As physical educators, we know today’s youth need 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) daily. However, students may receive physical education only once or twice a week. When coupled with a short daily recess, this means many students fall short of the recommended MVPA time they need to receive the benefits associated with living healthy lifestyles.
Here are 5 strategies I use to add MVPA time to my students’ day:
1. Collaborate with Other Teachers
Collaborate with your school librarian and provide PE equipment in the library that students can check out just like a book! At our school, we offer various balls, jump ropes, hockey sticks, skip-its, snowshoes, pompoms, dance ribbons, indoor putt-putt set, frisbees, etc.
2. Wrap Up Classes with a Launch Phrase
Close each physical education lesson by using launching phrases like:
- “Share one element of our lesson you would like to do at home today.”
- “Turn and talk with a friend and tell them one way you could do this activity at home.”
- “Share how you could get involved in a team activity outside of school that would include what we worked on today. What are some roadblocks that might keep you from joining a team? Who could help you?”
3. Classroom Dance Breaks on YouTube
Share dance and movement break YouTube playlists with the classroom teachers in your building. These are super easy to implement, no searching, teachers can just hit play!
4. Create Schoolwide Newsletters with Activity Challenges
Include fun dance videos in newsletters and/or on your school website. I ask my students to challenge a family member to join them in one of these dances.
5. Send Home an Activity Calendar
SHAPE America publishes both an elementary and secondary monthly activity calendar (SHAPE America teacher toolkit). These activity calendars are available in both English and Spanish. I print these off for my students to take home, put a copy in each classroom teacher’s mailbox and have them posted around our building.
With the obesity epidemic weighing on our profession, encouraging our students to move outside of our gyms has become very important. I hope some of these ideas will work at your school. Do you have other ways that you use to encourage students to move outside of your physical education classes? Please share your innovative ideas with our readers!