Thanks to funding from the Cigna Foundation, Loretta Sander of the Chicago YMCA in Naperville, Illinois designed an after-school program at Hill Middle School using Zamzee to get a group of kids active. She’s working with Brad Sulkowski from Northern Illinois University and together they are doing great things. We recently interviewed her to find out how the program is going.
Zamzee: Thanks for taking some time to talk with us, Loretta! Can you tell us more about why you decided to use Zamzee at Hill Middle School?
Loretta: Absolutely! When I found out I was able to do a kids program with Zamzee, I knew right away that I wanted to work with middle school students. Middle school kids desperately need physical activity – exercise brings those positive endorphins that help middle school kids feel better about themselves and their life outlook. The problem is lots of kids don’t like being involved in big group activities like sports teams (my son included!). But just because some kids don’t participate in sports, that doesn’t mean that they should miss out on the benefits of exercise.
Zamzee: We totally agree. So what are the kids in your program doing to get active?
Loretta: We are doing a five-week program for fifteen 6th, 7th and 8th graders at Hill. We meet every Tuesday and Thursday after school to do cardio, calisthenics, circuit rotations and interval training. We use a room at Hill so the students don’t even have to travel anywhere. All students were given a Zamzee at the start of the program and have been using it all along to track their activity and (of course!) get rewards.
Zamzee: And how are the kids liking Zamzee?
Loretta: They love it! Actually, at the beginning, a lot of the initial draw for kids was that they could earn rewards with Zamzee – they love the gift cards. That made them want to work out and participate in the program. They think it’s pretty cool that they can earn these rewards on their own, without the help of Mom and Dad. It gives them a sense of empowerment, which is a great thing for kids at this age. And the more they started working out, the better their bodies felt. Continue reading
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!
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.
Lots of people ask us if Zamzee really works. This week, we received strong validation of Zamzee’s ability to make real change in getting kids moving. HopeLab and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released new research from a six-month scientific study of Zamzee amongst middle school students across America. The results? Zamzee increased physical activity in kids by 59% and reduced biological risk factors associated with heart disease and diabetes.
Let’s explain this exciting news in a little more detail, shall we?
First off, you probably want to know more about the study. HopeLab gave Zamzee activity meters to 448 middle school kids enrolled in the study from urban, suburban and rural schools across the U.S. Half of the study participants (the control group) just had a Zamzee meter to track their physical activity, but they didn’t have access to the motivational website. The other half of the study participants had a Zamzee meter AND access to the motivational website. Bet you can guess which group had more fun!
After six months of kids moving around with Zamzee, the final Point was earned, the last upload was completed, and HopeLab crunched the numbers. And the results? The group that had access to the Zamzee website moved a whopping 59% more than the control group – which is approximately an extra 45 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week. Hold your horses, everyone, it gets even more exciting! Kids who were really at risk for sedentary behavior got moving, too. Overweight participants (BMI >25) increased their activity by 27%, and girls increased their activity by 103%! Zamzee is really working for these kids. Continue reading
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
By Sue Loubser, Director of Technology at Greenfield Hebrew Academy
This year at the Greenfield Hebrew Academy middle school in Atlanta, Georgia, we are taking on a very exciting project. We have 126 middle school students and 25 teachers wearing Zamzee meters all year as part of a school-wide project to jumpstart physical activity. We’ll be incorporating the data we collect from our Zamzees into our school curriculum to teach statistics, the Scientific Method and to even discuss contemporary applications of Jewish teachings. We call this project “A Million Minutes of Activity.”
The idea for A Million Minutes of Activity began brewing in my head last year. At the 2011 ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) conference, Dr. John Medina gave the keynote address called “Brain Rules for Education.” One of the things that he said – which stuck with me – was that exercise improves executive function in students, and can help students increase test scores. It needs to be cardiovascular exercise – and the effects can last into adulthood. In fact, this is Dr. John Medina’s “Brain Rule #1.” He lamented the fact that schools cut down on P.E. even though the benefits of exercise is proven.
Then, in November last year, I went to a presentation by Barry Joseph from Global Kids, who talked about badging systems. He whipped a Zamzee from his pocket as an example of a site that was both cool – and used badging to recognize milestones – and explained that he and his son were exercising together and that he was being motivated by the meter! I put two and two together and came up with the idea for “A Million Minutes of Activity.”
Our project is a cross curriculum Middle School project. Our primary goal is realistic – together we will try to be active for one million minutes. We believe having a common goal will help unite our students and will increase school spirit. Continue reading