Posts Tagged ‘PE’


What Are the Goals of Physical Education?

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

physical education

In recent years, physical education has been falling out of its position as a staple of the traditional school day. Research not only connects regular P.E. classes with improved academic performance, but also suggests that lack of activity could be damaging children’s cardiovascular health. Despite the scientific evidence, the modern curriculum continues to impede physical education in favor of more time spent in the classroom, placing additional pressure on physical educators and school departments to optimize the time allotted towards achieving crucial fitness goals.

In schools for all ages, the physical education program is responsible for helping students learn the value of activity for health, recreation, social interaction, and more. Here’s what you should aim for when outlining goals as a physical educator, or organizing a school P.E. department.

1. Teaching Essential Body Management Skills

The most well-known goal of any physical education class is to promote movement – but there’s more to this aspiration than breaking students out of a stationary lifestyle. P.E. classes teach children skills that they will use throughout their entire lives.

For many younger children, physical education classes offer their first chance to learn about the relationships between nutrition, exercise, and health, while acquiring basic body management skills such as:

  • The ability to stop and start on signal
  • Spatial awareness
  • Body part identification
  • Balance and control

Though these skills may not seem as crucial as literacy and numeracy, the absence of them can result in sedentary children who feel too “clumsy” to engage in any regular activity. After time, the inability to develop mature motor skills can cultivate sedentary adults, who struggle to achieve career goals or lack self-confidence.

2. Promoting Physical Fitness as Fun

Quality instruction from dedicated educators helps children develop fundamental motor patterns. But it’s also important for teaching students that being active can be a fun, natural habit.

The more that young students consider physical fitness a natural part of their daily schedule, the more likely they are to be engaged in fitness as they age – leading to a healthier lifestyle. One in three children are overweight in America, and youngsters who enjoy physical activity are the ones most likely to be active in the future.

While physical education isn’t the only factor helping children get active, it can be a useful way to help them uncover new skills and discover activities that they enjoy. By exploring a range of sports and fitness solutions, from gymnastics to running and climbing, physical educators give students a chance to find the activity that appeals most to them – giving children their own personal tool in the fight against obesity.

3. Developing Teamwork, Sportsmanship, and Cooperation

Physical education allows children to experience healthy social interactions, teaching cooperation through group activities, and encouraging teamwork through identification as one part of a team. These social skills stay with children throughout their lives, increasing the chance that they’ll become involved in their communities, take leadership roles, and build lasting relationships. Social skills develop confidence, contributing to academic performance and mental health.

When students are stressed, they struggle to focus and manage their emotions properly. Physical activity is a great way to relieve stress, promoting positive mental health and enhanced learning aptitude. Although reduced time for physical education is often justified as a way to help students spend more time in the classroom, studies have shown that regular activity during the school day links to higher concentration levels, more composed behavior, and happier students.

Setting Goals is Crucial

In a physical education setting, the right goals will:

  • Engage students in P.E. class
  • Attract the attention of distracted learners
  • Create an environment that cultivates movement
  • Teach the values of health and exercise

Establishing goals within physical education can also help students learn the value of setting their own personal and achievable goals in relation to their favorite activities. Teach kids about goal-setting by recording each child’s best sprint time and showing them how they improve through the year, or encouraging students with a particular interest to take their skills to the next level.

From developing motor skills for younger children to creating an environment where students can cultivate a positive attitude towards physical fitness, well-designed physical education goals will not only boost kids’ education, but prepare them for an active, healthy, and productive lifestyle.

Thoughts on Classroom Management from a Seasoned PE Teacher

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

This last Wednesday we hosted a webinar on Classroom Management Strategies for Physical Education (if you didn’t watch it Click Here to view the recording) and had over 700 people participate.

One of the great things about sharing strategies and techniques with so many passionate educators is that we sometimes hear back from other teachers that wish to share their own ideas. We recently received an email from one attendee who had some advice on what’s worked for her in the past, and we wanted to share them with you.

The thoughts/strategies below are from Karen Bagby, a Physical Education Teacher at Garner Elementary in North Liberty, Iowa:

