Washoe School District Program Tests Link Between Physical Fitness, Academic Performance

By studying standardized test results next month, physical education teachers in Reno, Nev., are analyzing how heart rate-based physical education has helped improve both student fitness and academic performance.

Organized by Pine Middle School P.E. teacher Jencie Fagan, seven Washoe County School District teachers are using the adidas Zone for IHT Spirit wrist heart rate monitors from Interactive Health Technologies to document an increase in math and reading scores in connection with increased student fitness.   

Fagan“Our objective is to have the students wear the heart rate monitors for at least 20 minutes twice a week,” Fagan said. “Then we will link their fitness improvements with their Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) scores.”  Read More

Life skills key in physical fitness regimen

Originally published Nov. 9, 2017 in the Utica Observer-Dispatch.

Dodgeball and rope climbing might have a place in the physical fitness regimen. But when it comes to teaching kids the real importance of fitness, some school districts have moved beyond traditional “gym” activities toward lessons that can last a lifetime.

More schools should do it.

With the childhood obesity rate at about 17 percent, the federal education law passed in December 2015 to replace No Child Left Behind elevates health and fitness to rank among things like art, music, civics and science as elements of a well-rounded education.

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Interview: The secrets to Finland’s educational success

Originally published Nov. 6, 2017 in The Times of Malta.

Finland’s Education Minister discusses her country’s education system

Headmaster Kenneth Vella recently visited schools in Tampere, Finland, a country which has made huge progress in education over the past few years. There, he interviewed the country’s Minister of Education, Sanni Grahn-Laasonen.

What do you consider the secrets of your success in education both at local and international levels?

For one, we have highly educated, skilled and motivated teachers. The teaching profession is respected and popular in Finland. At all school levels, teachers are highly qualified and committed. Universities can select among the most motivated and talented applicants. At both primary and secondary levels a master’s degree is required, and teacher education includes teaching practice.

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Rethinking gym class in the United States

Originally published Nov. 7, 2017 by the Durango Herald.

By  Associated Press

Finding a way to create life-long physical activity

You won’t find gym class on the schedule in upstate New York’s Victor school district.

What you will see: kayaking, rock climbing, mountain biking, dance, self-defense, archery and in-line skating — all under the heading of physical education. The teachers say it’s a more fitting description of lessons meant to last well beyond the class bell.

“We want our kids as they walk out of these halls in grade 12 to be active for life,” said Ron Whitcomb, the district’s director of health, physical education and athletics.

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How Personalized Learning is Breaking the “GYM” Class Stereotype

Originally published Nov. 6, 2017 by the Huffington Post

By Brian Kampper

When I introduce myself as a physical education teacher, the two most popular responses I get are “Oh, you must love being a gym teacher, just playing sports all day must be great” or “I hated gym class when I was in school, all we did was…”

Unfortunately, most people think of physical education as a class where athletes take control while all others wait for the bell to ring to save them from having to participate in another game of dodgeball. While this is not the case in the majority of PE classes across America, the stereotype does exist and personalized learning is the key to breaking it.

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