More D.C. schools getting into the spirit

June 28, 2016Washington D.C. Public Schools

By Jen Ohlson

One of the best things about working on a team that goes above and beyond everyday expectations to further its mission is to check out what our partners, like the Washington D.C. Public Schools, are doing or have accomplished on their journey.

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fitness test tracking

Fitness test tracking

Lisa Simpson, The Royal Gazette (Bermuda)

Fri, 24 June, 2016

Physical education teachers have been taught how to use a new computer programme to help empower their students to lead healthy lifestyles.

Teachers from across the island’s public schools took part in the training session about the Spirit System, which includes standardised fitness assessment tools, at Berkeley Institute on Tuesday and Wednesday.

“The training was important in that it emphasised the current health-oriented approach to Bermuda’s physical education programme, which focuses on all school-aged children, instead of only on fitness and the more athletic children,” Healthy Schools co-ordinator Marie Beach-Johnson told The Royal Gazette. She added: “This training session will help to facilitate Healthy Schools, which includes the vital partnership between the Ministry of Education and the Department of Health, by ultimately providing school-aged children with the lifelong tools to improve their health and maintain healthy lifestyles.

Ms Beach-Johnson said the training involved hands-on practice with the Spirit System programme and practical activities to simulate what PE teachers will have the students do for each of the fitness component tests.

“The primary goal is that PE teachers will administer each fitness test in a standardised manner that allows the results to be reliable and valid,” she explained.

“PE teachers also learnt that the Spirit System is an extremely powerful tool that is the foundation of the Premier’s Youth Fitness Programme, which will enable PE teachers to empower their students to develop healthy lifestyles and expose them to age-appropriate physical activities.”

Furthermore, they learnt about how wrist heart monitors can increase their students’ interest in physical activity and motivation to become more physically active, she added.

Expert members of the Premier’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, which was convened last year and consists of professionals who have worked with children in health and fitness, also spoke to the teachers.

Richard Fulton highlighted the United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention’s Child Growth Charts and how PE teachers should interpret their students’ body mass index.

Dr Fulton also discussed when a child should be referred to their school nurse or paediatrician.

And public health nutritionist and registered dietitian Cymone Hollis discussed the importance of nutrition and reviewed the EatWell Bermuda Dietary Guidelines.

While the training session was aimed at public schoolteachers, Ms Beach-Johnson added that the Premier’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition plans to meet with the principals of the island’s private schools in the early autumn to discuss implementation of the Spirit System.

Fitness test tracking

Lisa Simpson

Fri, June 24, 2016

Physical education teachers have been taught how to use a new computer programme to help empower their students to lead healthy lifestyles.

Teachers from across the island’s public schools took part in the training session about the Spirit System, which includes standardised fitness assessment tools, at Berkeley Institute on Tuesday and Wednesday.

“The training was important in that it emphasised the current health-oriented approach to Bermuda’s physical education programme, which focuses on all school-aged children, instead of only on fitness and the more athletic children,” Healthy Schools co-ordinator Marie Beach-Johnson told The Royal Gazette. She added: “This training session will help to facilitate Healthy Schools, which includes the vital partnership between the Ministry of Education and the Department of Health, by ultimately providing school-aged children with the lifelong tools to improve their health and maintain healthy lifestyles.

Ms Beach-Johnson said the training involved hands-on practice with the Spirit System programme and practical activities to simulate what PE teachers will have the students do for each of the fitness component tests.

“The primary goal is that PE teachers will administer each fitness test in a standardised manner that allows the results to be reliable and valid,” she explained.

“PE teachers also learnt that the Spirit System is an extremely powerful tool that is the foundation of the Premier’s Youth Fitness Programme, which will enable PE teachers to empower their students to develop healthy lifestyles and expose them to age-appropriate physical activities.”

Furthermore, they learnt about how wrist heart monitors can increase their students’ interest in physical activity and motivation to become more physically active, she added.

Expert members of the Premier’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, which was convened last year and consists of professionals who have worked with children in health and fitness, also spoke to the teachers.

Richard Fulton highlighted the United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention’s Child Growth Charts and how PE teachers should interpret their students’ body mass index.

Dr Fulton also discussed when a child should be referred to their school nurse or paediatrician.

And public health nutritionist and registered dietitian Cymone Hollis discussed the importance of nutrition and reviewed the EatWell Bermuda Dietary Guidelines.

