Archive for the ‘Physical Education’ Category


Taking the Fear Out of Physical Education

Thursday, August 10th, 2017

A woman trainer at the gym helps her student lift weights.

An educator’s job goes beyond ensuring students learn particular facts and develop certain skills. Instead, educators play a critical role in instilling their students with a love of learning, discovery and exploration.

Ideally, an enthusiastic and skilled educator can help a student not only remember the year the Constitution was written or the Civil War broke out, but also imbue them with a sense of wonder and make them want to learn more about history.

Yet physical education is a subject where many educators can inadvertently have the exact opposite effect, making their students flee from the subject. Negative experiences in gym class as a child can make a person less likely to engage in physical activity as an adult.

What can physical educators do to ensure their classes are the start of a lifelong enjoyment of physical activity? And how can adults who are still intimidated by negative experiences in gym class learn to love exercise for the first time?

What Educators Can Do for Students

A bad physical education teacher doesn’t only scare kids away from gym class — he or she can also make them throw in the towel for the rest of their lives.

A 2009 study in the academic journal Qualitative Research in Sport and Exercise found negative experiences in gym class as children keeps people far away from team sports for years. As one study participant said, “[physical education] robbed me of the joy of physical activity for many years…It destroyed my physical confidence.”

Another study examined the practice of picking teams in physical education class, and found this caused “real and long-lasting harm to people’s psyches and their physical activity participation levels.”

Doing the wrong thing can cause a lot of harm. So, what are the right things that physical educators should do?

Keep the Goal in Mind

As a physical educator, sometimes it’s easy to forget what the end goal is. Teaching children sports is not the end goal — teaching them teamwork and physical coordination and improving their physical strength and health are the end goals. Sports are one means to this end.

Keeping this in mind will change the way you approach teaching physical education. It will minimize the importance of winning and losing, and will help you adopt more creative ways of teaching skills.

Consider the example of teaching a child to dribble a basketball. The important thing is not that they know how to dribble a basketball; rather, it’s that they improve their hand-eye coordination. Having them dribble through a course of pylons is one way of helping them improve their hand-eye coordination, but there are many other drills and activities that can use a basketball to achieve the same ends. The trick is finding the activities that your students will find enjoyable rather than excruciating.

Make It Fun

The thought of physical activity shouldn’t induce feelings of apprehension or fear. It should be fun! A 2014 study of youth athletes found the overwhelming reason they played sports was because it was fun. When it’s no longer fun, the main reason to play is gone.

An important way to keep sports and physical activity fun is to minimize attention on outcomes. Avoid keeping score. Offer positive reinforcement. Make having fun a more important goal than winning. Emphasize self-improvement rather than competitiveness. Encourage your students to do better at a physical activity than they did the time before, rather than comparing them to other students.

These are particularly important principles when teaching physical education at the younger ages, but the overarching goal of encouraging fun is important to keep in mind at all ages.

Remember That Your Attitude Matters

Physical educators are often people who care a lot about sports and take profound satisfaction in athletic achievement. Sometimes this makes them too quick to push children harder and farther than children are ready to go.

Remember, the role of a physical educator is different than that of a coach. Children don’t need a drill sergeant, they need an educator who cares about creating a safe and fun environment for them to learn.

With your words and actions, demonstrate that effort is more important than perfection, and fun is more important than winning. Your attitude will set the tone for the class, and ultimately make a huge difference in how your students feel about physical activity.

Think Beyond Sports

Sports are great, and team sports in particular impart many important skills. All the same, some students will not gravitate towards sports as much as to other physical activities. It is important for them to understand that physical activity is not limited to competitive sports.

Introduce your students to other physical activities like dance, wall climbing, archery, aerobics, yoga and outdoor activities like canoeing. You’ll broaden their understanding of physical activity and make it more likely they hit on an activity they’ll enjoy enough to make a lifelong hobby.

Eliminate Picking Teams

One last suggestion: don’t let your students pick teams. Students who are picked last describe the experience as embarrassing, alienating and frustrating. It can invoke strong feelings of sadness, shame and even anger.

None of these are emotions you want your students to associate with physical education. When playing sports, make the teams yourself. As the educator, you will probably be much better at creating teams and making for a more enjoyable experience for the entire class.