  • The “when before what” is critical.  This is one of those teaching tips a new student teacher learns fast!
  • Instead of sending out a letter to all parents in my school, I put a blurb in the first school-wide newsletter.
  • I emphasize that when disciplining a child, talk and treat them as “if a parent is standing right beside that child”.  Makes you really think about what you are doing and saying.
  • I do utilize a “behavior ticket” for that “new student” who doesn’t yet quite have the expectations mastered.  The child fills out the ticket and what happened, as well as the teacher, and then I “file it” in my office.   I tell the student I will keep it as long as things improve.  If not, I will send it home and confer with the parents.  Have only had to do 2 over many years and neither went home.
  • A child who has continual “challenges” has a secret signal with me (could be just eye contact with me touching my ear lobe).  That lets the student know he needs to settle down or remember expectations.
  • The teacher needs to be upbeat and have a great attitude and BELIEVE in what he/she is teaching!  Kids are motivated by our enthusiasm and daily attitudes.  Also, music is a HUGE motivator!!!!  I play music with almost every lesson…..
  • Plan modifications ahead of time for your special needs students.  They deserve success at their level.  Also, get their input ahead of time for suggestions for up and coming lessons…..
  • Concerning time-outs, I do this, too.  But, I do NOT go over to the student.  He/she must come to me and tell me he/she is ready to get back into the activity.  That way, I am not giving the student any attention for negative behavior.  Should he/she choose to remain “out” for the remainder of the class period, we do chat before dismissal.  My system:  first infraction is a warning, 2nd is a time-out, 3rd is time-out for the class period (our classes are 25min.).  should it happen often, a behavior ticket goes into place.  Any physical contact, principal involvement – zero tolerance.
  • I have a “reward system” I have used for years and years.  Super effective.  Class calendars and traveling trophies.  At the end of each class, the class signals (0,1, or 2) with their fingers how we did following our guidelines.  If great, a 2 goes on their calendar.  After the “calendar” is completed (would take a month with all 2’s to fill it), it comes down and a new one goes up.  A trophy goes to the classroom teacher’s desk for a week.  I actually travel about 12 trophies!  Kids will live up to your expectations and want to please!  At the end of the year, 2 classes (1 for 3-6 and 1 from K-2), those who got the most stamps on their calendars, get a “pe party of favorite activities, a healthy snack, school-wide recognition, and certificates for home!
  • I never use drinks as a reward.  They all should always get them, in my opinion, when they need one (which is at the end of class).  Instead, kids love to please and I have come up with many, many hand/body “gives” (such as the sprinkler, motorcycle, firecracker, etc. to celebrate accomplishments/showing great behavior/kindness that happen throughout each lesson.
  • I also like to challenge kids at the beginning of lessons to such as let’s see how many of you can say 3 nice things to 3 different people?  How many of you can share the balls with others?  How many different friends can you  untag during the course of this game?  Then, recognize those you did with a show of hands and a hand jive!  Sometimes, I have kids point to those who helped them out.  Always, with partner activities, they do high-fives and or friendly knuckles,  or the like…

Physical Educators: Team or Group… What do YOU Think?

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

Forward by Paul Rosengard

Over the years, physical education has been inextricably linked with athletics and “assigned” its own, unique vernacular:

“Drop and give me 20!”  “You throw like a girl.” “Take another lap around the track.”  “Winners always watch Glee and losers tape Sportscenter.”  OK, I made that last one up – but it’s really just as silly and wrong as the previous three examples…

If you know SPARK, you may have recognized that we make a conscience effort to change the way we (physical educators) speak to their students.  We suggest using ahead or behind — instead of winner and loser.  Loops around a health circuit — instead of laps around a track.  Anything to separate today’s physical education, from the clichés associated with the “old” PE.

Recently, we started discussing whether it’s better to use the words group and groupmates, instead of team and teammates – even with high school age students.  Not surprisingly, we had some differing opinions, so I thought it would be good to solicit the opinions of others.  Joe Herzog made the time to share his thoughts and I am appreciative.  He graciously agreed to let SPARK print his words and they’re featured below.  Thanks for making the time to read it – and then let us know what YOU think? Agree or disagree? Let’s keep the conversation going in Facebook and Twitter as well…

Blog Article:

It was less difficult for me and my colleagues to divest ourselves of the term “team” because we restructured our curriculum making it greatly devoid of the traditional “team” games. The only “Team” game I played was “Ultimate Frisbee” and even then it was a four goaled game in which teams didn’t actually exist.  It was our goal to turn away from the traditional “team competition” concept and guide our students toward a more intrinsic, self motivated personal change “competition.” Working with inner-city kids who had huge allegiances to professional sports teams, it was at first a challenge, but as personal improvement, personal challenges, self-investigation and cooperatives became fun, challenging and introspective, we saw fundamental changes in attitudes and behaviors.

Thus we knew that it was possible to run a viable, successful program without being, or without essentially using “team” in any of the common concepts. We used “groups”, “families”, “buddies up” and “brothers ‘n sisters” with some co-ed groups. Actually all of our groups were co-ed and that as well made it somewhat easier to move away from the traditional team sport competition concept and go to dual and individual challenges and personal goals and improvement.

We did discuss, with our students, the difference between physical education and athletics; how and why they were different and why learning and developing specific skills and learning how to work together was of significant benefit to them IF they chose to participate in athletics. Something must have worked, because in the fourth year of our new school (from a 9th grade only to a 7-8 middle school) our athletic participation more than doubled.

We discussed with our students why cooperation worked better in the workplace than competition; that competition between businesses was a natural and often unspoken outcome in the fight to gain economic advantage, but that within the business itself, cooperative effort toward a common goal made for better products, a better working environment and a more successful business, which usually meant more profit and better working condition for workers.

Our philosophy was that a confident, knowledgeable student, at ease with who he/she was could move forward into intra-murals or into athletic competition and work well with others and not be afraid to make extra effort or not be afraid to fail because they recognize what those concepts meant in the whole process of health/fitness, challenge and successful group outcomes. The use of the term “team” in intra-murals is a natural outcome of the iconic status of team sports in the United States (and world wide, as well). Curiously we didn’t have much of an intra-mural program (mostly at lunch) because the vast majority of our kids either went out for a sport team or they were in the classroom after school being tutored, under going remediation, being counseled or they went directly home and had to baby sit younger siblings.

