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Fuel Up to Play 60: Promoting School-Wide Wellness

Posted 1 day ago - by Jessica Shawley

Have you heard of Fuel Up to Play 60?! Wondering how it can impact your school and program?

Find out more about the program and how it promotes school-wide wellness below.

What attracted me to the Fuel Up to Play 60 (FU2P60) program is how the mission aligns with my goals as a physical educator AND it isn’t just a physical education-only grant.

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You're probably thinking, "Wait. Say that again?! You were looking for something that wasn't just a PE grant?"

Yes, I was looking for an opportunity to emphasize wellness as a school-wide initiative. FU2P60 helps schools build comprehensive programs that promote a culture of wellness school-wide, which includes and supports health & physical education, and is built upon student leadership. This is what I was looking for to help me team up with colleagues and cultivate wellness partnerships.

This is my fourth year as a Fuel Up to Play 60 Advisor and each year the program expands throughout our school. For example, near the end of last year, the technology teacher at my school approached me with the idea of bringing Fuel Up to Play 60 into her classroom. A little back story, with previous funding, I had provided teachers with some of Gopher’s Active & Healthy™ Schools program materials to bring ‘brain energizers’ into classrooms to help students take breaks from prolonged sitting. This teacher had successfully added these brain energizers to her teaching and now wanted to educate students on the importance of regular breaks from sitting and emphasize making healthy choices, especially if their career choice would include sitting in front of a screen.   

The technology teacher became a program advisor with me. With FU2P60 grant funding, we purchased equipment to keep at her end of the school for physical activity breaks from prolonged periods of sitting. Other teachers were allowed access the equipment as well. The students loved being able to get outside or into the hallway to move and then return to their work, often with more vigor. This was made possible through the “In-Class Physical Activity Breaks” Play.

Next, we purchased an iPad mini™, GoPro® camera, and educational materials/posters for the “Snack Smarter in School” Play. Students utilized the technology equipment to take videos, interviews, and snapshots of our students in action during a variety of activities. The technology teacher used Food Cards to review nutrition content previously taught in physical education. Students built healthy plates, analyzed food labels, and formatted information into tables as part of their technology skill building. Students created original posters with healthy messages and participated in contests for giveaways. Students even developed a FU2P60 student website we will use to post pictures and promote the program overall.

The technology teacher developed several activities that infused nutrition with technology skills. It truly is a successful cross-curricular partnership.  

Fuel Up to Play 60 is a natural platform to help teachers collaborate and enhance their curriculum through student health and wellness. The possibilities are endless! This blog is only one success story from my Fuel Up to Play 60 experience. There are many more and you can view other stories here. Overall, the initiative is an excellent way to help establish partnerships within your school that promote the importance of physical activity and nutrition.

The program provides the option to apply for grant funding annually. You are not required to apply for funding to be a part of the program. It is completely FREE. As an experienced grant-writing teacher, the FU2P60 application process to be very user friendly, even for first time grant writers. Your local dairy council will provide support with the application process and overall program. All you have to do is ask. There are two upcoming deadlines for 2015-16 school year grant funding cycle (June 16 & November 4, 2015) where your school can qualify for up to $4,000 in funds to support the Healthy Eating & Physical Activity Plays.

Continuing the Conversation: What do you currently do to support wellness in your school beyond your classroom? What partnership opportunities might there be in your school or community that could begin next year? 

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5 DIY Projects for the Best Field Day Ever!

Posted 6 days ago - by Shannon Jarvis

Are your students bored with the same field day activities year after year?

Bring excitement back to field day with 5 DIY projects for the best field day ever!

Field Day is my students’ favorite day of the year, and I am right there with them! It’s a day full of fun, excitement and friendly competition. A celebration that summer is almost here and all of our hard work throughout the school year comes to an end.

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Personally, I believe the wetter and messier the field day, the better! Many of my activities and stations are things I put together myself. Nothing too complicated you just have to be willing to put in a little time.

5 DIY Field Day Activities:

1. Jumbo Slip-N-Slide

Jumbo Slip-N-Slide first made its appearance in my field day about 9 years ago. It's super easy to assemble, and if done right, you can reuse it for next year! At my school, we have two Jumbo Slip-N-Slides in difference lengths, one for the lower grades, 1st-3rd that is about 25ft long and one for the older grades, 4th-8th that is about 35ft long. 