While the training session was aimed at public schoolteachers, Ms Beach-Johnson added that the Premier’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition plans to meet with the principals of the island’s private schools in the early autumn to discuss implementation of the Spirit System.

fitness test tracking

Fitness system for students

June 24, 2016

Originally published in the Bermuda Royal Gazette

By Lisa Simpson

bermudaphoto
RoyalGazette.com

Physical education teachers have been taught how to use a new computer programme to help empower their students to lead healthy lifestyles.

Teachers from across the island’s public schools took part in the training session about the Spirit System, which includes standardised fitness assessment tools, at Berkeley Institute on Tuesday and Wednesday.

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heart monitors

Heart monitors provide incentive for maximum effort in P.E. class

Wed, 22 Jun 2016 On Board Online • Heart Monitors By Jason Franchuk Special CorrespondentA timid face greeted teacher Doug Hallberg near the end of a physical education class in the Mohonasen school district. A delightful problem: a seventh-grade girl was wondering if she had been working too hard.Sheepishly, she handed over a slimy heart rate monitor.

"It's supposed to be sweaty ? that's the point!" Hallberg replied in a cheerful, booming voice.

Heart monitors are part of an experiment in the Schenectady County district that involves new ways to keep students moving. Students try to achieve target heart rates and meet other goals.

The monitors "take out all of the guesswork" about which students are really making an effort, said Matt Stein, who oversees health and physical education in the district. Novices and competitive-level athletes have different baselines, and their efforts can be compared fairly.

Along with Draper Middle School colleagues Nikki Schaap and Ray Kearney, Hallberg is integrating science and physiology lessons into P.E. classes, as well. In sixth grade, students learn about muscles. In seventh, the focus turns to heart rates and diseases associated with lack of exercise. Eighth-graders learn about nutrition and develop training plans.

On a recent Thursday morning, seventh-grader Mattison Muller moved from station to station doing squats and other muscle-building exercises, along with stretching and sprints. A sound system blared an eclectic array of (school-acceptable) songs ranging from Ozzy Osbourne to the Neon Trees.

Muller said it's a good way to start the school day. "You just feel more awake," he said.

Researchers at the University of Illinois have reached the same conclusion. In a study, they found it took only 20 minutes of moderate exercise to improve cognitive function in elementary students.

At Draper Middle School, P.E. activities often are in the form of games. One example is called "builders and dozers," in which six teams scatter colored cones and eventually try to knock down the other teams' cones. Another popular one is "bowling for fitness." It involves "rolling" bean bags and 20-meter sprints to set up the pins. Music blares as students are constantly on the move.

"Organized chaos" was how Lynne Lenhardt, NYSSBA's immediate past president, described two games she witnessed during a December demonstration. Students were breathing hard - and laughing, she recalled.

"The goal of what we do, with the help of the monitors, is to help them pull a little more effort than they think they can pull out of themselves," Hallberg said.

Mohonasen is considering migrating to fitness bracelets next year because strapping on heart monitors has some disadvantages. It takes a little extra locker-room class time to get ready. And some students find them a little uncomfortable.

But students do seem to like the feedback. At the end of class, they line up to see the record of their heart rate on a monitor. Some of them banter about whose results will prove better.

The students look comfortable examining their results on a computer screen and are eager to hear Hallberg's verdict on whether the numbers are good enough.

"I want every one of these kids to feel seen," said Hallberg, who was named Physical Education Teacher of the Year for 2015 by New York State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (AHPERD).

"It doesn't mean I'm telling them they're wonderful all of the time," he said. While some students might want to "go to a wall and try to disappear" in P.E. class, a conversation with the teacher about personalized results is part of the format at Draper Middle School. "It forces interaction - good, bad or indifferent. That's important stuff."

Using high tech tools to monitor individual effort and achievement has unparalleled value in physical education for both students and teachers, Hallberg said. "I've been invigorated by this technology."

New approaches to P.E. began in Mohonasen five years ago, when the district was awarded a three-year, $1.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education under the Carol M. White Physical Education Program. Hallberg says the grant has been used to enhance offerings as a whole, the heart rate monitors being a "small but incredibly valuable portion" of the grant.

Principal Deb Male sees the approach as light years ahead of the physical education of yesteryear. She winces when she remembers not being able to climb a rope in P.E. class as a youngster.

The school's gym is near her office, and she finds herself dropping by whenever she needs a break - or a little inspiration.

"Every day here, it's an opportunity to do a personal best," Male said.