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Teacher: Terry Stouffer who teaches at East Coventry Elementary School in Pottstown, PA. Terry Stouffer can be contacted at tstouffer@ojr.k12.pa.us.

Name of Best Practice: ACE

Rationale/Purpose of Event: To motivate children to exercise to better their fitness level.

Suggested Grade Level: 3-5

Materials Needed: A walking course, 10 fitness stations, music, an aerobic routine, etc.

ACE

ACE is an acronym that stands for Aerobic Conditioning Exercises. The reason I started the program was that the children at our school fell below the 50th percentile in the five items of the President's Challenge Fitness Test. My biggest concern was the poor showing in the mile run test where our school average was at the 25th percentile. I felt our school needed an exciting and motivating program that would help bring these scores up and, more importantly, urge children to be active all of the time. The program is explained next.

When students did not have a physical education class on any day of the week (this would happen three days a week), they would participate in ACE as a large group for twenty minutes at the end of the school day. The students would then be involved in fitness activities five times a week with two of those days being the traditional physical education class.

During warm weather, ACE was easy to monitor. An ACE leader from the fifth grade (there are two leaders selected for each of the classes in the school) would wear their ACE baseball cap that was provided by our PTA. They would lead their assigned class around a prescribed course on the playground for a "brisk walk". Teachers would join in this activity as well. The whole school had to accept this program if it was going to work!

On days with inclement weather, the gym was used. When there were ten or fewer classes involved I would set up 10 fitness stations around the gym for the ACE leaders to lead the class through. Fast paced music would be playing in the background. The students would stay at each station for a minute and 45 seconds before they would rotate. The fitness stations included activities like step-ups, curl-ups. a push-up/pull-up station, jogging in place to music, jump rope, even a ball passing station.

When the group was too large to accommodate the stations (usually once a week) we would have a mass aerobic exercise routine that included a warm-up, light aerobic conditioning activities and use stretching as a cool down.

The students looked forward to their ACE days. The ACE leaders developed leadership skills and a feeling of pride. The teachers enjoyed being with their class outside their regular classroom setting. The program worked! After the first year all five test items were improved throughout the school. With the mile test scores jumping 25 percentile points. A steady but slower increase continued for the following year with a plateau reached by the third year.

Variations:

On special days we would have a qualified aerobic instructor lead classes through an aerobic routine. The instructor was taped and we could use the session for the mass aerobics day. Sometimes we would use an aerobic tape. Although we would do this sparingly. A live person always worked better. That would be the physical education teacher, and as they learned the routine, the ACE leaders.

Teaching Suggestions/Tips:

I have prospective ACE leaders write a letter of application. The names/applications are then reviewed by the entire faculty before they are selected. This helps assure getting good leaders.

Adaptations for Students with Disabilities:

The students with adaptive needs would have their aid help them on ACE days. For example on brisk walk days, the wheel chair bound students would ride their wheel chairs around a presribed blacktop course. Indoors the aid around would help them at the stations and help adapt the routines to fit the needs of the individual.

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Posted on PEC: 11/18/2001 and has received 187 votes.

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