How Adults Can Overcome Negative Experiences

If you’ve had a bad childhood experience with physical education, it can shape the way you view physical activity for the rest of your life. You may feel intimidated by the very idea of going to the gym or joining a sports team.

There a few ways you can overcome these feelings. For example, if you want to begin weightlifting, but find the gym an intimidating place, you can set up a home gym. Another option is to could go the gym with someone you trust, who can help make you feel more at ease. Even doing a few sessions with a personal trainer can help many people feel more comfortable.

It’s also worthwhile to think about the activities you have negative associations with. If you found team sports stressful and unenjoyable, consider trying solo sports like cycling, golf or swimming.

Don’t let a bad gym teacher from your childhood ruin a lifetime of physical activity. There is an incredible range of physical activities suited to everyone’s skills and interests. Find the one that you’ll enjoy today to have a healthy hobby for life.

Tabata 201

Monday, August 7th, 2017

young woman using a skipping rope

By: Dr. Derek J. Mohr & Dr. J. Scott Townsend, Appalachian State University

In our last blog, Tabata 101, we discussed the Tabata Protocol. Today we will extend the conversation, focusing on how to teach Tabata in a physical education setting.

Imagination Station

Imagine a PE class that operates like a wellness center (see this blog for more details)… one where motivated students choose from and enjoy participating in a variety of fitness stations (weight training, yoga, Tabata, fitness walking, cycling, etc.), where each station is led by certified student-instructors, focused on helping their peers develop personal fitness skills, knowledge and confidence. Read on to make this dream your reality…

Tabata Refresher

Tabata is a high intensity interval training (HIIT) program designed to get maximum fitness benefits in a short duration workout, making it a great option when you are pressed for time or want to add variety to a training program. Accordingly, Tabata can be a meaningful part of a well-rounded HS PE program.

Tabata in SPARK High School PE

In the SPARK HS PE program, Tabata is part of a larger unit called Group Fitness. As such, Tabata, like all other group fitness “mini-units,” consists of two progressive instructional activities:

  1. Basic Training

Here students master fundamental safety protocols and movement techniques associated with the unit content. In SPARK Tabata, students use the Content Cards to experiment with and master basic exercises. This may take multiple lessons as the teacher leads students through the mastery process. Tabata Basic Training focuses on SHAPE Standards 1, 2 and 3.

  1. Create a Workout

Here students create a series of personalized Tabata workouts by applying fundamentals mastered in basic training. As part of the process, students practice, refine and then lead classmates through their created workouts. In SPARK Tabata, students are challenged to create nine 4-minute Tabata workouts (3 workouts with 2 exercises, 3 with 4 exercises and 3 with 8 exercises). Tabata Create a Workout focuses on SHAPE Standards 4 and 5.

Tabata Teaching Tips

  • Encourage students to give Tabata a chance to help them improve aerobic and muscle fitness.
  • Focus students on safety, performance cues and personal fitness goals.
  • Modify activities to ensure safety, individual success and motivation.

Get Equipped

Share Your Knowledge

What are your experiences teaching Tabata? What advice would you give to someone who has never taught Tabata, but wants to? Post a response below and let us know!

Current SPARKfamily members with High School access can find the new Tabata unit under High School Web-Based Units. If you are not a current SPARKfamily member, you will receive 3-year access to the digital content when you purchase a SPARK High School curriculum set.

Add These 7 Things to Next Year’s Equipment Wish List

Thursday, August 3rd, 2017

PE teachers holds a stopwatch while a young girl climbs a wall

Today’s educators are beginning to recognize the connection between physical activity and cognitive function in the classroom. This means that all teachers, not just physical educators, are searching for new resources that might help them to encourage brain-boosting movement throughout the school day.

One of the best ways to make sure that students stay engaged during PE lessons and other academic experiences is to have the right resources at hand. The following items are some of the best, most effective pieces of equipment that you can have on your wish list. Here, we’re going to introduce you to a range of items and offer ideas for how you can use these products to cultivate a healthier school culture.

