For This Champion for Student Health, P.E. Extends Beyond the Gym

Originally published Feb. 21, 2018 by Education Week.

By Evie Blad

There’s an outdated stereotype of physical education classes that Judy LoBianco has spent her 25-year career fighting against.

It’s one where the most athletic students flaunt their skills while their less capable peers struggle to keep up.

It’s one where learning stops after students leave the gym and where P.E. teachers don’t have a seat at the table with their colleagues who teach core subjects, like math and English. Read More

School’s focus on student fitness contributes to academic successes

Data from student-worn heart rate monitors and research about the positive impact physical education has on academic success convinced an IDEA Public Schools principal to make sure students who need academic support don’t get it at the expense of exercise and fitness.

“‘You will no longer take kids out of PE for academic intervention until they have had at least 30 minutes in P.E. utilizing the monitors,’” mandated IDEA Monterrey Park principal Curtis Lawrence.

IDEA students wear the adidas Zone for IHT Spirit wrist heart rate monitors during physical education and strive to exercise at an elevated heart rate for as long as they can during class or activity breaks. Students can see in real time if they are improving their fitness by exercising in the target heart rate zone (yellow for moderate to vigorous activity; red for vigorous activity) by the color displayed on the heart rate monitor. Read More

How a growing number of states are hoping to improve kids’ brains: exercise

Originally published Feb. 21, 2018 in The Hechinger Report.

By Lilian Mongeau

APPLETON, Wisc. — Middle school students at Kaleidoscope Academy, a district charter school in Appleton, Wisconsin, are constantly moving. Everyone has a physical education class, called “phy-ed” here, at least twice a week. On top of that, there’s a daily lunch break that comes with time for kids to get outside and move around. Students can also choose from two additional exercise-focused electives — dance and personal fitness — which for some students can mean a 40-minute exercise period every day.

And the action doesn’t stop there. Teachers like Lisa Sackman in the sixth-grade wing offer “brain breaks” every 20 minutes. Teacher Travis Olsen has an exercise bike in the back of his seventh-grade science classroom that kids are welcome to use whenever they feel the need. And eighth-grade co-teachers Abby Jolma and Toni Giebel let kids sit on wobbly chairs — short stools with a curved base — yoga balls, or traditional chairs while they learn math and science.

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heart rate monitors

JeffCo PE students use heart rate monitors to master healthy habits

Teacher works with school district, technology partner to navigate new legislative guidelines

“I relate the use of [heart rate monitors] in physical education to Chromebooks for classroom teachers,” said Everitt Middle School (Colo.) physical education teacher Bradley Hull. “It is absolutely essential for instruction. My number one philosophy as a PE teacher is for students to take what they learn in class outside of class so they can become lifelong movers.”

Last summer, the Colorado legislature passed the Student Data Transparency and Security Act, a law that requires technology companies to meet specific conditions before a school can partner with them. For Hull, the change meant he had to immediately stop using heart rate monitors he’d already purchased. When the company Hull originally partnered with failed to receive approved vendor status, the teacher had to find another company whose security practices met the state’s standards. Read More

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Hallway hustle helps Physical Education students keep heart rate up

Students focused on heart rate training during physical education often break one of the longest-standing rules in education: no running in the school hallways.

The students mean no disrespect to authority. They just don’t want to let their heart rate drop during a class session, even if they have to excuse themselves.

“The other day a kid had to go to the bathroom, and our principal came running into the weight room,” said Ridge View (Iowa) High School P.E. teacher Justin Kinney. “He asked if there was an emergency, and I said, ‘No, why?’ And he pointed out that student and said, ‘Well, he was just sprinting through the lunch room and we were worried and thought something might be wrong.’ Well, he was running because he wanted to get back to his workout so he could keep his heart rate up.” Read More