Health Month: Physical Activity Week

Health Month: Physical Activity Week

This is part two of my five-part mini series on the Health Month initiative I created for my school. Be sure to read part one in which I explain what Health Month is and share the two month-long challenges I created for it!

As I explained in the first part of this series, Health Month is an annual, month-long initiative I run throughout the month of May that is designed to help celebrate healthy, active living within my school’s community. The initiative is broken down into four weeks, with each week having it’s own theme:

  • Week One: Physical Activity Week 💪
  • Week Two: Mental Health Week 🧠
  • Week Three: Nutrition Week 🍎
  • Week Four: Sleep Week 😴

In this blog post, I will be walking you through the activities and challenges that I created for Health Month’s Physical Activity Week.

For each week of Health Month, I established some student learning targets that really drove the design/selection of the activities we would run throughout the week. For Physical Activity Week, the learning targets were:

  • ✅ I can list some of the benefits of regular participation in physical activity.
  • ✅ I can describe what moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) feels like.
  • ✅ I can plan for 60 minutes of daily MVPA.

I shared these targets with the rest of the faculty via the ‘#healthmonth’ channel in our school’s Slack workspace leading up to Physical Activity Week so that everyone was aware and on the same page. The targets were also shared with my school’s parent community via our Health Month weekly email in the hopes that it would guide discussions at home.

Physical Activity Week: Advocacy Pieces

For each week throughout Health Month, the resources/activities I designed fell into two main categories:

  • Advocacy Pieces 📣
  • Challenge Pieces 🏔

For physical activity week, we did a few things that were really fun and made sure everyone was thinking about physical activity throughout the week!

First of all, all faculty and staff got to wear athletic clothing throughout the week! This was (for obvious reasons) a hit and something that the team really looks forward to each year. Why athletic clothing? For one, having the whole team in sport/workout gear throughout the day served as a reminder to the community that we were celebrating physical activity at school. It also made it easier for teachers and staff to sneak in a lunchtime walk, recess yoga session, or after-school run by removing one of the barriers that can sometimes get in the way.

Having everyone in athletic gear for our Monday morning Physical Activity Week school assembly also created quite the statement. At 8:10 AM, students from every grade made their way into the gym for an assembly in which I broke down Health Month, invited students to share some of the benefits of physical activity (which was really cool since my younger students had just completed their Benefits of Physical Activity unit and were keen to speak up and list benefits in front of the school), and went over what moderate-to-vigorous physical activity feels like and why it is so important for our overall health. From there, I introduced the two Physical Activity Week challenges (Physical Activity Family Bingo and the Daily MVPA Trackers) which tied into the goal of getting 60 minutes of MVPA on a daily basis.

To help kick start my students MVPA quest and get the kids up and moving, I then invited everyone to get on their feet and led a 10 minute bodyweight workout using the Seconds Pro app which was displayed on the screen behind me.

It was also during this assembly that I introduced the Race To A Million Steps pedometer challenge which you can learn about in part one of this blog post series.

#MaxYourDays Mural - Full

The third advocacy piece launched during Physical Activity Week was a total reboot of the Physical Literacy Mural at our school (I’ve blogged about the ‘#MaxYourDays’ mural in the past). Basically, I felt as though it was time to start fresh as many of the faces on the mural had graduated or moved away and I wanted to make sure that everyone had an opportunity to see themselves up on the wall. To this day, I still find students gazing up at the mural and excitedly pointing to the pictures they find there.

Physical Activity Week: Challenge Pieces

For Physical Activity Week, I designed two student challenges that would promote active living both in and outside of school: Physical Activity Family Bingo and the Daily MVPA Tracker.

Physical Activity Family Bingo

In the weekly email I sent home to parents for Physical Activity Week, I included the Physical Activity Family Bingo challenge sheet. This challenge was designed to meet two purposes:

  • Help families discover new ways of being active together.
  • Give families lots of opportunities to snap pictures for the Physical Literacy Mural!

Been having a tough time at work. Just swamped with everything going on and struggling to find balance.

Then I get this email from a student, telling me that her family has been using our Health Month bingo to go out and be active together.

Wind is back in the sails 💪 #physed pic.twitter.com/tfXqRt8DBv

— Joey Feith (@JoeyFeith) May 22, 2019

It was so great to hear from families who were using the sheet to add some adventure to their lives! So many families said that they were keeping their sheets until they reached the ultimate goal of trying out every activity on the Bingo card!

Daily MVPA Planner & Tracker

Having gone over the benefits of MVPA, the “look-for” indicators of MVPA, and the daily requirements of MVPA during our Physical Activity Week school assembly, I created the Daily MVPA Planner & Tracker so that my students could:

  • Make a physical activity plan for their week,
  • Track their physical activity minutes throughout the week,
  • Reflect on the physical activity highlights of their week.

I had made similar trackers in the past for Health Month, but this year I really wanted my students to be proactive in regards to their physical activity by identifying activities that would allow them to engage in MVPA both at school and at home.

The Daily MVPA Planner & Tracker was also included in the parent email I sent home and – as I have done in the past – I posted my personal tracker outside of my office door throughout the week to serve as a model for my students.

Physical Activity week was a great way to kick off this year’s Health Month initiative and included a lot of smaller things throughout the week such as:

  • Special equipment brought outside during recess (e.g. jump ropes, Spikeball nets, etc)
  • Teachers jumping into games with students during recess
  • Morning arrival laps around the soccer field as students wait for the bell to ring to enter the school
  • A student-led dance competition that took place in the gym at recess
  • And more!

Next year, I’m hoping to build on Physical Activity Week by bringing back daily active school assemblies and before-school activities in the gym.

So that’s it for part two of the Health Month mini-series! I’ll be publishing part three of the series next week in which I will be going over the second theme of this year’s Health Month: Mental Health. If you want to make sure you don’t miss out on any of the upcoming posts, be sure to subscribe to my newsletter .

If you’re interested in bringing Health Month to your school, be sure to check out the Health Month Teacher Pack in which I have included all of the resources I designed for this year’s initiative (along with parent email templates).

DOWNLOAD THE HEALTH MONTH TEACHER PACK

Once again, thanks for reading and happy teaching! 🙌

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Joey Feith is the founder of ThePhysicalEducator.com. He currently teaches elementary physical education at St. George’s School of Montreal in Quebec, Canada.

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