1. School Smart Coated Foam Balls

When it comes to essential resources for any physical education class, it’s hard to overlook the value of foam balls. This School Smart set includes a range of colors, perfect for bouncing, throwing, catching and volleying with racquets and paddles.

During early childhood, when children are most engaged by colors and sensory experiences, a collection of School Smart coated foam balls can help educators to plan lessons like “Bounce and Catch.” These lessons can help children develop basic motor skills, while introducing them to colors, numbers and more.

2. Volley SuperSkin Flying Discs

Perfect for both indoor and outdoor use, Volley SuperSkin Flying Discs come in a range of colors and feature peel-proof, super-durable skins for a longer lifetime in classrooms. These discs work perfectly either as part of standard throwing and catching games, or as part of a game of “All-Run Flying Disc Baseball.”

All-Run Flying Disc Baseball is a great way to get students of all ages working together to pass and throw discs between members of a small team. This game encourages teamwork, boosts aerobic ability, and helps to build up endurance, too.

3. Sportime Stopwatches

A simple set of Sportime Timetracker stopwatches can help students and teachers alike track their progress during timed games and races. Educators can share these stopwatches with students to encourage them to set their own fitness goals.

One particularly good use of the Sportime stopwatch is for Social Studies Fitness Relay lessons. Being able to view the amount of time each student spends within different fitness relay sections can help to encourage a balanced development of skills.

4. Sportime High School Fitness Station Pack

The Sportime High School Fitness Station Pack is a comprehensive collection of equipment designed to get students moving, and it comes with a SPARK digital curriculum, too! The collection includes foam balls, cones and exercise mats, ideal for building new high school lesson plans.

The Sportime Fitness Station Pack could be a great way to start introducing students to new skills, like yoga. With the mats in hand, and some yoga content cards, students can learn how to manage stress and improve flexibility with simple yoga poses.

5. Poly Enterprises Classic Game Cones

Cones might seem like a simple resource, but they often make up a fundamental part of most team-based games in a physical education lesson. These Poly Enterprises Classic Game Cones come in a variety of sizes and colors to suit any lesson plan.

Cones can be a vital part of a STEM Fitness Training session, helping to create different activity stations for students around the room. With STEM, children can get active, while learning facts about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.

6. School Smart Parachute

The School Smart Parachute is a high-quality piece of equipment, complete with a drawstring carrying bag for easier storage. These parachutes are a fantastic way to encourage collaboration through team-based games, while promoting coordination and rhythm in PE environments.

Students can use parachutes to play “Parachute Switcheroo,” a recess, after-school, or lesson-based program for students that teaches coordination and teamwork. In Parachute Switcheroo, students learn how to cooperate, focus, and organize themselves as part of a group.

7. Pull-Buoy No-Kink Hoops

The Pull-Buoy No-Kink Hoops are lightweight and durable hoops that use a special formula to avoid bending and breaking. These 30-inch options are ideal for educators who want to create lesson plans based around gymnastics, aerobics and teamwork. A single set contains a range of colors for students to choose from.

One great way to boost your lesson plan with No-Kink Hoops is to introduce your students to “Cooperative Golf” or Kin-Ball. This exciting game is a great way to keep kids active, while teaching them how to work together toward a universal goal. What’s more, this activity is a great way to teach children about games played throughout the world.

Your Equipment Wish List

Chances are your wish list will depend on your existing resources and the new lesson plans you hope to implement in the year ahead. But, by implementing just a few of the suggestions outlined above you could find new and engaging ways to keep your students active, both inside and outside of PE lessons.

Tabata 101

Tuesday, August 1st, 2017

People exercising with dumbbell at gym

By: Dr. J. Scott Townsend & Dr. Derek J. Mohr, Appalachian State University

Tabata 101 is the first installment of a two-part blog series highlighting the latest web-unit addition to the SPARK High School PE Group Fitness Unit.

Tabata… a HIIT for getting fit.

Tabata is a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) program designed to get maximum fitness benefits in a short duration workout, making it a great option when you are pressed for time or want a change from more traditional workout programs.

The Protocol

A single Tabata workout is 4 minutes in duration and consists of two parts: work and rest.