We tried to produce a program that was both physically and intellectually challenging to our kids, to provide them with a curriculum (and a fair amount of choice in activities–in a carefully constructed program) that they enjoyed and we made it as cross-curricular as we could so kids could connect P.E. with the classroom. That concept worked well because we had an admin. and a “classroom” teaching staff that bought into the concept.

Getting away from the team competition concept and the use of the term “team” in fairly short order was not difficult. It certainly served our program and our students (and the community at large, it seems) quite well. As our students bonded our suspension/expulsion, one of the highest in the district dropped to 3rd lowest and our attendance went from one of the worst to just short of the best (with crime in the neighborhood dropping significantly, at the same time.) I’m not suggesting we did all of this ourselves. There was a world of help and cooperation (there’s that word again) from a variety of on and off campus resources, but we think our philosophy provided the initial impetus to get it all started.

Joe

Joseph E. Herzog, Neurokinesiologist
Chair, Region 28, CAHPERD
Pres. Fresno Alliance for Phys. Educ./Athletics
Senior Advisor, Fit4learning
2010 CAHPERD Honor Award

“You can learn more about a person in an hour of play, than in an year of conversation.” Plato

NFL Fuel Up to Play 60 Funding Opportunity

Monday, January 10th, 2011

nfl-logo-play-60Fuel Up to Play 60 is a new organization aiming to help schools help themselves by getting kids to focus on a combination of physical activity and healthy nutrition choices on a daily basis. Is your school planning on or already participating in the Fuel Up to Play 60 program sponsored by the NFL? If so, they are offering a new grant program to help jump start your school’s individual program. Earn your team up to $3,000 in grant money to use on a customized Fuel Up to Play 60 program of your own design. With the playoffs in progress and Super Bowl in sight, our youth are invested in football more than ever. The NFL will allocate marketing to promote the new program to kids while they are watching their favorite players on TV or at the stadium. Then when the players visit their schools or hold community events, the kids will begin to understand the importance of a healthy and active lifestyle.

There are several unique aspects of this program that set it above the rest. Numerous attempts have been made in the past to improve our kids’ health and fitness but the obesity problems still remain. Something different must be done, and the Fuel Up to Play 60 program is ready to take on the task. Here are several unique characteristics of the program:

  • For Youth, By Youth: Youth helped design, test, and implement the program. They have been involved in every aspect of the process, making it an authentic experience that all youth are willing to adopt at their own schools.
  • Comprehensive Approach: Too many programs focus solely on one aspect of youth health, either physical activity or nutrition. Fuel Up to Play 60 treats the two as one in the same, taking a holistic approach to solving our youth’s obesity dilemma.
  • Influential Partners: Our youth look up to the NFL and its players to set a good example for them. Fuel Up to Play 60 brings health to the attention of kids by capitalizing on those players’s influence. Throughout the season and leading up to the Super Bowl, the NFL leaders will spread the message of the importance of proper nutrition and daily physical activity. To logistically help the NFL, the National Dairy Council will use their resources and relationship with the education system to supply proper nutrition information and materials.
  • Customized Programs: Fuel Up to Play 60 doesn’t have a set of required action that needs to be taken by each school. Instead, they have several principles and suggestions, but let the youth decide for themselves and make the program their own. Each school is given the autonomy to decide what is best for them and let the youth implement it how they see fit.
  • Broad Reach: Last year alone, the program reached over 60,000 schools and 36 million youth. With new funding opportunities, Fuel Up to Play 60 should be able to touch every youth in the United States in the next couple of years.

Funding Opportunities: All K-12 schools are eligible for the new funding opportunities. This can be a great resource for schools weakened by heavy budget cuts, but who still want to make big changes in their student’s lives. Every student deserves the same access to fitness and healthy food choices and the NFL, Dairy Farmers, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and private donors are all stepping up to the plate to help out financially. There are two different ways your school can earn funding for your Fuel Up to Play 60 team.

  1. The first is a competitive, nationwide grant available for schools enrolled in the Fuel Up to Play 60 program. These funds can be used for numerous aspects in jump starting your team’s program.
  2. The Child Nutrition and Fitness Initiative Breakfast Grant program is a grant that will provide funds for increasing the nutritious value of meals available at school, specifically alternative breakfast options.

What are the funds for? The broad answer is to help reduce obesity by helping youth implement programs focusing on nutrition and physical activity. Specifically, the funds can be used for a wide variety of things. Each school must present a detailed budget of what your school’s team will spend the funds on, but there are numerous options for customization. The categories on the application include: promotional materials, giveaways to encourage participation, staff/professional involvement, foodservice materials and equipment, physical activities materials and equipment, nutrition educational materials, and other.

If you’ve been looking for funds to implement SPARK curriculum, training or equipment in your school this is the perfect opportunity! Or, if you already have SPARK in your school, you can use these funds to expand and extend your program(s)!

More Fuel Up to Play 60 Resources:

Good luck!

