Archive for March, 2015


A Physical Educator Turns 60

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

By Paul Rosengard – SPARK Godfather

If you haven’t already heard, I celebrated my 60th birthday back in January.  And after 36 years in education – PHYSICAL education that is – I decided to hang up my sneakers.  This blog article gives me an opportunity to share a few lessons learned and thank a few of the MANY people who I’ve been so fortunate to meet along the way…

As far back as I can remember, I knew I wanted to be a coach.  I played sports and loved em’ all.  And although I played a little baseball in college, it was clear I was not going to be an athlete at that level.  After all, I was small – but I was slow…

So after my senior year in high school, I started coaching youth teams in football and basketball — and loved it.  At SDSU, I majored in physical education and continued down the teaching and coaching path.  I did my student teaching at San Pasqual High because they had one of the best football coaches in the county, Bob Woodhouse, and I wanted to learn from him and his great staff.  One day I asked Bob what he recommended I study to become a better football coach and he said, “Just one book.  The Art of War by Sun Tzu.”  He gave me my first copy and it helped me think strategically the rest of my life.  I coached football and basketball at San Pasqual and both teams did really well.  In football we lost the CIF championship game (I coached Freshman but scouted for the varsity) and in basketball I worked with Art Warren and our basketball team went to the CIF quarterfinals.

My next student teaching assignment brought me to Crawford High and there I coached Tennis (spring semester) with Jim Sams – who was the school’s basketball coach too.  Both of my student teaching experiences – San Pasqual and Crawford — were great and solidified my career choice.  Teaching physical education and coaching was my passion.  I was doing football and basketball camps during the summers and hanging around a lot of successful veteran coaches – picking their minds and learning the tricks of the trade.  I also had a fantastic Professor in the School of Education, Dr. Paul Erickson.  Paul helped me understand what it really meant to be a teacher and why preparation was so important.

My first full time teaching job came in 1979 in Rancho Santa Fe, CA.  This wasn’t the high school level I wanted to continue at but it was a full time job in one of the best K-8 school districts in the country – and there were no openings anywhere for a PE teacher.  The economy was bad and teaching jobs were almost impossible to find.  I was very lucky and jumped at the opportunity to teach and live in a beautiful area.  I stayed at RSF for 11 years and we had an award winning PE and athletic program.  Our football and basketball teams were really high level and won frequent championships competing with other junior highs many times our size.

As time went on I felt I had done all I could at little RSF and was ready for a new challenge.  I learned of an opening at my alma mater, SDSU.  It was for a head teacher in a new research study called, Project SPARK, and I was intrigued.  In August 1990, I was very fortunate to be offered the position and accepted.  Project SPARK gave me the opportunity to write physical education curriculum and develop resources, lead professional development for teachers, and learn how to provide on-site consultation to schools and staff.  After 5 years, the evaluation data we collected showed what we wrote and applied actually worked, so we thought we’d try and move the research project into a dissemination phase.  I led that effort and SPARK became independent of grant funding in 1994 and started to grow.

While working on SPARK full time, I enjoyed learning from a variety of exciting diversions.  I was the Deputy Director of the CA Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, (big thanks to super leader John Cates), taught future teachers how to teach physical education at UCSD for 11 years, spent a few years as a Leader on the CA State Subject Matter Project for Physical and Health Education, wrote the NikeGO! and Let Me Play curriculum for those projects, and served on a number of Boards.

Over time we continued to do many more research and special projects (M-SPAN, Pathways, TAAG, OPI, POPI, to mention a few) that contributed to the SPARK knowledge base.  Today, SPARK consists of 13 different programs that span Early Childhood to University and adult levels.  I’m so grateful to SPARK for giving me the opportunity to make an impact on a much bigger scale, and to travel and see parts of the U.S. I would have never been to otherwise.  Through SPARK, we’ve been able to impact over 100,000 teachers around the world, and literally millions of students.  Plus, I think we really have put a dent in the PE universe with our advocacy, promotion of MVPA, and support for quality physical education, taught by trained and credentialed physical educators, to ALL students, every day.

Drs. Jim Sallis and Thom McKenzie, the original grantees and Investigators have been my mentors all along the way.  Along with Jim and Thom, SPARK has been a true all-star team of outstanding educators, trainers, and staff, all committed to providing the BEST materials and services to physical educators and physical activity instructors.  I’m excited to pass the baton to the next generation and know they will serve SPARK proudly!  Thanks in advance to current SPARK leaders, Kecia Carrasco, Kymm Ballard, Leticia Gonzalez, Katie Fenton, Jeff Mushkin and Christine Davis for their expertise and commitment to SPARK.

Paul Erickson, Jim Sallis, and Thom McKenzie are my top 3 mentors (who are yours?).  But there have been so many more terrific people who I’ve learned from along the way, far too many to mention, and I’m very grateful!

