Teachers Share Success Stories as Students Develop Skills, Desire to Improve Physical Fitness
Students felt more motivated to achieve daily workout goals when wearing heart rate monitors in their physical education classes this year.
When asked how students had adjusted to wearing the IHT Zone wrist heart rate monitor during class, PE teachers shared success story after story about how students more frequently met their workout goals.
“I see a big difference in my students when they are using the Zones and when they aren’t,” said Chris Amundson, PE teacher at the Crestview (Iowa) School of Inquiry.
“My students have never been more eager to get in their [target heart rate] zone,” said Jackie Clark, PE teacher at Rock River (Wisc.) Intermediate School.
Students across all grades have spent at least one and in many cases two full school years utilizing the IHT Zone heart rate monitors during PE. The monitor shows both actual heart rate and heart rate zone indicated by color. While younger students haven’t learned the details of their actual heart rate, they begin to develop intrinsic skills by relating the energy they expend while working out with the color on their wrist – blue (relaxed), yellow (moderate activity) and red (vigorous activity).
“The foundation of learning what the zones are and what the colors mean and the fact that the [monitor] is able to help them apply what they learn to an activity,” explained Fort Lupton (Colo.) Middle School health teacher Lindsay Yost about why the heart rate monitors work for her students. “And it’s the colors. A lot of the students love that it lights up.”
Teachers pointed out three consistent reasons that students have been motivated to achieve their workout goals when wearing the Zone monitors:
- Students push through breaks to keep heart rate in target zones
- Individualized Assessment allows students to discover the overall fitness benefit
- Students overcome misperceptions about fitness, effort
Students Make Most of Every Opportunity to Move
At Ridge View (Iowa) High School, one of PE teacher Justin Kinney’s students caught the eye of his school principal because he was so intent on keeping his heart rate up that he violated the tried-and-true “no running in the hallway” rule at school.
“The other day our principal came running into the weight room,” Kinney said. “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.’”
The student didn’t have an emergency. He just didn’t want his heart rate to drop during a quick break in class. Even early in their adoption of the Zone monitors as key PE tools, Kinney’s students understood the data they were seeing on their wrist during class and in the summary email they receive immediately after.
“For them, it’s the motivation and the impact and they can really say, ‘Oh man, I worked really hard today,’” Kinney said.
Letting Data Guide Fitness Improvements
The majority of Amundson’s elementary school-age students embraced the PE technology from the moment he added them to his classes. Using the Zones became an integral part of his class, and students gathered before and after workouts to talk about goals and whether or not they met them.
“They talk about how many minutes they need to get to their goal for today; what they need to do to push themselves,” he said.
One student struggled at first, giving the teacher a chance to explain the technology in greater detail. Athletic but unmotivated to work hard outside of fitness assessments, Amundson helped her connect and learn how she can use the technology to improve her fitness.
“The monitors have helped her have an outlet,” he said. “She has a real reason to push herself. Now, she’s going all out because she’s motivated and she can see how active she is and how her body is reacting to all of this exercise.”
PE heart rate monitors motivate students to ‘Push yourself to new limits’
Shortly after adding the Zone monitors to her Rock River curriculum, Clark had an eye-opening conversation with a student who already focuses a great deal on fitness. When he started wearing the Zone, he noticed that his regular activity would not get him into the target heart rate zones, especially compared to other, less fit students. After he expressed his frustration to Clark, the teacher explained what the student was seeing.
“We had a great conversation about how his heart is much stronger than his fellow student who wasn’t as fit and that fitness is not one size fits all and I challenged him to get in his zone the next class period,” Clark said.
The student, a cross country team member, heeded Clark’s words and accepted the teacher’s challenge to work hard enough to reach his daily goal.
“That was all the motivation he needed to prove to himself he could get in that zone,” Clark said. “It took three class periods to finally get in his zone and he had to work his tail off, but got in his zone and it was his ah-ha moment when he got it and finally felt what being in his zone felt like and looked like for him.”
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