The Campaign to Exterminate Physical Activity

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

I was taking a delightful bike ride on a sunny but brisk December day in San Diego, and I actually passed a father and son who were riding electric bikes (no pedaling). Just a couple of minutes later I saw a family zipping around like robots on Segways. Those images kind of spoiled my ride—for two reasons.

First, instead of encouraging their kids to be active, these parents were promoting the easy joys of slothfulness.  I’m sure they thought they were being good parents by having fun with their children, getting them outdoors, and introducing them to cool technology.  Here we are, 10 years into the New Millenium, and teaching your child to avoid physical activity is still considered good parenting.  With childhood obesity constantly in the media, why aren’t parents, as well as health professionals, public officials, school officials, and people in general, more concerned about making sure kids get enough physical activity?

That brings me to the second thought that spoiled my ride.  The campaign to exterminate physical activity!  Since the dawn of humanity people have been dreaming of ways to reduce their walking, get someone else to do the heavy work, and avoid sweating.  For millennia it was pretty hard to avoid physical activity and stay alive.  But in the past couple of hundred years, humanity’s dreams have come true.  One of the main motivations of the Industrial Revolution was to supply people with the Labor Saving Devices they craved, and gazillions of dollars have been made in the process.  Technological innovations have taken physical activity out of most work, transportation, and household tasks.  Our homes and offices are filled with Labor Saving Devices, from the electric can opener to the computer to the car.

The extermination has taken about 200 years, but it is almost complete.  Now, efforts to finally eradicate physical activity are getting a bit ridiculous.  Is it so onerous to walk a quarter mile that you would pay $5000 for a Segway?  Are people so committed to laziness that they will ride a bike that does the pedaling for them?  Is there any longer a problem of too-much-activity that needs a solution?

What all this means is that we have a lot of work to do.  Physical activity has been mainly exterminated, to catastrophic effect for our physical and mental health and medical costs.  But still, people buy any gizmo that promises to squeeze the last few minutes of activity from their day.  The Fitness Revolution of the 1980s did not create a culture of activity.  Parents are not teaching their children to enjoy movement, dance, games, and sport as much as they need to.  Appreciating new gizmos seems to take precedence.

Those of us who want to create better health through more activity continue to face big challenges.  Looks like my resolution for 2011 will be to get a little better at encouraging people to enjoy being active.

Jim Sallis

www.drjamessallis.sdsu.edu

Sharing the Good News…

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

I want to share an enjoyable moment with you.  Recently, I was in Sacramento to film a discussion on physical activity promotion in schools organized by the California Department of Public Health’s Project LEAN.  When the video is posted online, I’ll let you know.

While we were waiting in the “green room” before the filming I had inspiring conversations with my fellow panelists whom I had just met.  A former teacher of the year who works in a small town was talking about his efforts to improve physical education in his new position at district manager of physical education, health, and sports.  One of his goals was to use a common curriculum so students would benefit from a cohesive approach throughout their time in his district.  He also wanted teachers in elementary and middle schools to communicate about physical education using the same terms and principles.  I was pleased when he started talking about SPARK as his curriculum of choice.  Beyond that, he saw SPARK as a partner in his efforts.  He was enthusiastic about the support he received in planning his strategy, the quality of the training and the trainers, and that the curricula had consistent principles across levels applied in an age-appropriate way.  He was really surprised when I told him I am a co-founder of SPARK.  He thanked me for starting such a great program, and I thanked him for embracing SPARK.

The other panelist was a superintendent of a California school district.  Though she was not a PE teacher, she was highly committed to coordinated school health and very familiar with SPARK.  It was a treat to hear her impressions about SPARK and her appreciation for the efforts of the SPARK staff to support her efforts to improve the health of children in her district.  She had seen SPARK benefit those students, who are largely low-income and Latino.  Based on her experience, she recommends SPARK to others, and what could be more influential to school officials than a recommendation from a superintendent?

It was truly heart-warming to hear these unsolicited testimonials about SPARK.  These school leaders did not know my connection with SPARK when they enthused about it, so I know it was totally genuine.  This a good moment to thank the SPARK staff for their daily and nightly efforts to make physical education GREAT and to improve children’s health.

Jim Sallis

www.drjamessallis.sdsu.edu

Schools Add Skateboarding to Kids Classes

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

Not too long ago, schools and city councils across the United States were at odds with skateboarders. We’ve all seen the signs banning skateboarding from school and public premises: “Absolutely No Skateboarding,” “No Skateboarding, Biking or Rollerblading Allowed,” etc. Some places, such as Center City Philadelphia, have gone so far as to ban skateboarding from all public property, including sidewalks! Yet skateboarding has still remained a very popular sport amongst children and young adults. And recently, many schools have actually introduced skateboarding to their Physical Education curriculum.

No_Skateboarding3x4
(Image Source)

Schools across the United States are revamping their P.E. curriculum and exchanging traditional competitive team sports for more alternative and individualized sports such as skateboarding. Advocates for the new P.E. claim that sports such as skateboarding appeal to children who aren’t natural athletes and who don’t enjoy traditional competitive, full-contact sports, for instance, soccer and football. One statistic found that as few as 10% of school-aged children are natural athletes who enjoy competitive contact sports. Advocates claim that exposing these children to a sport like skateboarding promotes a more active lifestyle inside and outside of the classroom. Children who aren’t interested in competitive sports are more likely to go home and participate in a more individualized activity, like skateboarding, once they have been exposed to it in school.

