Tag Archive | P.E.

Middle School with Zamzee

By Timothy NguyenTim

My affiliation with Zamzee began roughly in 2011, when the Zamzee team made an appearance at my middle school. I was in 8th grade back then and the idea of an activity tracker that measures your steps intrigued me, as I was unfamiliar with idea to begin with. The enthusiasm of the Zamzee team and their persuasion quickly whipped me on board, and before you know it, the meter was on the way to my doorstep.

At first, my P.E. teacher challenged the class to see who can earn the most points, and I believe that it was the challenge that really got me going on the device. Later on, I ended up winning the competition, and ever since then, the Zamzee meter hasn’t left my side. Many of my friends commented about the device, and I gladly explained to them how it encourages you to get active. I practically wore it everyday to school and to the gym whenever vacation came around. At the gym, I was quickly remembered because I had the meter on: I stood out.

What encouraged me the most about the Zamzee meter was the accomplishments one could achieve. I always became excited when I earned a new badge, and that factor is what drove me to stay dedicated to the meter. Moreover, other than the obtainable badges, their challenges were another prime factor that kept me dedicated. From my standpoint, I thought it was a fabulous idea that one can earn tangible rewards from physical activity. Challenge after challenge, I pushed myself to earn enough Zamz for a product I wanted. That drive eventually led me to earn enough Zamz to purchase Yurbuds from BestBuy, which I proudly use every single day, and for that, I am extraordinarily grateful. It was because of this drive for accomplishment that I found myself pushing my limit of physical activity. There was even one point where I found myself exercising within my house, something I would never find myself doing because of how small my house is. But I was doing it, because of the Zamzee meter. Continue reading

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Walking to School with Safe Routes and Zamzee

Safe Routes to School education event - August 24th, 2013 - Adam Brant (28)

“Back in my day, we had to walk ten miles back and forth to school. In the snow! Uphill both ways!”

It’s probably been a long time since you fell for that classic joke. But even though your grandfather probably didn’t walk uphill both ways to school, there is a good chance he did walk to school. Unfortunately, many kids these days don’t have a chance to say the same.

Back in 1969, 48 percent of K-8th grade students walked or bicycled to school. By 2009, only 13 percent of K-8th grade students were walking or biking to school. This uptick in students driving to school has had a big impact on communities. For example, did you know that 10-14 percent of all vehicular traffic between 7 and 9 A.M. is school-related?[1] Moreover, many communities lack the urban infrastructure that would make walking or biking to school safe for children. For all these reasons and more, Congress passed federal legislation in 2005 establishing the National Safe Routes to School program. The new program would fund projects to improve the safety of children walking and biking to school, and encourage families to travel between home and school using these modes. Continue reading

The Importance of the Playground: recent research

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By David Reeves

Some of the most important learning in childhood takes place outside the classroom, on the playground. Recent research shows that children develop important cognitive and social skills while playing, to say the least of improving their physical health. Here are just a few interesting examples of skills developing in the background while children are having fun playing.

Longer Attention Spans: In 2009, the journal Pediatrics found that students who were given more than 15 minutes of recess time on a daily basis were better behaved than those who had no recess period. When children in school take a break from learning lessons and are given the chance to play with one another, they are better able to focus on the subjects they are studying. Rather than looking at “play” as something that will take away from “study,” research shows that the two are actually mutually beneficial.

IQ Growth: Playing helps children grow their brains. In a study conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics, children who were exposed to enriched, play-oriented childhood programs and social interaction had higher IQs at the age of five, as opposed to children who were not given the same play-oriented opportunities. Play is so important to child development that it is even recognized by the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights as a fundamental right of every child. Continue reading

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

Greenfield Hebrew Academy Reaches a Million Minutes of Activity with 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

Zamzee at Hill Middle School

Zamzee_SchoolZamzee was designed to get kids moving. There are schools using Zamzee across the country, and we love hearing from program leaders about Zamzee’s impact.

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