  1. Work: 20 seconds of full effort
  2. Rest: 10 seconds recovery
  3. Repeat: Complete workout/rest cycle 8 times
  4. Exercises: 1, 2, 4 or 8 exercises can be included per workout

An Example

  1. Push-up (20 sec), Rest (10 sec)
  1. Jumping Jacks (20 sec), Rest (10 sec)
  1. Air Squat (20 sec), Rest (10 sec)
  1. Jump Rope (20 sec), Rest (10 sec)
  1. Repeat 1-4 (4 min)

A Bit-a Tabata History

  • Who: The Tabata protocol was developed by researcher Izumi Tabata.
  • How: His landmark study compared the following training programs:
    • Traditional aerobic training: 5X/Week @ 60 min/workout
    • HIIT: 20 sec work, 10 sec rest repeated 8X
  • Results: HIIT and traditional trainings equally improved aerobic endurance. Tabata also improved anaerobic capacity while the traditional did not.
  • Summary: Tabata is an effective training protocol for improving aerobic and anaerobic fitness.

Try Tabata

Follow the guidelines below and give Tabata a try.

  • Bod Squad: Use body-weight exercises to reduce the need for specialized equipment.
  • Experiment: Try Tabata at a lower intensity to get comfortable with the protocol.
  • Choose Wisely: Select exercises you can perform safely and that match your fitness goals.
  • Modify: Alter exercises to match your current fitness level and progress as your fitness improves.
  • Stack It: When ready, try multiple Tabatas back-to-back with a brief rest (1-3 min) between each.
  • Warm-Up & Down: Use a dynamic, full body warm-up before and warm down afterwards.
  • Tech Support: Use a Tabata app to: select exercises, and add music to and/or time your workout.

Share Your Tabata Thoughts!

Stay tuned to for our next Tabata blog. In the meantime, we’re interested to know… What are your experiences engaging in Tabata? What advice would you give to someone who has never engaged in Tabata? Post a response below and let us know!

Current SPARKfamily members with High School access can find the new Tabata unit under High School Web-Based Units. If you are not a current SPARKfamily member, you will receive 3-year access to the digital content when you purchase a SPARK High School curriculum set.

Updated Standards in Online SPARK Manuals

Friday, July 7th, 2017

SPARK_burst_graphic

One hallmark of the SPARK K-12 Physical Education programs is the alignment with National and State Physical Education standards. These standards help guide the planning, implementation, and assessment of student learning. With expectations mapped out, teachers can focus on learning targets designed to enhance student learning. By using a standards-based program, teachers can plan focused lessons to meet specific needs of students.

SPARK understands that teachers use a variety of standards – district, state or national standards – so a one-size-fits-all methodology doesn’t serve everyone’s diverse needs. Though possible, we also know it’s not efficient to sort through an exhaustive list of standards. To that end, we have flipped our standards alignment around to list the grade level outcomes so that you can now match the outcomes with your specific set of standards.

By listing the outcomes – divided into the three categories of Movement and Skills; Fitness; and Social and Personal – you can see that the lesson you are teaching is aligning with the standards you are looking to address in the day’s lesson. Now you are in the driver’s seat to choose the lessons that meet your specific standards!

The revised lessons with outcomes are available online today at SPARKfamily.org with your SPARK K-2, 3-6, Middle School, or High School PE subscription!

If you are not a current SPARKfamily member, you will receive 3-year access to the digital content when you purchase a SPARK PE curriculum set.

15 Reflection Questions for the Physical Educator [INFOGRAPHIC]

Wednesday, June 28th, 2017

three gym teachers stand and smile for the camera

Just like our students, educators should never stop learning.

As the school year comes to a close, reflect on your year as a physical educator — areas where you shined and areas you can improve, to help both you and your students get the most out of the year ahead.

Here’s the physical educator’s checklist for self-reflection

An infographic displaying how teachers can reflect on their school year to prepare for the next one

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Spend Time on Past Successes

  1. What was your best teaching moment of the year?
  2. When did you implement/learn/experience something new?
  3. What did you improve upon this year that you are proud of?
  4. In what areas did you achieve last year’s goals?
  5. What was your most notable growth as a physical educator this year?