There is a huge push for schools to promote active lifestyles in young children because child obesity is still a very serious concern in the United States. The Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia reports that almost 20% of children between the ages of 6 and 19 are considered obese. In addition, the overall child obesity rate has tripled over the last thirty years. A healthy lifestyle includes not only healthy eating habits but also regular physical activity. Because of the child obesity epidemic, many schools have introduced health classes that stress good eating habits. Children must also be taught how to integrate exercise into their daily routine. Therefore it is essential that children are introduced to a variety of sports—skateboarding included—at an early age in order to find sports that appeal most to them.

kid-with-skateboard
(Image Source)

This new P.E. program has been introduced to a variety of schools across the country, including schools in New Jersey, New York, California and Minnesota. It has been met with rave reviews by both P.E. instructors and students. Skateboarding has been a particularly successful part of the new program. Teachers who are in their twenties and thirties most likely grew up with skateboarding and so the program is just as exciting for young teachers as it is for students.

Most importantly, skateboarding is a great way to exercise and have fun at the same time. It has been proven to increase balance, agility, coordination, and reaction time. It specifically targets the leg muscles and core muscles. More advanced skaters who are able to perform tricks and grabs also use their arm and back muscles. Skateboarding for twenty to thirty minutes is a great form of cardiovascular activity that increases the heart rate while burning calories and developing muscle. Perhaps one of the best side effects of skateboarding that teachers have noted is improved self-esteem in children as they get better and better. Beginning students, who could barely stand on a skateboard on day one, are skating laps around the gymnasium by the end of the program. In the process of learning to skateboard, students learn that hard work and perseverance pay off.

kid-skateboarding

(Image Source)

One of the main drawbacks to introducing a skateboarding program to a school is the cost. Many schools have been faced with tough budgets over the last few years. And unfortunately, safely learning how to skateboard requires quite a bit of equipment: skateboards, helmets, wrist guards, elbow pads and knee pads. Skate Pass, a Colorado-based company, offers skateboarding “curriculum kits” for approximately $3,000 which include enough equipment for twenty children.  The kit includes skateboards that are specifically designed with young children in mind, and wheels that won’t mark up gymnasium floors. They also provide specific curriculums for beginner, intermediate and advanced students. Schools that have found money in their budgets and implemented a skateboarding curriculum of some kind have found that students’ reactions are incredibly positive.

Once viewed as a troublesome and meaningless activity, skateboarding is now being recognized as an engaging form of physical activity for children. It is an effective form of exercise and builds self-esteem in school-aged children. P.E. teachers are recognizing that competitive full-contact sports don’t appeal to everyone, and they are beginning to introduce alternative programs that promote individuality. Although the cost of implementing a skateboarding program is quite high, the results seem to outweigh the financial burden. Students are more engaged in physical activity, and they learn that exercise can be fun.

2010 PEP Grant Update & Helpful Tips

Monday, June 21st, 2010

2010 PEP Grant Applications have been announced and now it’s time to hustle!

You’ve got 30 days (or less – depending on when you read this) to put in a high quality proposal.

Here are a few important things to think about as you do your best to meet the deadline.

  • Register online as soon as possible.  Go to the following links and complete the necessary steps to be eligible to apply online. http://www07.grants.gov/applicants/get_registered.jsp
    (Click Organization Registration and complete the steps). Only online applications will be accepted this year so be sure to register early.

  • Know and understand what you are required measure.  The federal government is expanding the data to be collected by winning applicants.  Be sure to address each of the required measures in your objectives as well as you evaluations.  Visit http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2010/2010-14731.htm for the initial announcement and overview. Click Here for the 2010 application.

  • Go for the bonus points!  Be sure to include a well-outlined plan for collecting BMI data.  Your superintendent will need to be on board and signatures will be required.  However, this could be the difference between a winning grant and an application that almost wins.Likewise, gather your programming partners, like other health organizations, your food service staff or local youth organizations.  A written and signed collaborative agreement can also score you much need bonus points.
  • This last tip continues to be critical to winning PEP Grants: Know your needs and be able to prove them through documentation and assessment information. In your application, clearly outline where your program can improve and how PEP funding will make those improvements. Prove that you’ve done your homework by utilizing available assessment tools like the School Health Index and PECAT. Always address local, state and national standards.

    Update 6/22/10:

    The Department is providing technical assistance (TA) opportunities to applicants in the form of both webinars and conference calls. These opportunities are scheduled as follows:

    1. June 21, 2010 (Webinar) –information specific to SHI, HECAT/PECAT, and BMI
    2. June 22, 2010 (Webinar) –information specific to SHI
    3. June 29, 2010 (AM Conference Call) –general info on program and application submission
    4. June 29, 2010 (PM Conference Call) general info on program and application submission
    5. July 7, 2010 (Conference Call) general info on program and application submission

    Additional information related to these TA opportunities will be posted on ED’s website at http://www2.ed.gov/programs/whitephysed/applicant.html.

