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Teacher: Sara Cerrato who teaches at Woodside School in River Vale, NJ. Sara Cerrato can be contacted at saracerrato@yahoo.com.

Name of Best Practice: Gold Medal Attitudes Running Club

Rationale/Purpose of Event: To promote life-long physical activity while incorporating other important life skills such as motivation, dedication, perseverance, goal setting, and above all else - A Positive Attitude!

Suggested Grade Level: 3-5

Materials Needed: Pedometers, worksheets (log sheets), parent newsletter, "Gold Medal Attitudes" article.

Gold Medal Attitudes Running Club

This year, I created an afterschool program for 4th and 5th grade students at my elementary school. This program is called the "Gold Medal Attitudes Running Club." It is a voluntary program. We meet afterschool from 3 - 3:30 p.m. every first Friday of the month.

Students were required to have pedometers. We began the first meeting by reading an article in Current Health, (Feb. 2004), titled "Gold Medal Attitudes." This article portrayed various Olympic athletes, explaining their challenges, fitness goals, motivation, determination, and positive attitude. Afterward, students needed to come up with at least one goal for themselves for the duration of this club and how they would achieve this goal.

Along the way, students will assess their progress and continue working both IN AND OUT OF SCHOOL to meet their goals. At our group meetings once a month, run/jog/walk courses are created for students to participate in - helping them with their goals. I allow students to participate as partners/groups, use walkmans, etc. I have registered our club on LOG IT (www.peclogit.org) where I have set up hikes/competitions for our club to participate in. I sent a letter home to parents about this registering process and some students have signed up. Attendance is taken each meeting. Students that miss less than two meetings will be invited to an awards ceremony. Those invited will bring their parents and will receive an award. Afterwards, there will be a small party for these members.

Variations:

Try and meet more than once a month. This can also be done before school or at lunch.

Teaching Suggestions/Tips:

To make attendance easier have students sign in themselves.

Allowing students to listen to music during the meetings is a great incentive (just make sure it's appropriate listening).

Encourage students to wear their pedometers at school as well as at home - as much as possible (great motivation when they see how many steps they take throughout the school day - this might motivate them to walk instead of being driven to school).

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Posted on PEC: 12/10/2004 and has received 61 votes.

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