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Teacher: Kim Bellnier who teaches at Village Elementary in Hilton, NY. Kim Bellnier can be contacted at kbellnier@hilton.k12.ny.us.

Name of Best Practice: Sweatin with the Seasons

Rationale/Purpose of Event: To encourage home exercise and the development of healthy lifestyle habits. NYS Physical education standard #3, and fulfillment of National PE standard #3 and 4.

Suggested Grade Level: K-2, 3-5

Materials Needed: Collection baskets, colored slips of paper (about 1/2 sheet) and take home flyer describing program.

Sweatin with the Seasons

This is a 'seasonal' fitness challenge that we have done with our entire school K-6! Three times a year (to encourage a habit versus just a one time event) we challenge our students to be active outside of school each day, and record their activities on a colored slip of paper for a period of about 2 weeks. The paper is a color that represents the current season (orange/yellow for Fall, blue for Winter, Pink for Spring for example) and is just a 1/2 or 1/4 page in size, with a space for name, teacher name and what the activity was. Seasonal clip art is usually at the top. The procedure is simple: Each day students can stop into the gym in the morning, get a new slip for that day to take home. They would then do some type of exercise at home or at a local area, write it on their slip (or have mom/dad help and sign) and they would bring it back the next morning...put it in the basket in the gym, and take a new slip! We encourage this for a 2 week period, incorporating vacations when possible (kids take a few slips to last them over break) and at the end of the 'season' we count how many slips were turned in per class. We post the grand totals, and also put each grade levels slips into a seperate basket/box. The principal then picks a winning slip from each grade's box and announces the winning class over the announcements. We have student helpers assist us with counting and sorting all the slips at the end of the season. We get a lot of them! The winning student's slip that is drawn gets to bring his/her whole class to the gym for a bonus activity time! Classroom teachers love this incentive because they get a bonus plan time...some teachers even fill out slips themselves each day during the challenge. The more slips the class turns in, the better chance they will have to win the drawing...and the more exercise they will be getting!
This works well because it is fairly short, occurs a few times a year to encourage consistent exercise, and it is done on a daily basis to keep things fresh...versus a month long calendar that gets forgotten easily...
Its also a great time to talk about home exercise ideas, places to go in the community, and to encourage kids who don't really exercise on a regular basis to start!

Variations:

Instead of seasonal colors, you could get fancy and have your take-home slips be seasonal shape cut outs....Leaves, snowflakes, flowers...
Teachers could select one student as the 'collector' and that one student would collect slips each day and bring them to the gym/take new ones for interested students that day from the class.

Teaching Suggestions/Tips:

Put the collection basket right by the door to the gym, and encourage kids to stop by right when they get off the bus to turn in their slip and take a new one for that night. Stand by the door of the gym to greet kids, congratulate them on their effort, and serve as a visual reminder of this special fitness challenge that is happening at that time. Kids seem to love stopping down special in the morning during each 'seasonal' challenge! Post some slips from each class on a special bulletin board. Take down at the end for the tallies, then maybe post some new ones once they are all counted for a few weeks.

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Posted on PEC: 2/26/2008 and has received 57 votes.

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