August 10, 2016

Run Club, Push Up Club & PACER Club

By Tammy Gann, Vega Elementary, McKinney ISD

Several years ago, we noticed that some of our FitnessGram scores in the PACER test were pretty low. So, I started a Miles Across Texas Run Club that all of our students could participate in during PE. The student demographics of our school make it very difficult to do after or before school programs because of transportation. By having a program within the school day, it made it accessible to all 600+ students.

Each student had a partner that would keep track of their mileage (29 laps = 1 mile) while they ran for 10 minutes around the volleyball court during PE. At the end of each class, we transferred the card info for each student to an Excel spreadsheet that automatically calculated totals by the day/month/year for each student/class/grade. We had a competition between the grades at least once a month. The top two students for each grade earned “Feat Awards” from The grade with the most miles at the end of the year got to choose what they played in PE for an entire week. We recognized the top students at our All Star Jam Assemblies each month.

Overall, Miles Across Texas was great and we saw improvements, but I had a few issues with it. One, it didn’t reward ALL the students that worked hard. Just the top two in each grade got awards. Two, it was time consuming to keep track of every student’s mileage each time and the spreadsheet became quite big with many formulas and calculations. Three, we had students keep track of their partner’s mileage and it often was not accurate. Lastly, students could walk part of the time when they got tired, which didn’t really help increase their ability to jog longer.

I decided to simplify and try to motivate more students to jog. So, I changed my program to a Run Club. Now students jog or run for 10 minutes without stopping. If they can achieve this, they then get on our Run Club Charts on the gym wall, get positive Classroom Dojo points (which helps them get better grades), and a PE Buck (10 PE Bucks allows them to go to the Treasure Chest for a prize). If they get tired and speed walk or stop for any reason, they do not get the Run Club rewards. We track each student’s minutes on a Run Club chart on the gym wall. After EVERY 30 minutes of jog time accumulated, EACH student receives a “Toe Token” from that our Healthy Zone Grant money helped us purchase. These Toe Tokens can be attached to shoelaces, backpacks, necklaces etc. The kids love collecting all the different colors and actually can earn as many tokens as they can accumulate time on the chart. So, the harder they work, the more tokens they earn.  We recognize the top two students in each grade with the most time ran at one of our All Star Jams at the end of the year. The grade level with the most time ran also earns an entire week in PE to choose what they want to play. Making these simple changes to our club has increased our PACER scores, simplified tracking student’s scores, and increased motivation for ALL our students to jog more. Not just the top runners.

This program was such a success with our students, we decided to add a Push Up and PACER Club to increase our FitnessGram Scores even more. The first year of Push up Club we had students join the club after 15 perfect push ups. Then, they had to increase by increments of 5 push ups each time they wanted to earn another level. Students that reached 15 push ups received a bracelet provide by the Dallas Stars. Then, at 30, 60, 90, 110, 140, 170, 210 etc. push ups, students earned “stars” to add to their bracelet. We actually ended up having students do 500-600 push ups throughout one class period so they could go up a level and beat the person that beat their last score. Our top student did 175 push ups all at once. The second year of Push up Club, we decided to use the FitnessGram Push up Cadence as our guide. Overall, our students do less push ups for the club, but their pushups are done with better form and it directly relates to the FitnessGram Test Score for each student. We test about 18 students at a time and can give up to 70 students the opportunity to be in Push Up Club within the last 5-10 minutes of class. Where as before, it was just 5-10 students at the end of class that tried out for the club. Our students now receive a star for their Dallas Stars bracelet after increasing their push up score by 10. We track each student’s progress on our Push Up Charts on our gym wall. Our students are seeing great improvement in their upper body strength and are able to do more “perfect” push ups. We now have two students that have maxed out the FitnessGram Cadence in just 2 short months. I know our Push Up Scores are going to better this spring!

During the 2nd year of Push Up Club, we added a PACER Club. So now when we do Run Club, we do 3 days of Run club and 2 days of PACER club all in one week. Students get to join PACER Club after reaching 17 laps on the 20 meter PACER test in 2nd-4th grades and 20 laps in 5th grade. When they increase their laps by 5, they receive a star for their Dallas Stars bracelet that they earned for joining the PACER club.  We also track their progress on PACER Club Charts on our gym wall.

We are hoping that our actual PACER scores at the end of this year will increase drastically since we are actually doing the PACER test more (going from 4 times per year to 8 times per year) and our students are more motivated to increase their individual scores each time.