Supplies:

  • Pool Noodles, enough noodles to cover the perimeter of the slip-n-slide

  • Heavy Plastic Sheeting (higher MIL the better, I used 6mil)

  • Scissors

  • Strong Duct Tape

  • Medium Temp Glue Gun (optional)

Directions:

  1. Roll out your sheeting and decide what length you want your slip-n-slide to be. Add about 3 extra feet (to roll the ends in later) and cut away the excess.

  2. Lay out the pool noodles to full desired length of your slip-n-slide, leaving the extra footage evenly on each end to roll later.

  3. Secure the noodles end to end to create one really long noodle by using duct tape.

  4. Secure the noodle to the plastic sheeting with your glue gun or by using duct tape about every 3 ft.

  5. Roll the long noodle inward. Make sure you roll it in at least 2 feet. Use glue gun or duct tape to secure about every 3 ft. Repeat on the other side

    • Tips: Seek out extra hands to help roll the noodle, keep the sheeting tight around the noodle, and remeber the more your roll, the narrower your slip-n-slide will be.

  6. Repeat the same process at each end of your slip-n-slide. When finished, it should look like a shallow pool.

  7. Seal and secure the entire slip-n-slide by using duct tape. Completely cover the inside perimeter of the slip-n-slide on the seams. Make sure you use duct tape all the way around the slip-n-slide, its important not to leave a gap where water can get in.

  8. Flip it upside down– this is the most important step! It took me years to figure that tip out, but by doing so, you should be able to get a couple years use out of the same slide.

  9. Add water, maybe a little baby oil, and let the fun begin!

2. Splash-A-Mole

Splash-a-mole is super fun and super easy to build! It's a watery twist to the popular arcarde game Whack-A-Mole. This activity made it's grand appearance into our field day in 2014. I first saw a similar activity on PE Universe as a game call Gopher Splash by John Theiss. I've found a few tweaks I will be making for next year and will include those below.

Supplies: 

  • 6' x 8' Tarp
  • Scissors
  • Marker
  • 5 Gal. Bucket Lid
  • Zip-ties
  • PVC Stand (supply list below)

Directions:

  1. Lay out your tarp flat on the ground.
  2. Use a 5-gal bucket lid and maker to trace circles on the tarp. Make sure your circles are not too close together or near the edges.
  3. Cut out your circles.
  4. Build your PVC pipe stand using the supplies below
  5. Attach tarp to stand with zip-ties

PVC Pip Stand Supplies: (all pipes are 1 ¼")

  • 1- 92" (Top Rail)
  • 1- 82 ¼" (Bottom Rail)
  • 2- 75 ½" (Side Rails)
  • 4- 12" (Foot Rails)
  • 2- 2 ½" (Foot Rails)
  • 4- Elbow Connectors
  • 4- End Cap Connectors
  • 2- Fout-Way Connectors

 

3. Giant Bubbles

Bubbles can be entertaining for all ages, even if you’re not the one making the bubbles. The amazed look faces when a BIG bubble is being made makes my day.

Here are some helpful tips if you want to incorporate a Giant Bubble station at your next field day.

First, you need to know that the ideal weather conditions for giant bubbles are a humid and overcast day. I teach in Texas, so humidity is not a problem, but that hot Texas sun can be. I generally have more stations than classes on field day, so I always make sure my classes visit this station early on before the sun gets too hot. Afternoon field days might be a little tricky with a bubble station. I would recommend putting the bubble station in a nice shaded area, if possible.

Second, the secret to creating a solution that will make BIG bubbles is glycerin. Glycerin can be found in the pharmacy section at most stores. Another secret to bigger bubbles is allowing your solution to settle for at least an hour before the first use, overnight is even better. 

Below you will find instructions to make your own bubble solution and large wands.

