For those of us with two left feet and an “under-active thyroid,” the high school physical education experience may include painful memories of being chosen last for a sports team or of one long, embarrassing attempt to climb up a rope—an attempt that never ends at reaching the ceiling. Thanks to ShapingNJ, students in Bergen County Technical Schools physical education classes will not have to share these experiences. This is because ShapingBergen is “putting the play back into fitness.”
Gone are the days of public attempts to measure up to others in the gym. With the introduction of electronic journaling and the installation of our new outdoor fitness circuit, students and other members of the school community will participate in individualized fitness activities that are person-centered and internally motivated. Now students “set the bar” for themselves and compete with themselves to achieve personal fitness goals. Success is personal, self-rewarding and enjoyable.
The new ShapingBergen 20-station, outdoor fitness circuit (funded by a grant from ShapingNJ), coupled with electronic journaling, heralds a move from an activity/sport based curriculum to individualized activities — activities that focus upon the holistic, physiological development of each student or community member. With the new fitness circuit in mind, Bergen Tech physical education teachers are revising the curriculum to include a three phase, warm-up process that is comprised of dynamic stretching, cardio-phase activities, and exercises that address bio-motor qualities, such as speed, strength, endurance, flexibility, coordination, agility, power and balance. Each warm-up phase addresses one of the three key aspects of holistic physiological development. Every student begins their gym class by spending 1 minute at each new circuit station as a part of their warm-up.
Electronic journaling supports this new, individualized approach. Use of the electronic journal provides students with a way to easily record their activities and identify how what they do and eat combines to promote the connection between a healthy diet and physical activity.
Students complete at least one journal entry each week identifying fitness and nutrition experiences that takes place during and outside of their physical education classes. This includes their use of the ShapingBergen outdoor circuit training course. Community members can access the journal online.