 

Consider the Challenges

  1. What was your worst teaching moment of the year?
  2. What challenged you most?
  3. What do you feel you need to improve upon next year?
    Choose one curriculum, one interpersonal (student or staff), and one professional element.
  4. Where did you fall short of last year’s goals?
  5. Where do you feel there is still room to grow as a physical educator?

 

Gain Clarity on the Goals Ahead

  1. What did you learn from your best/worst moments this year?
  2. What plans do you have for your professional development and continued education?
  3. What specifically do you plan to improve upon next year?
  4. What can you do to improve your students’ experience and engagement levels next year?
  5. What did your students struggle with most last year, and how can you improve their success in the year ahead?

Just a few moments of introspection on the year can help you highlight and celebrate your successes, and take note of how you can continue growing next year.

Brought to you by SPARK | http://www.sparkpe.org

A Parent’s Guide to Physical Education Programs in Schools

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017

physical education

American children aren’t getting the physical activity they need. Only a third of children are physically active on a daily basis, even though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends 60 minutes of physical activity per day.

Taking action during the summer break can set your kids up for quality physical education when the school year begins. Read on to discover the questions parents frequently ask to better understand PE programs in schools so they can elicit real change.

What’s the Difference Between Physical Activity and Physical Education?

It’s a common mistake to assume the terms “physical activity” and “physical education” refer to the same thing. Though both contribute to a child’s healthy development, the terms are not interchangeable.

Physical activity is a behavior. It refers to any sort of movement of the body. Children may engage in physical activity during gym class, at recess or at home. Physical education, on the other hand, refers to a subject in school that includes physical activity in the curriculum. Physical education classes teach through physical activity. Some skills taught in PE include teamwork, social interaction and motor skills — all while improving students’ fitness.

What Does a Comprehensive Physical Education Program Require?

Implementing a comprehensive physical education program into schools is an approach that allows students to build a strong relationship with physical activity that will encourage them to remain active throughout their lives.

School districts that use a comprehensive physical education program begin with physical activity as the foundation of their program. Through a multi-component approach, the school works to engage the students in physical activity by involving the staff, the students’ family and the community. PE class isn’t the only time kids should be up and moving. A comprehensive physical education program includes physical activities before, during and after school to help kids reach the recommended 60 minutes of daily physical activity.

How Can I Assess a Physical Education Curriculum?

Before you take action to help improve your child’s physical education program, it helps to first assess where the school’s physical education curriculum stands and how it could be improved.

That’s where the PECAT and HECAT come in. These stand for the Physical Education Curriculum Analysis Tool (PECAT) and the Health Education Curriculum Analysis Tool (HECAT). These tools have been created and provided by the CDC to help individuals see how their school’s physical education curriculum stacks up against the National Physical Education Standards.

How Can I Advocate Better Physical Education at My Child’s School?

After assessing the PE curriculum at your child’s school, you may want to get involved with changes to the program. We suggest doing so in three steps, by advocating, ensuring and insisting.

Start by making sure your voice is heard. Talk with school officials and become a part of your school’s parent-teacher organization. Rally together other parents who feel strongly about your cause. Advocate for daily physical education taught by a PE teacher with the proper credentials.

Second, ensure teachers are working with the parents and administration to build a curriculum that aligns with these physical education goals. Meet with your child’s PE teacher to discuss your concerns and ideas, and then bring the solution to other teachers who can help their students enjoy physical activity in the classroom.

Finally, insist that teachers in every grade have access to the resources they need to achieve these goals. That means they need professional development opportunities and training programs that will teach them the content and strategies to execute their part in an effective comprehensive PE program.

By getting involved this summer, you can help build a better and more well-rounded PE program ready for when your child returns to school in the fall.

Put a Fresh Spin on PE Classes with These 4 Global Games

Thursday, June 8th, 2017

kids laughing playing a game in the classroom

The closer we come to the end of the school year, the more difficult it becomes to keep kids active and engaged. As children look forward to their time away from education, teachers need to work harder to ensure that they remain focused during PE classes.

There are plenty of things that educators can do to help revitalize student passion for movement and fitness. One great option is to introduce new games and cultural ideas from around the world. While the games children play vary from place to place, they usually all have numerous benefits when it comes to promoting fitness, social skills and concentration levels.