Supplies:

  • 5-Gallons Distilled Water
  • 12 Cups of Dawn Original Dish Soap
  • 18oz Glycerin 
  • Kiddie Pool
  • Butterfly Nets (from the Dollar Store is fine!)
  • Scissors

Directions:

  1. Gently mix together the water, dish soap, and glycerin in a kiddie pool or other holding container
    • Be careful not to create a lot of foam/froth when mixing the bubble solution. Also try to keep students from shaking or swirling the wands in the solution
    • Cut bottoms off of butterfly nets. Leave some of the netting as it helps the solution stick to the butterfly net.

4. Snowball Fight

Snowball Fight is my absolute favorite field day station!

A snowball fight at the start of summer?? Yep, that’s right!!! Students throw snowballs at each other made from baking flour and panty hose. Messy? Yes. FUN? Oh yeah! 

This DIY project can be time consuming, so the more hands on deck helping make the snowballs the better. I recommend making one snowball per student. The same snowball can be used over and over again until all the flour runs out. Each time the snowball is thrown a little flour comes out through the panty hose, leaving a white mark on your hit target.

Your students will love this DIY field day project. All you need are the supplies listed below and follow the simple directions on the video.

Supplies:

  • Baking Flour
  • Panty Hose (Knee Highs are easier to work with)
  • Cup
  • Scissors

5. Car Wash

Creating things out of PVC pipes can be so easy! Check out this awesome carwash my eight year old son designed for our field day this year. I am so excited to see this in action. We order two large Viking Tricarts from Gopher for the students to ride on and go thru the carwash. So FUN! I am super stoked about these Tricarts too! They have been on my PE Equipment dream list for a couple of years now.

Below are pictures and all the items you need to put this awesome DIY field day project together. 

 

Supplies: (All PVC Pipes for this project are 1")

  • 36- 2½' Pipes
  • 7- 4' Pipes
  • 2- 1½ (Used at top front to hang sign)
  • 8- Four-Way Connectors
  • 15- T Connectors
  • 15- Elbow Connectors

 

 

 

Using the picture above, piece together all your cut PVC pipes and connectors. We used PVC glue and glued each upside U section together, leaving the sidebars unglued to help with storage, as soon in the picture below.

Water Valve Supplies and Assembly:

Once fully assembled, drill your holes using a 1/8th drill bit in your desired locations. We have some holes drilled on top crossbars to create a water curtain and some drilled on the sidebars for a side spray. Be careful not to over drill, so your water flow has enough pressure to go through all the pipes. That’s it; now you just add your decorations.

Suggested Decorations:

  • Mop Heads
  • LOTS of pool noodles
  • Car sponges
  • Regular sponges
  • Plastic table cloth
  • Heave duty string to hang items with
  • Scissors or electric knife to cut noodles

You most certainly can cut some cost by not covering the pipes with noodles and just adding the center decorations. I wanted the “wow” factor and went the extra mile with ours.

To cover the pipes with noodles, I just used an electric knife (scissors would work too) to cut the noodle in half and then sliced long ways down one side of the noodle. To create the sponge balls, I cut sponges into 1” strips and layered 6 strips in a crisscross pattern and used string to tie them together in the middle. Really the sky is the limit when it comes to decorating.

Have fun building your DIY Carwash! I would love to see pictures!! 

Create extra smiles this field day and try one of our DIY projects. I would love to hear about how it went. If you have a great DIY project yourself that you would like to share or have any questions, contact me sjarvis@standrewsch.org.

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To Dodge or Not To Dodge?

Posted 1 week ago - by Peter Boucher

As I have written previously, I believe there should be a balance between traditional sport offerings and 21st century fitness in physical education and wellness curriculums.  Both have a place in the wellness continuum from a cognitive, social/emotional, and certainly physical perspective.  

However, I’ve always felt that physical education classes should be fun too, which leads to a very relevant question and hot topic in P.E. these days—
Dodgeball.

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Should Dodgeball be included or banned in today's Physical Education classes? 

The conversations I have witnessed, read, and heard about are rather “spirited” to say the least, and that’s being polite!  Dodgeball has been a fan favorite for many kids at all levels of P.E. since the 1970s. It is an activity that is either loved or hated by kids, parents, and teachers. There simply is no middle ground on this one.  Ask anyone you know if they like or dislike Dodgeball and they will have an opinion. 

