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  May 2015, Volume 17 Number 5


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The NEW Physical Education: Promoting Healthy & Active Lifestyles DVD For teacher inservice workshops and professional preparation, $20 ( was $30)


  Health and Physical Education the Super Pill?

   Steve Jefferies, pelinks4u publisher

Among this month's pelinks4u articles is a summary of research by David Kahan and Thom McKenzie in which they address the potential value of effectively delivered physical education on children's overweight and obesity. It's an interesting read and shows clearly the caloric impact of getting students physically active in PE classes. Given the nationwide alarm about the catastrophic consequences of overweight and obesity on future generations, it's yet another reason for the public to support public school physical education.

But, as I've written before, simply justifying health and physical education only because of its potential to turn back the obesity tide, shortchanges our subject areas. We are much more than an obesity solution. Well planned and delivered school health and physical education enhances pretty much everything that's important in the upbringing and preparation of children for future success in life.

In another of this month's articles, Tom Winiecki a 30-year veteran elementary PE teacher, points out that his focus is not primarily on delivering our subject matter but on connecting with his students. This reinforces another critical idea essential to helping students succeed in our schools. Teachers need to connect with kids "where they're at." In other words, before even concerning ourselves with content we need to first and foremost develop the kind of positive relationships with our students that help them see the relevance in what we're teaching. Unless students see relevance it really doesn't much matter what we teach. They aren't going to value it. And absent value, students simply aren't going to learn much from us.

If positive teacher-student relationships are this important, who is better placed to develop them than health teachers and physical educators? Classroom teachers may see their students regularly throughout one year, but it is specialists like HPE teachers who are present in the lives of America's 50 million students for 14 of the most influential developmental years of their lives. Beyond content, we are the group who can serve as the glue to keep students attached to schools and give them a reason to show up each day.

But is just gets even better. Over the past decade more and more research has shown that physically active kids do better academically. Why exactly we may not quite know but certainly it makes intuitive sense that moving bodies also move minds. Research has shown that movement activates the brain and various authors have proposed that at the very least, physical activity seems to help optimize our minds for learning. Beyond this, who among us would seriously argue that long periods of sitting don't tend to impede clear thinking?

Finally, health and physical education have to be the absolutely best way to help children and youth experience and develop a multitude of social skills? What better way to learn rule following, leadership, fair play, cooperation, competition, hard work, trying your hardest, empathy for others and so much more than through different types of play, games, dance, and sports? Talking about it is a beginning but it is through practical experiences that we best develop these essential skills.

So, while the medical profession today more broadly supports the view the exercise is medicine, even this underestimates the value of doing all that we can to get America's youth to be physically active and healthy. And the best way to do it is obvious: Support public school health and physical education.

Steve Jefferies, pelinks4u publisher
SHAPE America President

Featured pelinks4u Articles
Physical Education is all about Improving Lives
Elementary physical educator Tom Winiecki believes there is a big difference between passion and expertise (teaching skills and knowledge). He writes that our passion needs to be focused on the kids we are fortunate enough to see daily. It's a great reminder of the old adage that people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.
Shelly Hoffman National Elementary PE Teacher of the Year
Since her selection as a national TOY, Shelly Hoffman has enjoyed travelling the country and sharing her program with colleagues. In this interview for pelinks4u, Shelly describes her approach to teaching and the ways that she together with her colleagues and community supporters have overcome challenges to create an outstanding PE and health program.
The Geometric Shape of Physical Education
For many years, Lynn Hefele's understanding of the value of physical education has been shaped by the mind-body-spirit connection depicted within the symbol identifying Springfield College. In this article she revisits the PE philosophy of Luther Halsey Gulick and suggests a way to symbolically represent our new national PE standards.
The Promise and Reality of Physical Education in Controlling Overweight and Obesity
David Kahan and Thom McKenzie believe that physical education has great potential for helping to control overweight-but only if it is implemented AND actually engages students in ample amounts of physical activity. This summary of a longer article illustrates the weight losing and health promoting potential of public school PE.
Achieving Physical Function through Orthotic Management
Bracing and orthotic management for children with disabilities is often overlooked in physical education. Phillip Conatser and Mark Tovar discuss wearing schedules, maintenance, and compliance issues that impact the success of students participating in PE classes who wear these types of devices.
Online Master's Program to Prepare Leaders of School-Wide Physical Activity
Schools have been charged to take a whole-of-school approach to promote daily physical activity participation among school-aged youth. The University of Northern Colorado's new degree in Physical Education and Physical Activity Leadership is one of the first of its kind dedicated to preparing, supporting, and mentoring school champions to effectively implement prolonged CSPAP efforts in and around schools.
  • National Physical Education & Sport Week, May 1-7
  • US Senate Supports Inclusion of Physical Education as a Core Subject
  • Art, music, and physical education: Are important to our schools
  • Become a part of 50 million strong by 2029
  • SHAPE America Seeks Proposals for 2016 National Convention & Expo in Minneapolis, April 5-9
  • Webinar: Tabata - Instant Action - How it Revolutionized My District, May 5
  • Webinar: The Student Progression Model of PhysEd Instruction: Using Assessment to Motivate Students, May 19
  • Give your kids a "wildhood" by giving them fun and adventure
  • 2015 Wade Trophy "The Heiman of Women's Basketball" presented to Breanna Stewart
  • Register now for SHAPE America professional webinars
  • Guardians of the Game award in educated handed out to Cliff Garrison
  • Two PE teachers among Golden Apple Award winners
  • This 1960s High School Gym Class Would Ruin You
  • Reuse items to create new games
  • Kids missing full summer camp experience because of lack of basic skills
  • First Lady delivers keynote address at the 2015 Partnership for a Healthier America Summit
  • (AZ)- Tempe and local elementary school offer free swim lessons to second graders
  • Yoga Doesn't Violate Religious Freedom, California Court Rules
  • (CT)- PE Fun night gives parents a behind the scene experience
  • (CT)- Royle School jumps rope for heart
  • (IL)- PE revamped with focus on lifelong fitness
  • (IL)- School district failing to comply with PE requirements
  • (MD)- Race for education funds technology in classrooms
  • (NC)- Working to make high school sports safer
  • (NY)- Fairport physical education teacher receives recognition
  • (OH)- PE, art, music education lose protection with change
  • (PA)- DIG Philly wins Knight Cities grant to reinvent schoolyards
  • (PA)- YWCA recognizes resident for heath and fitness contributions
  • (SC)- Bill would require more physical activity for students
  • (TX)- Elementary schools gets different kind of cedar fever
  • (VT)- How preschoolers help teach a college class
  • (Canada)- Ontario Basketball partners with Active for Life to promote physical literacy
  • (Video): Seattle Public Schools Effective Physical Education Showcase
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