Here are four global games you can use to pique interest in your end-of-year PE classes, while expanding your students’ geographical education.

1. Catch the Dragon’s Tail from China

Though it’s designed for younger children, this game is great for students of all age levels. It’s a simple and exciting activity that’s particularly useful when you want to get your PE class working together as a team. The more people participating, the more challenging and fun the game becomes.

Catch the Dragon’s Tail starts when the children in your class form a human chain, standing one behind the other, with their hands on the shoulders of their classmate. The child right at the front of the chain is the “dragon’s head” and the child at the back is the “dragon’s tail.” The aim of the game is for the head to catch the tail, while all the students behind the dragon’s head try to stop this from happening.

As soon as the dragon’s head captures the tail, he or she becomes the tail, and the next student takes their place as the head.

2. Statues from Greece

Another game originally created for younger children but perfect for all age groups, is Statues. This game comes from Greece, where dozens of marble statues make up the natural environment for children across the country.

To play, choose one student to be “it,” and have them cover their eyes while standing in the center of a large open space. The student will need to count to a random number (at least 10) before opening their eyes. While the student is counting, the other students need to scatter until he/she yells agalmata, or “statue” in Greek. Upon that word, all students must freeze in place and take on a famous statuesque pose.

The student who is it will go around tagging any moving statues, and trying to make stationary ones move or laugh. The last statue remaining is the winner, becoming the new it.

3. Sepak Takraw from the Philippines

The traditional game from the Philippines is perfect for children aged 5 and up. The word Sepak is the Malay word for “kick,” while Takraw is the Thai word for a woven or rattan ball. In other words, this is a kind of kick-based volleyball that uses a net, and requires children to use only their head, chest, knees or feet to touch the ball.

Sepak Takraw requires teachers to create small 8×8 grids for two groups of six children. Those children then need to divide into teams of three, which form a triangle shape either side of the net.  The goal is to hit the ball over the net in such a way that the opposing team can’t hit it back. The serving group scores points if the other group:

  • Catches or holds the balls
  • Allows the ball to hit the ground more than once
  • Doesn’t return the ball in three hits or less
  • Hits the balls out of bounds

4. Kin-Ball from Canada

Kin-ball is a game that originates from Quebec, Canada. It’s a team game that’s perfect for anyone aged 6 and up, and it can become more or less challenging depending on the age of the students involved. PE teacher Mario Demers created Kin-ball in 1987, and it’s known to some as “cooperative golf.”

To play Kin-ball, teachers will need to arrange students into groups of six, which are further divided into smaller teams of three. Each group of six will need two hoops and one ball. While one group is the “receiving” group, holding an empty hoop, the other is the “serving” group, holding a ball inside their group. The serving group will drop to a knee, holding their hoop high, and one player will let go of the hoop to punch the ball towards the receiving group. The goal is for the receiving group to move to capture the ball in their hoop.

Kin-ball is a great way to get children active, and encourage them to work together more efficiently in teams.

Expanding the World of Physical Education

There are dozens of exciting global games that can add a fresh spin to PE for students who are becoming bored or distracted during standard activities. These unique games not only encourage new forms of movement in children, but can also improve teamwork and introduce students to new cultures from around the world.

For more PE ideas, check out our lesson plans.

Are Your Students Meeting the Physical Education Guidelines?

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

teacher marking off checklist with students in the background

By teaching young minds the proper techniques of physical fitness, educators are better able to instill valuable knowledge that will last a lifetime.

But how close are your students coming to an ideal physical education? Read on to discover the Physical Activity Guidelines (PAG) from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to create the best program for your class this spring.

Emphasize Health-Related Fitness

In the world of physical fitness, two competing practices exist: health-related fitness and performance-related fitness. Performance-related fitness rewards students based on achievement of a specific task; PAG guidelines are not meant to promote this type of competitive education. Instead, a full curriculum based on health-related fitness is endorsed to teach heart-health-conscious kids.

Proper instructions for cardiovascular and muscular fitness allow students to continue to work on their health, regardless of their skill level. While an individual focused on performance-related fitness routines may develop quicker, flashier physical results, they lack proper understanding of what it takes to maintain that level of fitness throughout development.