    Hopefully you’ve prepared up to this point, and already have much of the information you need to craft your winning application.  SPARK knows and understands what it takes to be a part of a winning PEP Grant proposal.  To date, more than 100 PEP grants have been awarded to organizations that chose to implement SPARK curriculum/training and equipment!

    Contact a SPARK representative for a free cost proposal and for help writing SPARK into your grant submission. We want to make it easy for you to implement SPARK and improve the quality and quantity of PE/PA at your site(s).

    Thoughts on the PEP Grant from Dr. Sallis

    Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

    This week’s Blog entry features Dr. Sallis’ comments on the proposed changes to the Carol M. White PEP grant in response to:

    Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP) Program Summary of Notice of proposed priorities, requirements, and definitions.
    Published in the Federal Register, Vol. 75, No. 50; March 16, 2010

    Thank you for the opportunity to comment on these proposed new directions for PEP grants.  Physical education, physical activity, and public health professionals are grateful for the PEP grant program, as are parents and education officials.  Physical education is the primary institution for preparing youth for a lifetime of physical activity, and PEP is the only federal funding for PE.  PE also plays a role as a partial solution for childhood obesity, because it is the only the policy/program that can provide physical activity for potentially all students.  Thus, there are many reasons for wanting the PEP grant program to be as effective as possible.

    But there is not general consensus about the goals of PEP grants or how to achieve the goals.  I am providing input as a psychologist and public health researcher who has been working to improve PE and youth PA for over 25 years.  My priority is that PE should contribute to improving public health, and the surest way to accomplish this is to ensure students are active during PE.  Certainly PE is more than physical activity, but almost everyone would agree that inactive PE is bad PE.  PE has always been about “teaching through the physical,” but several studies show that students are inactive most of the time during PE.  This is why PEP grants and other efforts to improve the quality of PE are needed.  Most of the educational goals targeted in PEP grants can be accomplished better through activity, such as motor skills and social and emotional development.

    The Public Health View of PE:

    Let’s be clear that public health and PE professionals often have differing opinions about the goals of PE.  As reflected in the PEP goals, PE professionals focus on preparing youth for a lifetime of activity, not on providing physical activity during PE.  Public health professionals emphasize ensuring PE classes are active, because (a) PA provides well-document physical and mental health benefits during youth and (b) there is little or no evidence that PE has long-term effects on physical activity or health.  Especially in the midst of the childhood obesity epidemic, it is a public health imperative to use every resource and opportunity to get children active, and PE is a high priority because it reaches more children than any other program or policy.  Yet, students are mostly inactive during PE.  Further, the PE profession has not embraced the goal of ensuring PE provides physical activity.  My vision of the public health value of PE was written in this highly-cited paper 20 years ago.

    Sallis, J.F., and McKenzie, T.L.  (1991).  Physical education’s role in public health.  Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 62, 124-137.

    In short, there is little or no evidence linking proposed PEP goals/requirements with lifelong physical activity.  There is much more certainty that getting children active NOW in PE classes leads to health and academic benefits.  In fact, there is enough evidence to recommend active physical education as a strategy to improve academic achievement.

    http://www.activelivingresearch.org/files/Active_Ed_Summer2009.pdf

    Thus, from the public health perspective, a critical missing emphasis in PEP is to increase moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) in PE classes.  Most studies show that students in PE are active less than 50% of the classes.  Healthy People Objectives for the Nation (USDHHS) has included an objective since at least 1990 that PE should have at least 50% MVPA.  http://www.healthypeople.gov/ However, such a goal is not endorsed by PEP or other Department of Education documents.  I strongly recommend that the over-riding goal of PEP be changed.  My recommendation is to require grants to improve MVPA in PE (all grants) and to undertake one or more of the other activities that may or may not promote physical activity. Inclusion of the other activities should be justified by the expected impact of the activity on child physical activity.

    PEP Needs More Emphasis on Evidence-Based Approaches:

    Despite the refreshing call for data and evaluation in this notice, there is a disturbing lack of focus on evidence-based approaches.  We do have evidence-based approaches for improving PE and for other school-based PA programs and policies.  http://www.calendow.org/uploadedFiles/Publications/By_Topic/Disparities/Obesity_and_Diabetes/PE%20Matters%20Long%20VersionFINAL.pdf

    My recommendation is to explicitly encourage the use of evidence-based approaches and provide extra points for doing so. CDC’s Community Guide recommends enhanced (activity-oriented) PE as an evidence-based intervention.  Thus, the current requirements are ignoring the health goals and evidence-based strategies for achieving them.  Getting children active in PE provides immediate health and academic benefits and helps meet other goals of PE.

    http://www.thecommunityguide.org/pa/behavioral-social/schoolbased-pe.html

    Broadening the Scope of PEP to Nutrition Education is Misguided:

    The broadening of PEP’s focus to require nutrition education would harm efforts to improve PA, PE, and fitness in youth.  PEP funding has declined over the years and is currently very low.  Thus, most of the schools applying are not funded.  Of course, it is essential to improve children’s eating habits to improve health and prevent obesity.  However, this is the wrong mechanism.  These are reasons why broadening PEP to require instruction in nutrition is not a good idea:

    1. By itself, nutrition education has modest to no effects on children’s eating.  If the goal is to improve eating, then policy and environmental changes in schools are more promising.  Targeting funding for nutrition education at the expense of evidence-based physical activity programs would have a net negative effect on children’s health.
    2. Requiring every team to have expertise in both physical activity and nutrition would make it more difficult to put teams together.
    3. Obesity control is generally dominated by nutrition interests and professionals.  PEP is a unique source of federal funding for improving PE and physical activity programs in schools.  There are already existing sources of funds for improving children’s eating habits.
    4. The infrastructure (personnel, organizational structure, funding) for physical activity promotion is minimal in the US and is dwarfed by the nutrition infrastructure.  See the references.  Adding nutrition requirements to PEP would weaken the weak component (physical activity promotion) and strengthen the strong component (nutrition promotion).

