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Teacher: Warren Juster who teaches at Holley Elementary School in Sylvester, GA. Warren Juster can be contacted at wdj@peanut.org.

Name of Best Practice: Cardiovascular Month

Rationale/Purpose of Event: To educate and encourage students as to the importance of having a healthy cardiovascular system now and throught their lifetime.

Suggested Grade Level: 4-5

Materials Needed: Soccer equipment, jump ropes, stop watch, handball equipment, computer, Bodyblast program, video software, television, and art supplies.

Cardiovascular Month

Cardiovascular month is usually held during the month of February (but can be held during any month). During physical education classes, emphasis is placed on students learning about and engaging in activities that contribute to the overall improvement of their cardiovascular systems. These weekly activities include walk/run week, soccer week, ultimate handball, and the American Heart Associations Jump Rope for Heart week.

During walk/run week students learn about taking their pulse before and after the activity. The activty consists of having our students walking or running the straight aways and everbody running the curves of our track. Our track is 1/6 of a mile.

Soccer week consists of students playing soccer. Ulimate handball is similar to ultimate frisbee. Instead of using a frisbee students use a gatorskin ball during ultimate handball week. Students throw the ball into a soccer goal instead of someone trying to catch it in an endzone.

Editors Note: To keep with the purpose of the practice we recomend having students record pulse rates at various times during the games and then discuss these later or perhaps keep these in a writen journal about the week. We also suggest the games need be small-sided (e.g., 4-6 per team) if the majority of the kids are going to raise heart rates.

All students participate in our Jump Rope for Heart Week regardless if they have collected donations or not. During this week different jump rope stations are set up. Students are split into groups of six. They jump rope according to the directions on the station signs (forward, backwards, left-foot, right-foot, etc.) for 30 seconds to music. At the end of 30 seconds the instructor blows a whistle signaling for the next person to jump rope. Once everyone has jumped, these students will rotate to the next station when instructed to do so.

Students also learn about the importance of having a healthy cardiovascular system through other classes within the school. During art class students paricipate in a poster contest. The theme of the contest is to depict some aspect of cardiovascularity that is centered around improving ones overall health. The music teacher, teaches activities centered around the rhythmic sounds of the heartbeat. This is accomplished by having students clapping their hands and stomping their feet, to simulate a normal heartbeat, fast heartbeat, slow heartbeat, recovery heartbeat after exercise, and an abnormal heartbeat.

During the writing/literacy block of their regular classes, students write a minimum one page report on why it is important to have a healthy cardiovascular system. After writing their papers students then present them to their classes. The classroom teacher then selects the top three papers within their class and displays them on the wall outside of their door. Finally, in health class the following topics are discussed: blood pressure, pulse rate, healthy lungs, white and red blood cells, healthy heart, and nutrition. Some of the activities in which these activities are presented include:

1) Watching a video called Heart Power from the American Cancer Society (discusses eating right, exercising, living tobacco free, and
decreasing you chances of heart disease).

2) Using a computer program called Bodyblast (which shows and discusses what the circulatory system is and how it works)

3) School nurse discusses and takes blood pressure of students.

So hopefully by students being invloved in all these various curricular activities, it will stress to them the importance of
having a healthy cardiovasular system now and throughout their lives. Hopefully, this will also cause these students to have a positive effect on their friends and families.

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Posted on PEC: 10/29/2001 and has received 128 votes.

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tara koerselman

i like this activity


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