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Reflections on a Year of Using Zamzee at Greenfield Hebrew Academy

By Sue Loubser, Director of Technology at Greenfield Hebrew Academy

Sue Loubser and Jon Babul from the Hawks Development Team.

Sue Loubser and Jon Babul from the Hawks Development Team.

Our year is over and we reached our goal of A Million Minutes of Activity! We never doubted we would, although we did learn a few lessons as the year progressed.

When we launched the program last September, the school was abuzz. Our head of school recalls that “kids went home and were jumping around during dinner and running around in place as friends talked to them. Children who ordinarily couldn’t easily wake up in the morning or had to be dragged out of bed suddenly popped out with great enthusiasm and energy to maximize their minutes.” Parents were amazed by the changes in their kids’ behaviors.

Although this was launched as a Middle School project – there was so much interest from younger students that our PTSA started selling Zamzee meters. They sold 50 in short order and it felt like everyone was being active!

We held a lot of competitions during the year to keep students motivated. Originally our goal was to mandate the wearing of Zamzees as part of our PE program, but mid-year we took that requirement away. That meant we had to help the kids stay motivated to keep using Zamzee.

Students could win gift cards, T-shirts, chocolates (from Israel), drinks, baseball caps and even an iPod in random drawings or as rewards for exercising over a certain number of minutes. We were also given 20 pairs of Braves tickets to give to students who met a goal for exercising. We had random reward days where if you uploaded during the day, you received a treat (which could be a Zamzee flashlight or a skin) or even a surprise recess. Continue reading

How Rewards Made Physical Activity a Habit – Zamzee User Interview

Ilan earned 18,000 Zamz to get a Wii!

Ilan moved enough to earn 18,000 Zamz and get a Wii!

One of the most exciting parts about getting a new Zamzee is the realization that you can earn a free Wii or Xbox by collecting Zamz. Rewards are a crucial part of Zamzee’s game design to get kids moving. This type of extrinsic motivation inspires kids to make a behavior change and kickstarts their physical activity. As they work towards their extrinsic reward (whether it’s a small plush toy or a Wii), Zamzee fosters kids’ intrinsic motivation by making moving fun and social. The end result is kids get in the habit of being physically active. It’s an approach grounded in Deci and Ryan’s theory of behavior change and HopeLab’s research on Zamzee, which is why we know it works.

All that being said, every now and then it’s nice to meet a real user that’s benefited from Zamze. Ilan C., a Zamzee user from Greenfield Hebrew Academy, is the latest Zamzee user to receive a Wii for all his moving. We interviewed Ilan and his parents to find out just how Ilan earned a Wii, and how you can, too!

Zamzee: Hi Ilan! Congratulations on getting a Wii! Tell us, how long were you working towards earning the Wii?

Ilan: I was working toward the Wii for about 6 months.

Zamzee: Wow! That is a really long time and a LOT of moving! How did you stay active to earn enough Zamz?

Ilan: I did baseball, football and I rode my bike, took walks and ran too. My favorite activities are playing outside with my dad and riding my bike.

Zamzee: How does it feel to have earned the Wii after 6 months of moving? Continue reading

Greenfield Hebrew Academy Reaches a Million Minutes of Activity with Zamzee!

GHA_and_Zamzee
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Zamzee at Greenfield Hebrew Academy – we’re going to make it to A Million Minutes of Activity!

By Sue Loubser, Director of Technology at Greenfield Hebrew Academy

This morning, when I looked at our Zamzee Program View, I saw we had passed 860,000 minutes as our middle school moves towards our goal of one million minutes of activity recorded on our students’ Zamzee meters. I took a few moments to reflect on our year. I am pretty sure we will reach our goal by the end of May – just before the end of our school year – which will be awesome.

Along the way, we have had a visit from Ellen LaPointe of Zamzee, CBS ‘Fit Kids’ did a segment on our program, the Hawks Development team came to exercise with us, and LaVon Mercer, the first African American basketball player to represent Israel came to talk to our students and play some basketball with them. It’s all been pretty cool.

We have also learned a lot along the way. Our most engaged users are our younger students and our teachers. We have a core group of students who are in a Zamzee routine, and who regularly do their 60 minutes or more each day. We have a core group of teachers who egg each other on to do Challenges while they work towards earning gift cards! It is not uncommon to see them hopping and bopping in the hallways during lunch or recess as they take their challenges.

GHA student Bella, also known as 13CantorB (with over 119,00 Pointz!) wears her Zamzee on her sandal in Israel.

GHA student Bella, also known as 13CantorB (with over 119,00 Pointz!) wears her Zamzee on her sandal in Israel.

Our students have also zamzeed (our new verb) around the world. Right now, we have students in Israel, measuring their activity as they walk and hike through Israel. (It is not uncommon for them to exercise over 120 minutes a day when they are not spending in time in a classroom). Students have walked in New York, run in Washington D.C. and they are looking forward to jumping at Jekyll Island, on our organized field trips. Our headmaster’s meter has accompanied him on many runs and a few marathons, including the Jerusalem Marathon. Continue reading

The Shushan Shake

As many of you know, the middle school students at Greenfield Hebrew Academy in Atlanta use Zamzee to track their physical activity. A few months ago the Atlanta Hawks visited GHA students. This month, the GHA students are doing their own version of the Harlem Shake!

All we have to say is this: You guys rock!

What’s a Histogram? Learning Math with Zamzee

Learning abstract math concepts – like how to make a histogram – certainly isn’t easy. But it’s often even harder for students to understand how histograms apply to the “real world,” and why they should even be learning about them in the first place.

This year Greenfield Hebrew Academy in Atlanta, Georgia has a foolproof response to that age-old student question of, “Yeah, but how does this relate to MY life?” The entire middle school is using Zamzee meters to try to move for a million minutes of activity. In math class the 7th and 8th graders are learning how to make histograms using movement data recorded by their Zamzee meters. These histograms are helping students understand how close the school is towards reaching its goal of a million minutes of moving, and how much different subsets of the student population have been moving.

Bella and Dustin show us that 12 7th graders have moved for 0 – 1000 minutes.

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Zamzee in Math Class

“36 5th graders have logged a total of 9,154 minutes with Zed”

This year Mrs. Klein, the 5th grade math teacher at Greenfield Hebrew Academy (GHA), has exciting new tools at her disposal to make learning math easier and more fun for her students. Mrs. Klein’s 5th graders are learning addition and division using authentic data, recorded with their Zamzees, on how many minutes they’ve moved so far this year. They are answering big questions, like how many minutes each 5th grader has spent being physically active and how many minutes GHA has to move in order to reach their goal of moving for a million minutes. This type of applied learning is making a big difference in Mrs. Klein’s class already – students enjoy relating math to their daily lives and activity. It makes math more tangible, and numbers more personable.

Here’s what Mrs. Klein has to say about teaching arithmetic with Zamzee minutes:

“The kids were excited to learn that these were the real numbers, and not just made up for the math problem.  We learned by using our addition skills that there are 124 students using Zamzees at GHA.  The students then learned that we have a total of 149 Zamzees at GHA, so how many must be teachers?  We learned that 25 teachers have the Zamzees.  The students then all commented that the teachers must have the most minutes (more than any of the grades) because we have Mrs. Gordon!  Boy, are we lucky to have her on our staff for MANY reasons! Continue reading