    Yancey, A.K., Fielding, J.E., Flores, G.R., Sallis, J.F., McCarty, W.J., & Breslow, L.  (2007).  Creating a robust public health infrastructure for physical activity promotion.  American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 32, 68-78.

    Yancey, A.K., & Sallis, J.F.  (2009).  Physical activity: Cinderella or Rodney Dangerfield?  Preventive Medicine, 49, 277-279.

    Comment on Competitive Preference Priorities:

    The proposed priorities are fine, but a more important priority is to give points to schools with high need (such as high obesity rates or low fitness levels). These schools are likely to be under-resourced and lack capacity to compete well in grant writing.  A California study showed PE is much worse in low-resource schools, so it is essential to target improvements in these schools. http://www.calendow.org/uploadedFiles/Publications/By_Topic/Disparities/Obesity_and_Diabetes/ASAP12.pdf

    Other Evidence-Based Strategies:

    Though I would be satisfied with restricting PEP funding to only improving the PE programs, there is also a rationale for allowing grants to support improved PE and other evidence-based physical activity strategies.  There are other evidence-based approaches for promoting youth physical activity that could be included in multi-component programs, though they do not have as much evidence as enhanced PE.  Numerous studies show that walking or biking to school contributes to higher overall physical activity, and Safe Routes to Schools programs have evidence of effectiveness.

    http://www.activelivingresearch.org/files/ALR_Brief_ActiveTransport.pdf

    Simple interventions to increase physical activity in recess, such as painting game designs on playgrounds and providing equipment have substantial effects on youth activity.

    http://www.activelivingresearch.org/files/Built_Design.pdf

    After school time is the main opportunity for children to be active, yet low-income children have few physical activity resources like parks and programs in their neighborhoods.  Thus, joint use agreements that allow schools to the community can provide nearby opportunities for daily physical activity targeted to children who need them most.

    http://www.activelivingresearch.org/files/Built_Design.pdf

    After school programs typically emphasize academics, but it is critical to provide physical activity during these programs.  Physical activity guidelines for after school programs were developed using a rigorous evidence-based approach in California and could be a national model.

    http://californiaafterschool.org/c/@gD.RsQGXiqZBk/Pages/physical__activity.html

    Comments on Proposed Competitive Preference Priorities and Proposed Requirements:

    Proposed Competitive Preference Priority 1—Collection of Body Mass Index.

    This is fine, but it would not be my highest priority, because there is little or no evidence that measuring BMI and providing feedback will lead to more physical activity.

    Proposed Competitive Preference Priority 2—Partnerships Between Applicants and Supporting Community Entities

    No comment

    Proposed Requirement 1—Align Project Goals With Identified Needs Using the School Health Index

    This is a reasonable requirement, and SHI is an excellent tool, but more flexibility in the choice of a needs assessment instrument could be helpful.  For example, validated instruments like the YMCA’s Community Healthy Living Index, or a PE-specific evaluation could be justified.  The PECAT has limited value since it only assesses the content of a curriculum, not the quality or quantity of its implementation.

    Another option would be for the applicant to use the SOFIT method of systematic observation of PE classes to identify strengths and weaknesses of actual PE classes.

    McKenzie, T.L., Sallis, J.F., & Nader, P.R.  (1991).  SOFIT:  System for observing fitness instruction time.  Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 11, 195-205.

    http://www.activelivingresearch.org/node/11944

    Proposed Requirement 2—Nutrition and Physical Activity-Related Policies.

    Proposed Requirement 3—Linkage With Local Wellness Policies.

    Proposed Requirement 4—Linkages With Federal, State, and Local Initiatives.

    Requirements 2, 3, and 4 are redundant and would create an unnecessary burden on applicants.  Many of the policies will be the same or overlapping, so it could be confusing to address all these different types of policies.  One requirement that identifies the relevant policies and plans to improve policies and their implementation would be sufficient.  The applicant should focus on (a) improving implementation of policies that cannot be changed or are sufficient and (b) improving policies that need change and are modifiable at the local level.

    Proposed Requirement 5—Updates to Physical Education and Nutrition Instruction Curricula.

    The PECAT is only an assessment of the PE curriculum.  It does not deal with the implementation of a quality curriculum, which is also critical.  This requirement should also provide encouragement for the adoption of curricula with evidence of effectiveness from research or evaluation.

    Proposed Requirement 6—Equipment Purchases.