Here’s a test!  Ask the next three people you run into after reading this blog whether they think Dodgeball should be allowed or prohibited in schools and see what they say. They will definitely have an opinion. 

But the point runs deeper. Does dodgeball have any educational merit or is it simply a form of “survival of the fittest” gladiatorial-type of physical torture? Proponents of Dodgeball will espouse that the fast-paced activity encourages hand-eye coordination, reflex enhancement, decision-making skills, teamwork, throwing and catching skills, and the positive list goes on. Detractors of the game will tell you that it is a punitive and punishing game where the stronger kids pound the weaker kids.  And yet who is correct?

The argument gains traction with each discussion, blog, article, tweet, etc. and grows stronger each day. What about you?  As a professional, parent, or spectator, what is your perspective?  Should Dodgeball be banned or welcomed?  Check in and let us know what you think.  Thanks for sharing your ideas and opinions. 

 
Should Dodgeball be banned or included in today's physical education classes?

Banned

Included

Poll Maker

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Looking for P.E. Professional Development? Try Twitter!

Posted 2 weeks ago - by Michael Beringer

Looking for new professional development opportunities? What about a new activity or game idea? Maybe a place to connect with other Physical Education Teachers? 

If you answered yes to any of these questions, it's time for you to check out Twitter! Learn how to join the P.E. Community on Twitter in 3 easy steps below.

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If you're anything like me, you're skeptical. You're probably thinking, "How can Twitter help me get new ideas on lesson planning, assessments, integration, classroom management, etc.?" Well, it certainly can! Twitter has a huge online Physical Education community. The internet allows us to collaborate with other P.E. Specialists like never before. We can now find fellow educators not just in our district, state, and nation, but globally with the use of social media, specifically Twitter.

As you probably know, finding professional development for the Physical Education professional can be difficult. When I first started teaching Physical Education over 16 years ago, all I had was books, district colleagues, and local workshops. Today the internet has made it easier than ever to improve your teaching. However, YOU have to want to improve your craft! 

 

3 Steps for Joining the P.E. Twitter Community:

  1.   Watch or read a short Twitter tutorial for getting started and creating an account. Check out these great tutorials!

  2. Connect with these awesome P.E. Twitter Professionals!


    Don't forget these guys too!

    • @GopherSport

    • ​​@physed_Pomeroy

    • @JoeyFeith

    • @bdovore7

    • @GHSaysRockChalk

    • @@pk_lv2teachpe

    • @JohnJonesPE

    • @LovephyEd

  3. Start tweeting!! See you on Twitter at @PEberingmx!

 

Visit my website, PE-4-Kids--- Movement Matters! 

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Help Students Find Value in Physical Education

Posted 3 weeks ago - by Jonette Dixon

 

The first step in reaching our ultimate goal of mastering learning outcomes for students is to be clear in our daily learning targets and success criteria.

Learning targets help students chunk smaller concepts into larger ones in a more efficient manner. 
More importantly, they help students see relevance and value in physical education.

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On my white board at school, I have the unit learning targets posted, as well as other related information for that unit.  At the beginning of the lesson, I cover one, two, or three targets that my classes will focus on for that day.  All learning targets directly correlate to the bigger picture of reaching state and national standards in physical education and developing skills and knowledge for a lifetime.  

I also have “hooks” and “relevance” points embedded, which are all key to “selling” our students on the bigger picture of the “why” in physical education.  Most often my hooks and relevance points are embedded in the PowerPoint that I create and use to introuce a new unit.  I prepare the unit prior to the unit start date, revisit the unit learning targets and daily learning targets as we progress through each lesson, and also include some clips or pictures that help students to “buy in”.  Make them laugh, make them think, and most of all, make it relevant to them. 

What is the bigger meaning behind playing a team sport, an individual activity, or a fitness trend?  Is it fun?  Of course it is.  But what else can we put behind it?  Could you embed calorie burning, water consumption, 'spirit of the game' concepts?  Absolutely!  Always think outside the box.


As an example, in my middle school physical education classroom, our current unit is “Cross Fit”.  

