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Fit to Be Taught, Vol.11

Running for Fun and Fitness


Not much of a fitness fan as a child, teacher Carol Goodrow wanted her students to develop an appreciation for healthful eating and exercise at a young age. Her running club teaches kids that keeping fit and eating right is fun and easy.

As a child, Goodrow felt gawky and clumsy in physical education classes. As an adult, she became an avid runner, and learned the benefits of regular, non-competitive exercise, and healthful eating.

Those are lessons she wants more children to learn, and so in spring 2004 she started the Miles of Math Kids Club at Birch Grove Primary School in Tolland, Connecticut. First and second graders spent one day a week for ten weeks learning about (and tasting) healthy snacks, such as fruit and nuts, and running and walking laps outside. Students kept an exercise and snacking log in their copies of Happy Feet, Healthy Food, a book written and illustrated by Goodrow. They also calculated how many miles they traveled and how many minutes they exercised every week. The session concluded with a family fun run.

"I don't make it competitive," Goodrow, a special education teacher, told Education World during one of the last club meetings in May 2004. "I'm trying to make children enjoy the activity, and build a lifelong interest in fitness." Read the full article on Education World.

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Students Rack Up Movin Miles

The Movin' Schools philosophy of "Go the Extra Mile" in the Wisconsin public schools was designed to encourage daily fitness and enhance family life by having families and friends working and playing together. Throughout the Fit Kids unit in physical education, the teacher motivated students to become the physical trainers for their families.

At first, the program was viewed as an after-school activity. But in one school, as more teachers became involved recording their own personal after-school workouts, they asked to log exercise activities done during the day, such as classroom nature hikes. With physical education taking place three times a week, it was approved.

The goal for each child was to log a minimum of one mile a day equaling 35 miles for the five-week program. The classrooms with the highest weekly average were awarded the "Golden Sneaker Award" for the next week.

The school goal was set at logging 100,000 miles with a Fun Day incentive if the goal was achieved. The school doubled its goal by totaling 234,176 Movin' Miles. This was an average of 936 per student over the five-week period. Every student in grades K-4 participated.

Read more about this program at: Go the Extra Mile.

Click to learn more about Action for Healthy Kids.

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