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Healthy Grants

Schools Place Importance on Health and Write Grants
Posted on 10/06/2017
This is the image for the news article titled Schools Place Importance on Health and Write GrantsBlue Cross Blue Shield gave two $10,000 checks to two JEFCOED schools for the celebration of their Be Healthy School grants. Schools were Clay Elementary and Greenwood Elementary.  Jeff Adams, community manager of the grant program, made the presentation.

Greenwood wrote their grant entitled "WE ARE WALKING TO DISNEYLAND!"

The name  of Greenwood's program is "Be Healthy Greenwood Gators."  The goal is to provide the opportunity for ALL to gain more nutritional knowledge in order to make more healthy choices.  Students will learn to interpret information found on food labels, how to calculate their calorie intake, and how to determine the amount of needed exercise to burn excess calories, tracking calorie intake, and planning healthy meals. Involving all students, parents, faculty and staff in this program will create a positive home/school connection between good nutrition, exercise, and making healthy choices. The entire program will become a school-wide "Problem Based Learning" initiative for our school.

In addition to each class including a 15- minute physical activity each morning, we will also use pedometers to keep track of our daily steps.  The steps will be converted to whole class miles and will be used as a means to "virtually travel" to designated places throughout the United States. Our first school-wide destination is Disneyland in Anaheim, California. The distance between our school and Disneyland is approximately 2,048 miles.  Given that it takes approximately 2,000 steps to equal one mile of travel, each class will need to walk a combined total of 4,096,000 steps during the school year.  Parents will also be allowed (and encouraged) to keep track of their steps and have them added to their child's classroom total.

During the week, students will use laptop computers to create both personal and whole class charts using Google Sheets as a means to collect weekly data for the number of miles/steps traveled.  Utilizing math and technology skills, the students will create charts of the United States to document how far they have actually "traveled" that week and where in the United States they are for the week.  Students will incorporate into their social studies lessons the study of each specific state/county that the class walked to that week on their way to their final destination. Google Maps will be used to show students basic facts, photos, and maps of where they currently are for the week.

A restaurant from each area will also be chosen to view the menu and calculate nutritional value of a meal along their way.

Graphs of the total steps each class has walked will be displayed in the lunchroom for students, parents, and visitors to observe.  It will become a competition among classes to obtain the most steps.  Using the data collected, students will create archival data by adding to their personal and weekly class data charts allowing them to visually measure their progress through the year.  Students will also create a video or infographic to detail their journey to their destination.

Clay Elementary's Be Healthy grant was written by PE teacher Lauren Bickerstaff. Here are excerpts:

In order to reach healthy levels of overall fitness our students need tools to help them improve their upper body strength and endurance. Our exercise program goal is to increase the percentage of our students that score in the healthy fitness zone in the 90-degree push-up portion of the Alabama Physical Fitness Assessment (APFA). When most recently tested in the fall of 2016 only 60 percent of our students were able to do enough push-ups to score in the healthy fitness zone.  We want to implement a program to increase this to 75 percent by the time our students are tested in the fall of 2019.

Our students at Clay Elementary already perform well in the flexibility, abdominal strength, and cardiovascular endurance portions of the APFA. The push-up portion of the APFA measures upper body strength and endurance.  If we can help our students develop good muscular strength and endurance it will help them improve their overall health-related fitness.

At Clay we have an academic goal of creating lifelong learners. We would like to match our academic goal and develop students that are physically active throughout their life.  We need to provide our students with positive experiences in which they can learn to love to move their bodies. These experiences need to include exercises that help our students increase their upper body strength and endurance.

In our gym we have a climbing wall that requires the use of mats to protect the children in case they fall. The mats we currently have are very old, ripping apart, and really not thick enough to provide adequate protection for a child if they were to fall off the climbing wall. If we were able to get new high impact mats the children at our school could increase their upper body endurance by being able to safely use the climbing wall.

We would also like to make our climbing wall more attractive so it catches the attention of our students while giving a positive message.  We could add more variety to the climbing wall by purchasing more climbing holds to motivate the children to challenge themselves more. Our school is in the process of beginning a leadership program called The Leader in Me. This program teaches leadership and life skills that can be integrated into many aspects of physical education. We would like to paint a mural that relates to these lessons on our climbing wall.

We often have students that have to sit out of physical education class due to an upper body injury like a broken arm. Students with injuries are usually not allowed to participate in the game or activity due to safety. If we had a stationary exercise bicycle the students with upper body injuries could exercise their lower bodies during their physical education time instead of getting no exercise at all.

Another item that would help our students in increasing their upper body strength and endurance is a push up training tool. Through the use of these tools our students would be able to experience what a good 90 degree push up feels like. These tools also help record the number of repetitions so the children could measure their improvement in their upper body endurance.

Our students need tools to help them improve their upper body strength and endurance. With new high impact mats our students will be able to safely use our climbing wall to help them increase their muscular strength and endurance while having fun at the same time. If our climbing wall was more attractive with new climbing holds and an inspirational mural our students would be more excited to use it. Through the use of rowing machines and exercise bikes with moving arms our students will be able to increase their upper body strength and endurance while being exposed to lifetime fitness activities which will hopefully lead them to continue exercising throughout their life.

The grant also involves studying nutrition, the school garden and parental involvement and scheduling  Saturday workdays in the garden.