It’s that time of year again. The time when students and PE teachers across the country come together to compete in one of the most connected and engaging physical assessments in the country. The IHT Spirit Challenge is a competition held every semester where students and teachers compete to win a number of prizes including funding for their school and equipment and apparel. This year, we’ve put together two separate challenges (Heart Rate and Attendance and a Twitter Post Sweepstakes) that will give everyone interested in healthy living an opportunity to enter and win. Last year, Kaitlyn Bloemer won the Spirit Challenge and recently did an interview with our founder Jen Ohlson. Kaitlyn’s Spirit Challenge tips to win it all are below.

1. Motivation


The biggest piece of advice I can offer is to motivate your students by instilling passion. This passion, combined with easy-to-use and engaging equipment led to our success in the Spirit Challenge. I explained the difference between the red, yellow and blue zones, which helped our students not only understand where they should be at to compete but also how important it is to have a healthy heart rate. During the challenge, I told them that it was fine to be in the yellow zone and that they were still benefiting their body and helping with winning the Challenge. A lot of students thought they were only “exercising” if they were in the red zone before we had our discussion. I was very passionate about the benefits and knowledge that the heart rate monitors can bring to educating yourself on exercising for your personal wellbeing.

2. External Incentives

Kaitlyn and Kids

Encourage the students to win the prizes that were offered through IHT. This gave an external motivation to the students to keep going and really push through till the end. We also got some great press and recognition from the administration, the community, and our local press. Our classes and students were recognized in a positive way as the role models they are to their peers, their other teachers, the district and the community.

3. Internal Incentives


I also gave students incentives for meeting checkpoints and goals that I set for them. Some incentives that I gave were option days, a healthy taste test, and a lunch donated by community organizations. School lunches aren’t the students’ favorite choice so this was a really fun way to incentivize and come together to celebrate our achievements.

 4. Accountability


Through the use of IHT Spirit System reports, I demonstrated to the students that not only were they competing as an individual but also as a team. Parents were involved through weekly and sometimes daily email communication in which I shared the results of students who were exceling and those who were not. I used positive reinforcement in both cases to show improvement in their child’s performance and how their contributions were helping the team as a whole.

5. Reporting


In Conclusion

Outside of personal emails between parents and myself, I gave every parent the ability to view and track their child’s performance by leveraging the data given via the Spirit System and uploading it to Schoology (an online learning system similar to Google Classroom). This helped motivate the students in and out of the gym since progress and performance could be tracked from anywhere. The kids were so excited when holding the “#1” spot that it became a driving force for participation and helped keep their inner fire alive.

The most important thing to keep in mind is to use the Spirit System EVERY DAY of the Challenge. The upcoming challenge starts Monday, September 14th and ends Friday, October 23rd. That’s 29 schools days for the challenge. The school that uses the Spirit System the most days out of those 29, plus has the highest percentage in the yellow and the red zones WINS!

We’ve already got our heart rate monitors and straps ready to go so you can count on Bay View Middle School to be right in the mix for the grand prize of $5,000 in apparel and gear. Since we’re always up for friendly competition, we look forward to seeing your school atop the leaderboard too! Remember while the best effort and attendance wins the big prize, the real winners are you and your students for the transformation you’ll see over the next month.

Best of luck! Let’s get those heart rates up!