Learning Targets: 

  1. I can show caring for others and responsible social behavior by encouraging others and working with integrity.​ 

  2. I can show that I value physical activity by my daily performance.

  1. I can show that I am able to demonstrate correct technique by using various pieces of equipment the correct way.

  1. I can show that I am able to demonstrate “intensity” by achieving target heart rate and maintaining my endurance during vigorous workouts.

  2. I can show that I can calculate my heart rate by showing my “math” on a white board as an exit ticket.

We can always focus solely on learning target 1 and 2, which need to be reinforced every day, no matter what grade you teach. However, by adding in Targets 3, 4, and 5, we are able to grow the unit as a whole and can help our students master bigger concepts like practicing proper technique, exposing them to a variety of equipment, or demonstrating intensity and endurance through learning their target heart rate range. Additional concepts include: understanding moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, the components of the FITT Principle, and calculating and understanding the value of heart rate and knowing how to get in and maintain a target heart rate zone.  Through learning targets we can often deliver the information we are most passionate about as a Physical Educator. 

Let us not forget, at the end of our lesson, we are responsible for creating 2-3 minutes of reflection time.  That reflection time can be an exit ticket, choral response questions, partner discussions, or an end product.  This product can come through performance, writing, white boards or a workout design.  The possibilities are endless.  I have attached some ideas for you.  May you always know how important Physical Education is in the lives of our students.  You are their very lifeline to lifelong fitness and health and set the foundation for their attitude on movement. 

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Using Student Choice to Increase Motivation!

Posted 1 month ago - by Jason Gemberling

Anyone have students who do not want to participate in class?  Have you tried just about every trick known to man, outside of bribery, to get those students to participate? 


I honestly answered yes to both of these questions at the beginning of my teaching career, causing frustration and disappointment. So, what changed?  A lot! Continue reading to learn more about how utilizing student choice will increase student motivation in physical education.

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I teach in a very rural high school in central Pennsylvania and we were fortunate to receive a Carol M. White PEP Grant back in 2010, which was the beginning of a new direction for our program.  We began to make the switch from a sports-focused program to a more fitness-focused program.  As soon as we made this switch, we started to see an increase in participation from our students. 

Now that we had made the switch and had more students participating, we wanted to get the rest on board.  This is when we began offering a very wide variety of activities in class and started to let our students choose which they wanted to participate in.  We had the addition of a new fitness center, a nice sized auxiliary gym and of course our main gym.  So, we decided that even with just two teachers (and sometimes one), we were going to give the students the power of choice.  We turned our program into a quality fitness center just like the ones students will be exposed to for the rest of their lives.  While we were very nervous with how this was going to go over, we were pleasantly surprised by the positive feedback from our students and even some parents.  Student participation is through the roof and my frustration and disappointment have disappeared!

Please understand too, that we recognize that some students still really enjoy the team sports and other team type activities and they are still offered on a daily basis too.  What we did was inject our program with a large number of cardiovascular type games to go along with some of our schools favorites, like pickleball, badminton, and volleyball.  We introduced tchoukball, survivor, and right now our new school favorite, sabakiball.  By offering choice the number one piece of feedback that came in was from students who never wanted to play these types of games prior to our program shift.  Because we do not force students into these activities, they flock to our fitness center or auxiliary gym.

This is how we divide the activities: 

First, we gather the studens in the main gym and explain the activity. Then we provide detail to the activities or opportunities available in both the Fitness Center and Auxiliary Gym. Once all activities have been outlined, the students choose which activity to participate in.

  • Main Gym = A game or activity
  • Fitness Center = Cardio machines and/or strength circuits
  • Auxiliary Gym = Spin bikes, yoga, super circuits, etc.

​Example: Our current unit has sabakiball in the main gym, students working out in the fitness center, students on spin bikes, students doing yoga, and students doing a “deck of cards” workout. 

If you want to try this approach, my recommendation is to start simple with activities you know well and that you know your students can sometimes handle on their own for short periods of time.  We trust our students and sometimes when we are helping one group of students in the fitness center, another group is working out independently in the auxiliary gym. Sometimes this is difficult, but it can be done!  Another way to ease into this approach is to only offer two different options or activities. Once you and your students are comfortable, you can add in a third, then a fourth, and so on. 

