Physical education has always been a class where students are graded on participation, fitness skills and concepts, and “effort.” How, though, do I truly assess “effort?” How am I able to look at a student and determine if he/she is putting in maximum effort? Conversely, how can I look at a student and grade them down because he/she was not putting in the “effort?” How can I quantify that? The answer: Polar H7 Heart rate monitors. ~ Reid Sundblad, Chinook Middle School
Because of an Excel Grant through Highline Schools Foundation, I was able to purchase 12 heart rate monitors and an online license with polargofit.com that made it possible for me to wirelessly track and monitor the heart rates of students on my iPad during PE. As a result, I can formally assess my students during fitness days, days in which they need to be working out in their target heart rate zone. Prior to the purchasing of the heart rate monitors, this was a challenging task to observe and collect the necessary data. I’d have to have the student stop exercising, manually check their pulse, and then calculate their heart rate. With the heart rate monitors purchased through the Highline Schools Foundation’s Excel Grant, I was able to accomplish what I set out to do and am now able to assess up to 12 students at once, and then provide the necessary feedback to the students instantly to raise or lower their heart rate.
The first way in which this grant has made a difference is in regards to assessment. As a PE teacher, I always struggled to assess students on their effort as effort is impossible to truly see. Through the incorporation of the heart rate monitors as provided by the Excel grant, I am able to unquestionably assess students on their effort as their heart rate is a concrete means of seeing it.
An additional way in which the Excel grant has made a difference in my classes is by leveling the playing field between students who are not strong in the area of cardiorespiratory endurance and those students who are. I know that students who do not have a strong level of cardiorespiratory endurance require very little exercise before their heart rate is elevated to the point in which they are receiving maximum benefits. However, to the naked eye, this minimal amount of exercise might not appear to be sufficient enough to earn the grade in class. After adding the heart rate monitors to my classroom to use on these fitness days, these students who before looked to not be doing much, now have the heart rate monitor data to show me that they are in fact working at an intensity that is equal to the students who are stronger in regards to cardiorespiratory endurance.
Every year, the Highline Schools Foundation grants teachers the funds they need to support unique and innovative programs in their classrooms that their school’s budget can’t provide. We want to support activities and experiences that expand the learning process and actively engage students. The online application will be available mid-September.