Monday, January 28, 2008

Physical Education Class Uses Pedometers to Motivate Kids to Move


At Washington Woods Elementary, students recently started using pedometers during gym class, and physical education teacher Doreen Spindler keeps track of how many steps they take.

"Once they get 1,200 steps, which equals to half a mile, I punch their cards," she said. "That encourages them. If we play a game where we have to stand in line to wait, they jog in place or do jumping jacks. It's amazing how a lot of them are very aware of what their pedometers say."

After every two miles completed on the pedometer, Spindler gives students little foot-shaped tokens. She also gives them tokens when they bring in log sheets that show they met exercising goals.

Spindler and the school nurse, Robin Moore, work together to promote health.
Moore talks to the children about eating properly and has them bring in a log sheet, monitored by parents, that shows how many healthy snacks they have eaten, Spindler said. Moore gives them hand-shaped tokens once they reach 10.

Students display their tokens on their backpacks and necklaces, encouraging a healthy competition among each other, Spindler said.

"They know they have different opportunities that can help them make a healthy choice, whether it be what they eat or how they are active," Spindler said.

The We Count Pedometer Walking Program provides different tools for motivating and tracking student progress. Walking logs, chants, certificates, bulletin boards and many other tools motivate students to move.