To some this may sound like a recipe for disaster and chaos, but for our program and our students, it is a recipe for success!  Our participation levels are very high, our fitness testing scores are increasing, our own personal frustration levels are low, and more importantly, our student approval ratings are HIGH! 

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Student Enjoyment: The Key to Success in PE!

Posted 1 month ago - by Carolyn Temertzoglou

I share a peer-reviewed article from the Physical Health and Education Canada Journal, called Developing Student Enjoyment in Physical Education with my student teachers that are studying how to become Physical Education teachers at the Elementary and Secondary levels.
 

The authors, J. Larusso, S. Pavlovich and C. Lu (2013) state, “enjoyment in physical education can be understood as the affective state or process of experiencing pleasure in physical education. It is critical for students to feel enjoyment in physical education for a variety of reasons, including: the promotion of healthy active lifestyles, the development of the whole child, ease of classroom management, and the improvement of physical education’s status and perceived value in the school system.”

The importance of enjoyment in PE is on the rise in Ontario with the release of the updated Ontario Health and Physical Education curriculum.  The word “enjoyment” can be found 44 times compared to the mere 3 references in the old 1998 HPE document.

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Lu et al (2013), share practical suggestions how to develop student enjoyment in our PE classes.
 

 

Some of the suggestions include:

  • Have students define what enjoyment means to them
  • Help students make connections between enjoyment in PE class to enjoyment outside the classroom
  • Ask for students input about activities that interest them, survey students
  • Be a role model for enjoyment in PE and physical activity – share your idea of enjoyment with your students
  • Use a variety of activities in your PE program e.g., low organizational games, cooperative games, small and large group games, outdoor pursuits, fitness pursuits, aquatics, multicultural activities

An idea emerged to have my student teachers share their enjoyment of physical activity with elementary students. With reference to the Canadian Sport for Life: Physical Literacy Movement Preparation Guide, my student teachers and I prepared a PE lesson with a focus on developing physical literacy with an emphasis on student success and enjoyment.

Here is the lesson plan for Grade 6-8 students using the learning outcomes of the 2015 Ontario Health and Physical Education curriculum

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Enhance Your Power Clean by Mastering this Key Position!

Posted 1 month ago - by Frank Baumholtz

The Rack Position is an important position in our Athletic Development and Strength and Conditioning Programs as it is the receiving position in both the Hang and Power Clean. It's also a versatile position in that it allows students to either Push Press or Squat out of it.  Maintaining proper body position and alignment is essential, especially relating to the elbows and wrists.  

The below movements or exercies can be used to enhance the Rack Position:

  • Press – Barbell, Single Arm or Double Kettlebell/Dumbbell Press or Push Press
  • Squat – Front Squat, Single Arm or Double Racked Kettlebell Front Squat
  • Hang /Power Clean

Thank you to Ashton, Maria, Madalyn and Alivia for assisting!

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Create a Parkour Lesson in 3 Easy Steps!

Posted 1 month ago - by Maria Corte

Are you itching to get your students outside? Need a new outdoor activity that doesn't use equipment? 
Sometimes a new and innovative lesson is waiting for you right in your own back yard, well, your school’s backyard!  Find out how you can utilize your school campus to get your students moving in 3 easy steps!

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Living in Arizona, the weather allows me to take my classes outside most of the school year.  However, the track setting can sometimes get tiring.  One day while I was watching American Ninja Warrior on tv, I noticed the athletes were always talking about how they use Parkour training to prepare for their event. Parkour is an activity in which participants seek to get from point A to point B, like in an obstacle course, as quickly and efficiently as possible. Typically skills such as jumping, climbing, and running are used.

3 Easy Steps To Create a P.E. Campus Fitness or Parkour Lesson:

  1. First, walk around your campus find anything that can be used to work the upper body, lower body, cardio, and core.

    • Examples include, ramps, walls, picnic tables, benches, stairs, railings, hills, etc.

  2. Next, map out the campus to create a smooth flowing course. 

    • Example: I started just outside the gym, then worked my way around the campus and ended at the gym in time to dismiss class.