    This approach to ensuring that equipment complements other program elements, including curriculum and training, is an important one.

    Proposed Requirement 7—Increasing Transparency and Accountability.

    Reporting requirements should be meaningful (directly related to program goals of getting students active) but minimal.  There is a trade-off between extent of evaluation and program implementation, because time and resources are limited.  The main goal is to use PEP resources to increase children’s physical activity. Though evaluating is critical, the goal is not to document every conceivable program outcome.

    Proposed Requirement 8—Participation in a National Evaluation.

    I strongly support a national evaluation of PEP.

    Proposed Requirement 9—Required Performance Measures and Data Collection Methodology.

    Pedometers: This is a useful and feasible tool for assessing PA.  However, using them for overall daily PA should be the responsibility of the national evaluation team.  PEP grantees should be responsible for evaluating the outcomes of their projects.  If it is PE only, then using pedometers only in PE class would be the main goal.  If the project targets PA throughout the school day, then using pedometers throughout the school day would be sufficient.  Few school-based studies have documented physical activity changes outside of school.

    3DPAR: I am co-author of a study showing that 3-day recalls are not valid in middle school students.  Thus, there is little justification for the time that needs to be devoted to a 3-day recall.  A 1-day recall is sufficient for an aggregate measure.  I am also concerned this measure would not be sensitive to small changes since the reports are in 30-minute blocks.  It would be better to pilot test this measure with a few grantees to determine feasibility and sensitivity to change.

    McMurray, R.G., Ring, K.B., Treuth, M.S., Welk, G.J., Pate, R.R., Schmitz, K.H., Pickrel, J.L., Gonzalez, M., Almeida, M.J.C.A., Young, D.R., & Sallis, J.F.  (2004).  Comparison of two approaches to structured physical activity surveys for adolescents.  Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 36, 2135-2143.

    Fitness tests:  These would be fine at the beginning and end of each year.

    Here is another approach to evaluating the impact of the PEP activities on student MVPA.  This method could be used with any set of programs and could support cross-school comparisons.

    1. Number of “opportunity minutes for physical activity” provided per enrolled child.  These could be estimated over an entire school year and for by school and by specific programs, such as PE, recess, after school.

    2. Estimated “physical activity minutes per child.” This value is based on multiplying the opportunity minutes with MVPA minutes per session of a sample of students engaged in the different programs using direct observation or pedometry.

    Using these calculations would provide a simple metric that would allow all schools/PEP grants to be compared (i.e., on physical activity opportunity minutes per student per year AND observed/calculated physical activity minutes per year).

    Because I am opposed to broadening PEP grants to include nutrition, I am opposed to requiring reports of fruit and vegetable consumption.  If you decide to move ahead with measuring these outcomes, then consider this validated measure.

    Prochaska, J.J., and Sallis, J.F.  (2004).  Reliability and validity of a fruit and vegetable screening measure for adolescents.  Journal of Adolescent Health, 34, 163-165.

    Proposed Criteria for Evaluation:

    The evaluation criteria should be based on using the funds to maximize the impact on youth physical activity, sustainability of programs, and evaluation.  Here are my recommendations for evaluation criteria for grants, and they should be communicated to applicants:

    • Based on a systematic needs assessment
    • Evidence basis for effects of proposed activities, programs, policies on youth physical activity
    • Likelihood of, or plan for, sustainability of programs, policies, implementation, impact
    • Evaluation plan
    • Targeting high-need schools and students

    Submitted by:

    James F. Sallis, PhD

    Active Living Research

    Department of Psychology

    San Diego State University

    3900 Fifth Avenue, Suite 310

    San Diego, CA  92103 USA

    Phone: 619-260-5534

    Fax: 619-260-1510

    Email: sallis@mail.sdsu.edu

    Website: www.drjamessallis.sdsu.edu

    URGENT- Advocate for Quality Physical Education!

    Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

    Urgent Request- deadline of March 26th!


    Advocate for Quality Physical Education as part of the NCLB reauthorization (ESEA)

    The U. S. House Education and Labor Committee is collecting comments regarding the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (formally No Child Left Behind) reauthorization. In an effort to have Physical Education addressed and included in the reauthorization, your participation is extremely necessary. This is crucial as our country is at a very critical point and we can NOT miss this opportunity.

    Please take a few moments to send the following points to the email address below. Now is the chance many of you have been waiting for and it is a small window of opportunity. Please let our Federal Leaders know how important physical education is to our students and their health.

    eseacomments@mail.house.gov

    Please identify your group or identify yourself as a supporter of quality physical education.

    Please request that the new Elementary and Secondary Education Act should:

    • Refocus the newly developed Successful, Safe and Healthy Students section to a Coordinated School Health Approach extending the already proposed activities to provide a critical facility in which many agencies might work together to maintain the well-being of young people.
    • Include the text of the FIT Kids Act, requiring schools to report on the quality and quantity of physical education, physical education facilities, teacher accreditation, and physical education curriculum;
    • Require all physical education teachers to be licensed in physical education;
    • Include physical education standards as part of the core curricula all students need especially when developing assessments for student growth; and
    • Maintain the Carol M. White Physical Education Program as a stand-alone grant program, with minimum funding of $100 million.