If They Can Block-Schedule Physical Education, Why Not Lunch?

School-Lunch-Photo_blog

Although physical educators have long realized the importance of Quality Daily Physical Education, the need for such programs is still not a priority for parents and policy makers. This is highlighted by the fact that many school boards still use block-scheduling for physical education classes. That is, they schedule a child’s PE classes in either the first or second semester instead of providing them throughout the school year.

Unfortunately, the administrators who make educational policy are often academics with no grounding in physical fitness—their decisions are based on efficiency rather than sound physiological principles.

This problem were amusingly illustrated as far back as 1990, in a book by Gordon Stewart called “Running Through My Mind.” In this book, he described the thoughts of Dr. Bill Ross of the Department of Kinesiology at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby British Columbia.

Here’s an excerpt from Mr. Stewart’s article, “Games Children Should Play.”

“In spite of the overwhelming evidence of its value, daily physical education is still more a dream than reality. Some schools move even farther from the ideal with a system known as block scheduling, where a subject is taught every day one semester and not at all the next.”

Ask Dr. Ross about block scheduling and he gets even more worked up than he does about childhood games.

“The biological nature of children and youth must be a mystery to educational planners who schedule physical education for students one semester and leave it out the next,” says Dr. Ross. “If they want to be efficient, they should do the same with lunch.

“A lunch period every day is really inefficient. Why not five lunches every Monday? A student could get all his eating finished on the first day of the week and not disrupt his schedule for the remaining four days.

“Ridiculous? No more so than scheduling physical education every day one semester and omitting it from the timetable the next semester. Exercise is a metabolic activity every bit as much as eating is. Daily physical activity is crucial for normal growth and development.”

So where does this leave us? If block-scheduling is here to stay, intramural sports and after-school sports activities are crucial. But a more logical step is to lobby against the crazy practice and to lobby for quality daily physical education.

Reference: Excerpt reprinted with permission of the publisher: Gordon W. Stewart, “Games children should play,” from Running Through My Mind, Victoria: 3S Fitness Group Ltd., 1990.
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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

To check out the PE Update.com website, click here
Physical Education Update

[tags]physical education,fitness,children's health, PE scheduling>[/tags]

The Buddy Bench Improves Inclusiveness During Recess Periods

Recess can be an excellent opportunity for children to engage in fitness activities. However for some children, recess isn’t fun – it’s a cruel reminder that they aren’t part of the in-crowd. Excluded from group games and activities, they stand on the sidelines watching and wishing they were part of the fun.

That’s where the “buddy bench” comes in. First used in Germany, the buddy bench is a simple idea that will help to improve inclusiveness during your school’s recess periods.

The buddy bench is a designated bench that you place on your school grounds. If a student has no one to play with, they sit on the bench. If students see someone sitting on the buddy bench, they know they should ask them to play or join the activities they are engaged in.
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The concept has proven to be extremely effective in schools across North America. The benches have been donated to schools by local businesses, parents, or interested charitable groups. They have also been built by the schools themselves as a group project. The benches can be painted and designed to be visible and can include all sorts of inclusive sayings and mottos.

It’s a great idea. Here’s a video about the buddy bench.

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

To check out the PE Update.com website, click here
Physical Education Update

[tags]physical education,buddy bench,recess,inclusiveness>[/tags]

Can You Use CrossFit In Physical Education Classes?

A trend in physical education has been to make PE classes less difficult so that every student can enjoy them. So here’s a concept that bucks that trend. It uses a fitness program called CrossFit to make special classes more difficult and challenging. And in at least one high school, it has been extremely successful.

The video above shows an example of how Crossfit concepts can be used in a high school physical education setting, as a program for students who want to work harder than in their traditional PE classes.

For those of you not aware of CrossFit, it’s a strength and conditioning program that employs a mix of aerobic, gymnastics, body weight and Olympic lifting exercises. The exercises are described as “constantly varied function movements” that employ some equipment that you might already have in your storage room, including dumbbells, barbells, jump ropes, gymnastics rings, medicine balls, pull-up bars, kettlebells, plyometric boxes, rowers, resistance bands, and mats. The program is flexible, however, and can be adapted to your existing equipment.

The following types of exercise might be used in a WOD ( or Workout of the Day – this term is used in the video): powerlifting, plyometrics, calisthenics, weight lighting, body-weight exercises, high intensity intervals, running, swimming, indoor rowing and more.

The goal is to improved fitness in 10 different areas: cardiovascular endurance, strength, stamina, speed, flexibility, power, balance, coordination, agility, and accuracy.

While Crossfit is an exercise philosophy, it’s also a competitive fitness sport, with the CrossFit Games conducted every year since 2007. It’s also a commercial enterprise, with over 10,000 affiliated gyms now using it in their exercise offering.

By the way, the term “AMRAP” which was also used in the video, means “as many reps as possible.”

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

To check out the PE Update.com website, click here
Physical Education Update

Get Out of Your Armchair Video Promotes the Benefits of Exercise

Here’s a funny video about the benefits of exercise and the disadvantages of inactivity. Produced by the European Commission and the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), it’s titled “Go On, Get Out of Your Armchair.”

As you can see, those who have risen from their chairs have a considerable advantage in a soccer game (among other things).

Obesity and inactivity isn’t just a North American problem. It’s estimated that low levels of exercise are currently responsible for six of the seven leading risk factors for disease in Europe. The absence of physical exercise, coupled with unhealthy diet, has turned excessive weight into a major public health problem with over 50% of adults overweight or obese in EU countries. And it’s estimated that 22 million kids are overweight in the EU with this figure growing by 400,000 every year.

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

To check out the PE Update.com website, click here
Physical Education Update

[tags]physical education,inactivity,exercise,obesity>[/tags]

A Boy and His Dog and Active Fun in the Summer Sun

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Why this video? Simple. It’s a wonderful demonstration of the joy of movement, shared between a boy and his dog. And isn’t the joy of movement what physical educators are trying to impart to their students? (And who knew that you can not only ride skateboards, you can also chew them). ! I can’t think of better images to leave Continue reading A Boy and His Dog and Active Fun in the Summer Sun

Irish Physical Activity Campaign

It’s not just North Americans who have begun to realize the importance of physical activity for children. Childhood obesity and inactivity is a phenomenon in every affluent, developed country in the world. Fortunately, some of these countries have launched public campaigns to correct the problem.

Here’s one example. This public advertisement, from Ireland, is called: Physical Activity – It All Adds Up. This video describes an easy way for children to get in an hour of exercise every day.

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

To check out the PE Update.com website, click here
Physical Education Update

[tags]physical education,physical activity campaigns,physical fitness for children>[/tags]