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]

Skin Cancer Resources for Health Class Teachers

Skin Cancer Prevention Photo

Here’s are some excellent skin cancer prevention resources for your health classes.

Skin Cancer Contest Poster
Skin Cancer Contest Poster

The Skin Cancer Foundation has established the free Sun Smart U. education program to assist instructors expose students to the importance of sun protection and give them the information they need to avoid skin

cancer. Sun Smart U. includes video accounts of young adults dealing with melanoma and providing suggestions for children. The program is designed to encourage behaviors in sunny conditions, such as using sun-protective clothing and sun screen lotion in a way that makes these measures easy to apply. The curriculum also stresses the significance of very early detection of skin cancer with information about the warning signs.

There are three instructional formats that teachers can use, including SMART or Promethean interactive whiteboard, or Microsoft PowerPoint. Using both classroom instruction and activities, these lessons are a fun and easy way to teach students lifelong sun safety habits. Also provided are the student-produced videos and posters that resulted from the “I Am Sun Smart” contest.

Check out the website here:
http://www.skincancer.org/prevention/education-program

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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,skin cancer prevention,health class lessons[/tags]

Excellent Anti-Smoking Video to Discuss in Health Class

Antismoking_web

Here’s a video you might discuss in your health classes. From Thailand (with sub-titles), it’s billed as one of the best anti-smoking ads ever. And indeed, it was highly effective in increasing the number of telephone inquires by Thais wanting to quit smoking

The video shows the reaction of young adults (and teens), when approached by a child asking for a light for a cigarette. The adults kindly refuse and discuss the many reasons why a child shouldn’t smoke.

The child then passes the adult a note that asks: “You worry about me. But why not about yourself? Reminding yourself is the most effective warning to help you quit. Call 1600 hotline to quit smoking.”

While the ad seems targeted towards adults, children should like it too. It shows children being the role models and also playing a “trick” on adults – but for a good health-related reason.

 

 

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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,health class,smoking,anti-smoking>[/tags]

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]

Healthy Eating Plate Is a Better Version of MyPlate and the Food Pyramid

The MyPlate Graphic
The Older "MyPlate" Graphic

Back in June 2011, The U.S. government unveiled the “MyPlate” diagram, intended to give Americans a visual reminder for the proportions of the different components needed for healthy eating. It was an upgrade from the previous MyPyramid diagram that wasn’t particularly successful. The MyPlate diagram was a representation of what people will actually see when they sit down for a meal.

Unfortunately, the “MyPlate” icon was just a diagram and doesn’t provide much written information. So, a group of colleagues at the Harvard Health Publications and the Harvard School of Public Health got together to create an improved version. They call it the “Healthy Eating Plate.”

The Healthy Eating Plate
The "Healthy Eating Plate" Diagram

As with the “MyPlate” graphic, the “Healthy Eating Plate” provides a graphic version of a dinner plate, and shows the relative proportions of the different components of a healthy meal. However, it goes one step further and adds practical information relevant to each of those components. For example, beside the “Fruits” portion, it adds the note: “Eat plenty of fruits of all colors.”

You can download a free printable version of the “Healthy Eating Plate” at the Harvard Health Blog at:

http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/harvard-to-usda-check-out-the-healthy-eating-plate-201109143344

If you’re looking for a good printable diagram for the nutrition component of your health classes, this is a great resource.

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

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[tags]Healthy Eating Plate,MyPlate,nutrition,diet,nutrition aids,nutrition graphics>[/tags]