As I transition away from full time SPARK, I’m looking forward to spending more quality time with Wendy, Scout, and my friends.

I know, THE BEST IS YET TO COME!

– Paul

Paul_Office_2009

Bite Into a Healthy Lifestyle with HKC this Nutrition Month

Friday, March 20th, 2015

March is Nutrition Month!

Posted with permission from Healthy Kids Challenge. Read more on the Healthy Kids Challenge Blog.

HKC Teaching Cards

Explore MyPlate Teaching Cards are a versatile nutrition ed tool to help you teach all ages during National Nutrition Month and year round!

Explore MyPlate Teaching Cards offer quick and fun nutrition and activity messages for the following audiences and more:

Health Fair or Parent Night (worksites, community events or schools) – Set up display tables of the 5 MyPlate food groups and active play. Provide participants teaching cards and point out the healthy messages as you lead them through the table displays. (See our Explore MyPlate event guide for details.)

Classroom or Afterschool Kids Activities – Choose a theme each week during the month (Grains, Fruits & Veggies, Dairy, Protein and Active Play). Use the cards for bulletin board ideas, weekly kids challenges and quick healthy messages during breaks. Also a great asset for use with our Balance My Day ™nutrition curriculum!

Health Departments and Clinics – Place teaching cards in waiting and exam rooms and use for nutrition education opportunities.

Be creative with your Healthy Kids Challenge resources and the following National Nutrition Month Event Ideas:

To learn more about National Nutrition Month, here is a link to the press release: This National Nutrition Month, the Academy Encourages Everyone to Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle


[INFOGRAPHIC] Youth & Yoga

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

Yoga isn’t just for grown ups anymore. It serves as another fun, physical activity for kids and it has mental and physical benefits. Check out some of these yoga poses in this infographic!

Youth & Yoga - Kids Yoga Poses

Share This Infographic On Your Site

Start Them While They’re Young: Introducing Kids to Exercise Routines

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

It is no secret that children today lead more sedentary lives than their parents and grandparents did. Childhood obesity has more than doubled over the past three decades and screen time is at a record high between television, computers, tablets, video games, and smartphones. While it seems that the days of playing outside and simply “being a kid” are fading away, it’s not too late to turn the ship around. By introducing your kids to exercise routines and showing them how fun being active is, you can make a big difference.

What Is a Healthy Amount of Exercise For Kids?

 
The Centers for Disease Control recommends at least 1 hour per day of physical activity for children and adolescents. That time frame should include mainly aerobic activity, but muscle and bone strengthening exercise is also very important for growing bodies.

Sixty minutes per day is not difficult to achieve if you look for smaller time frames to incorporate activities, like walking to school or participating in organized sports a few days per week. The key is to pick age-appropriate activities that interest your kids so that they will look forward to the activity and form a positive opinion of healthy fitness pursuits.

Kids exercise

Exercise by Age

Not all exercise is appropriate for all ages and some is more beneficial to certain age groups than others. Take a look at what should be the focus of an exercise routine for kids by age:

Infants/babies

Working with the smallest of kids to develop motor skills, like crawling, walking, and pulling up to a standing position is enough activity. This is also an important bonding time for parents and babies, so getting down on the floor and playing with infants is beneficial in physical and psychological ways.

Toddlers

A good 90 minutes of daily physical activity is not only helpful for a toddler’s health but benefits parents by providing a release for all of that extra energy. Toddlers learn most in play environments, so structuring just 30 minutes per day of planned physical activity is enough, as long as you provide active outlets for free, creative exploration on the part of the toddler.

Preschoolers

This group of kids requires the most amount of physical activity of all the age groups, at 2 hours. They still need an hour of unstructured, creative play but are physically able to handle another hour of planned activity too. Most preschools do have some built-in physical activity, but parents should still find ways to incorporate the difference at home.

School-age kids

As recess times at school decline, it is important that parents find at least 1 hour per day for their kids to exercise. Ideally this exercise should last at least 15 minutes at a time to have full effect. As children grow, they are also capable of doing some independent fitness activities that parents should encourage. Pay attention and listen to your children’s interests, and support whatever physical activity they love the most. Whether they want to play sports, take dance classes, or just jog around the neighborhood every day, as kids get older they need some independence when it comes to staying fit.

Every child will want to sit down and watch television from time to time or play a computer or tablet game. This is fine as long as it does not occur in excess. The CDC recommends that children under the age of 5 never remain inactive for less than an hour and that school age kids never remain inactive for more than 2 hours at a time—apart from nap and bedtime, of course.

The best way to get your kids excited about exercise is to set the example. Find family activities that you can all do together and cheer each other on at individual events, too.