in all sorts of environments, they are much more likely to participate and achieve their 60 minutes or more. And every type of activity “counts” towards the 60 (e.g., walking to school, climbing on the jungle gym, having activity breaks during class, dancing in PE, playing tag at recess, running in a running club, playing intramurals after school).You want your kids to have so many opportunities they can’t help but find activities they love to do and to do them often!

What resources are available?

Let’s Move! Active Schools provides free and low-cost resources to help schools incorporate physical activity before, during, and after school for at least 60 minutes a day.  SPARK is an official supporting organization of Let’s Move! Active Schools and encourages schools to sign up to be an Active School.  Learn more here.  

How can SPARK help you and your students reach the 60 minute goal?

Quality Physical Education – Sadly, many PE programs are not active enough – ironic right? Yet studies show students may spend a good chunk of class time waiting their turn for a chance just to touch the equipment (as in relays) or sitting on the sidelines because they got “out” (elimination games) or simply waiting for someone to pass the ball to them (large-group games). PE classes full of these practices often engage students in MVPA for only a short amount of time. SPARK PE (K-2, 3-6, MS, and HS) offers teachers quality PE programs that in turn provide students many opportunities to participate and practice skills. Research shows SPARK PE engages students in MVPA at least 50% of class time, addresses National Standards, aligns assessment with instruction, and regularly promotes out-of-class physical activity. Students become more active and more skilled when they have SPARK PE. When taught daily, students can receive nearly half of their recommended minutes of PA with SPARK PE alone!

During academic classes – Because students often sit for hours at a time during classes, activity breaks are a must! They help not only by adding minutes of PA, but they have been shown to enhance academic performance. The SPARKabc’s program provides numerous activities to be used as breaks during classroom time as well as activities which integrate academic topics to help “anchor” learning and make it more active and fun. SPARK provides sample SPARKabc’s lessons to give you a taste of what our ASAP movement breaks and academically focused activities look like. They’re easy to teach, easy to learn, fun and effective. SPARK PE (K-2 and 3-6) programs also include multiple limited space activities that classroom teachers can use as activity breaks throughout the day.

During Recess – Recess has potential to be either very active or very sedentary. Depending upon students’ preferences, they might choose to play an active soccer or basketball game or to sit and chat with a friend while eating their snacks. Even if they join what appears to be an active game, they may spend most of their time waiting in line for their turn at wall ball, tetherball, kickback, 2-touch, etc. Frankly, they may get most of their activity jumping up and down cheering for the kids who are playing! Both SPARK K-2 and 3-6 PE programs include Recess Activities sections with ideas for inclusive, enjoyable, and ACTIVE games. SPARKabc’s also provides resources for recess staff looking to improve activity opportunities for all elementary age students. Here’s a sample recess activity that can be played as is, or modified to match your students and setting. Try it and tell us what you think!

Before and After School – Students who attend before and/or after school programs can receive a large percentage of their daily MVPA during structured and/or non-structured activities. Again, as in recess, activities need to be structured in such a way to increase activity levels and to have positive effects. There are many issues to consider with running a quality program that addresses a wide range of ages, group-sizes and skill levels, commonly have a lack of equipment and limited space, as well as high staff-to-student ratios. SPARK’s After School program (which actually targets all out-of-school PA programs, not just those done after school) has been found effective in increasing PA for children and adolescents ages 5-14. It has hundreds of suggestions for addressing many of the concerns typically encountered in these types of programs.

At the end of the day, students CAN reach the goal of 60 minutes or more of MVPA. It’s a matter of structuring your environment to encourage PA. By providing safe places to play, programs that promote movement throughout the day, equipment to complement those programs, and trained staff to lead them, your students will have met or exceeded the 60 min. goal for now, as well as learned the skills to continue to do so for a lifetime!

*(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Comprehensive School Physical Activity Programs: A Guide for Schools. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2013)

Learn More:

Comprehensive School Physical Activity Programs: A Guide for Schools

Let’s Move! Active Schools

Free SPARK webinar!

Comprehensive School Physical Activity Programs

Resources for Integrating Physical Activity Throughout the School Day

May 7, 2014 @ 3pm Pacific (6pm Eastern) – Register Here