  3. Combine 3-4 items to make an obstacle.

    • Suggestion: I call or label each obstacle a Challenge and label them 1 through 5.  My objective for the students on Campus Fitness Day is to have them complete 5 Challenges before the end of the class period.  We do each Challenge together as a whole class and I utilize the “Never Leave Anyone Behind” philosophy.  My stronger students help and/or encourage those who need some extra time or assistance.  Once all students complete Challenge 1, we move to Challenge 2 and so on. 


Here are some photos of my students workin’ it during our last campus fitness day! 

 

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What's Up with SHAPE America's 50 Million Strong by 2029?

Posted 1 month ago - by Dr. Steve Jefferies

Did you attend the recent SHAPE America National Convention in Seattle? If so, you witnessed a special and very significant announcement! If not, don't worry, we will fill you in!

At the convention, brochures, poster boards, and temporary tattoos contained the words "50 Million Strong by 2029." Well, what exactly does that mean? You'll have to keep reading to find out!

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This fall, students entering preschool will graduate in 2029: Fourteen years from now. SHAPE America has set the goal that all of these students will be physically active and healthy. If you think about it, it is a brave, bold, and audacious goal. The same description was used when in 1961 President John Kennedy announced his "moonshot" goal: To put a man on the moon within the decade and bring him safely back to earth. At that time there was no certainty of success. In fact failure was much more likely. America had yet to put a man in space and trailed the Soviet Union in the space race. But Kennedy's announcement inspired the nation. And in just 8 years, Neil Armstrong stood on the moon's surface.

We all know that today too many of the students in our schools are far from being physically active and healthy. Worsening obesity and the associated negative health consequences will have a catastrophic social, economic, military, and emotional impact on the nation's future if left unabated. That is why so many groups outside of our schools are anxious to turn things around. While their interest is good for our students, we should ask ourselves how it might impact the health and physical education professions. We have seen examples from around the country of outside groups entering schools, running programs, and justifying HPE program and position cuts. It’s time for us to decide how to respond.

We can choose to do nothing and let our future be determined by others. This may be the easiest but it is not the wisest choice. It risks marginalizing us further until we retreat into our gymnasiums and understandably be referred to as "gym teachers." Alternatively, we can take responsibility for creating the foundation for future success. We need to recognize that no one is better-qualified or situated to get America's youth physically active and healthy. Present in almost every one of the nation’s 100,000 schools, approximately 200,000 health and physical education teachers have more than a decade to guide America's 50 million students towards healthy living.

But where's the pride? We are more than just a delivery service. We all know that it is insufficient to simply get kids active and imagine that this is going to transform their lives. We all know that it is more important what children choose to do when they are not with us that is more important than what happens in our classrooms and gyms. In contrast to others, we alone have the opportunity to develop personal relationships with every one of the 50 million students and to help them see the relevance and value of health and physical activity.

So the question remains, "Will we do this?" Will we rise up to the challenge and recognize that it is insufficient to merely provide opportunities for our students to learn skills and be physically active. Many people diet but few actually lose weight. It's not good enough to teach but ignore whether or not our students are actually learning. And this is where the "50 million strong by 2029" comes in. We need to do whatever it takes to deliver on the promise of getting every – and I mean every – student in our schools physically active and healthy by 2029. Sooner if possible.

It's not going to be easy. If it were we would already be doing it. And no one is saying that the nation’s health education and physical education teachers aren't trying. But for us to succeed we must accept that "trying" is not good enough. We don't need to work harder but we do need to work smarter. We need to think differently about our jobs and be willing to work towards change. Schools are the perfect location for us to get all of America’s students physically active and healthy. They are with us almost the entire day. It's not hard to imagine ways in which we can change their behaviors through modifying the learning environment. Already, great things are occurring around the country with the introduction of active transportation to and from school, and before school, during school, and after school physical activities. But starting today, all of us must get on this bus if we are to succeed. Each one of us has to be the catalyst for change. Impacting the behavior of 50 million people sounds daunting. It doesn't need to be. Think about it at the school level. We are going to succeed one teacher and one school at a time. I invite and encourage you to be a part of this movement. These can be the best of times for the health and physical education professions.

More information on SHAPE America's 50 Million Strong by 2029!

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