Choose Individualized Health Goals

Not every student is at the same level of physical fitness, and they aren’t in the same developmental stages at the same time, either. That’s why instead of setting arbitrary goals, like a certain time to run a mile or a certain number of sit-ups in a row, physical education teachers should focus on customized fitness goals.

Educators can promote individualized results for each student by tailoring physical education parameters to their specific wishes and health needs. Not everybody functions the same under the same circumstances. Through proper education, teachers should communicate what questions an individual should ask themselves in order to gain perspective of their desired goal. Some of these questions include, but are not limited to:

  • How physically fit do I want to be?
  • How much weight do I want to lose and keep off?
  • How important is it to me to reduce my risk of heart disease and diabetes?

It’s vital to challenge students to achieve higher levels of physical fitness than their baseline comfort levels without making them feel they aren’t good enough if they can’t reach the same goal as a peer.

Focus on Disease Prevention

One of the main goals of the PAG guidelines is developing fundamental education and an understanding of disease prevention. By fostering proper physical fitness routines, students, as well as adults, have less likelihood of developing Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. It’s also crucial to teach students the opposite end of the spectrum: the effects inactivity can have on the human body. By understanding both ends of the spectrum, students are better able to find a balance and ensure sound physical health throughout their lives.

Take the Lifespan Approach

Physical fitness and sports are imperative for children’s healthy growth and development. Exercising the right way for just 60 minutes a day has a huge impact in both the short and long-term, promoting healthy day-to-day habits and encouraging a lifetime of physical activity. Students fully educated by PAG guidelines will be able to take this valuable knowledge and apply it to each stage of their life: adolescence, adulthood, and late adulthood. And it can all start with one well-designed physical education class at school.

With all these benefits, why not update your P.E. classes this National Physical Fitness and Sports Month? Which new lesson plan ideas will inspire you?

When Kids are Physically Active at School, #WellnessWins

Friday, April 28th, 2017

RockinghamCo2RockinghamCo1

By Deirdre Moyer, Student Wellness Coordinator, Rockingham County Schools, Rockingham, NC

We’ve all heard the saying, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” What if the same could be true for 60 minutes of physical activity a day?

Through quality physical education, kids learn how to move their bodies fluently and develop the necessary skills to lead an active life. In Rockingham County Schools, more than 12,000 students can count on opportunities to be active each and every day – thanks, in part, to our wellness policy.

A strong district wellness policy is an essential part of creating a healthy school district by establishing policies and practices that empower students and staff to make healthy choices at school. By including physical education and physical activity in our wellness policy, we’re showing parents, community members, teachers and administrators that we’re making it a priority to equip students with the basic skills and knowledge they need to be active throughout their lives.

Our updated wellness policy is on schedule to be approved by the USDA’s June 30 deadline, and features several guidelines for physical activity including:

  • School personnel should strive to provide opportunities for age- and developmentally-appropriate physical activity during the day for all students
  • Schools must provide at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily for K-8 grade students, achieved through P.E. class, recess or classroom energizers
  • Principals shall work with teachers to ensure students meet minimum physical activity requirements
  • Students should have ongoing opportunities for physical activity, which cannot be taken away as a form of punishment

The result? We’re seeing first-hand the benefits of enabling students to move more throughout the day. When kids are physically active, they are more attentive in class, perform better on tests and behave better.

Our biggest challenge in implementing a stronger wellness policy has been time; these changes don’t happen overnight. We utilized many resources to reach our wellness goals, including the SPARK curriculum to assist teachers in meeting national and state standards for physical education and activity, and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s school health experts, who reviewed our policy to ensure it complied with federal standards.

Now, I’m thrilled to share an exciting new resource: the #WellnessWins campaign.

Launched by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and American Heart Association’s Voices for Healthy Kids initiative, #WellnessWins celebrates wellness policy successes like ours and helps other district leaders take action. WellnessWins.org features tips, resources and a ready-to-use model wellness policy that can help your district meet its health and wellness goals.

Are you ready to make moves with your wellness policy? Visit WellnessWins.org and get started today!