Monthly Archives: August 2016

Pacing the use of Technology in P.E.

Incorporating technology into an elementary school physical education class can sometimes be challenging. Each class is typically only 30 minutes long and much of the class time needs to be devoted to fitness skills and movement. One way to include technology in an elementary school physical education class is the use of heart rate monitors. Utilizing this type of hardware technology will not take very much precious class time and it will also enhance the students’ learning about physical fitness and heart rate. Among many advantages, heart rate monitors assist children in learning aerobic pacing and target heart rate, staying in the zone, comparing the effects of varied physical activities on the heart, visualizing changes in intensity, and being excited about seeing their personal heart rate progress on charts and printouts (Tipton and Sander, 2004).

I recently created a 5th grade elementary school physical education lesson plan for the PACER test that included the use of heart rate monitors. The Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Run (PACER) is a multi-stage shuttle run designed to measure aerobic capacity. The objective of the PACER is to run as long as possible while keeping a specified pace. The PACER test with heart rate monitors lesson plan is designed to make the PACER test more interesting and fun for the students and help them be more engaged in their own learning. It could also spark an interest in using technology in their everyday lives.

This lesson plan requires the students to have active mental engagement in correctly using the heart rate monitors and keeping track of their partner’s PACER test score. This addresses ISTE Standard 4, component 3: Utilize technology to collect and analyze data, identify possible solutions, and make informed decisions. The heart rate monitors supported the students’ learning of how to monitor their heart rate and the importance of monitoring their heart rate during exercise.

hrI have not had a chance to teach this lesson, but after reflecting on the lesson I came up with one big issue: time. There probably just isn’t enough time to effectively teach the students how to use the heart rate monitors and take the PACER test in the same class period. The introduction to the heart rate monitors should be done in the lesson before the PACER test. In an earlier lesson, the students can learn how to use the heart rate monitors and then do a shorter physical activity that is not as strenuous and time consuming as the PACER test. Once the students are comfortable with the heart rate monitors, they can then use them with the PACER test.

Another potential issue with this lesson is that some students will struggle with getting the heart rate monitors to work correctly. The teacher should be sure to include frequent informal assessments in the lesson to ensure all the students are correctly using the heart rate monitors before moving on to the physical activity part of the lesson.

The learning target for this lesson was: I will improve my PACER Test score from my previous score and I will accurately measure my heart rate. The lesson plan currently includes a self-assessment at the end of class where the students give a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” if they successfully completed the two components of the learning target. In most classes, this assessment will probably be enough for the teacher to determine if some students needed a little more help with completing either part of the learning target. More detailed exit slips could also be used as a closing assessment if a teacher believes a class needs a more detailed and formal assessment.


Tipton, J. and Sander, A (2004). Heart Rate Monitors Promote Physical Education for Children, retrieved from sitename/Documents/DocumentItem/6621.pdf.



Teaching Students Safe Surfing

With the Internet becoming an integral part of many teacher’s curriculum, taking the time to correctly teach safe online surfing is of vital importance. Here are some sobering statistics: two-thirds of Internet users fall victim to cybercrime, online harassment has grown 50% in five years and continues to increase, and slightly more than one-third of youth surveyed were exposed to unwanted sexual material while online (Lucas, 2013).

As technology continues to become a more integral part of students’ lives, making sure that all members within school environments are well versed in appropriate use and digital citizenship will be an imperative (Ribble & Miller, 2013). Many school districts and schools simply block or restrict access to web sites. This may keep students safe at school, but what happens when these students have access through a friend’s cell phone or tablet that is not restricted? The classroom is an ideal place to really teach students the importance of safe online surfing. Blocking and restricting websites doesn’t help students in the long run, but teaching them how to be safe online enables them to practice good habits for their entire life (Lucas, 2013). Teaching online safety is really just about providing students with knowledge. This addresses component one of ISTE Standard 5: demonstrate personal responsibility for lifelong learning.

The online article The Teacher’s Guide to Online Learning lists several strategies to teach safe online surfing. One of the most important strategies listed in this article is to get the parents involved. Educating parents on the dangers of inappropriate usage and encouraging them to talk to their children about it is an effective way to ensure that students are safe online, both at school and at home (Lucas, 2013). One way that teachers can get parents involved is sending home a short fact sheet that includes information on the importance of online safety and ways to communicate with their children about online safety.

There are many different resources for teachers to educate themselves and their students about how to safely surf online. Common Sense Media and PBS Kids Webonauts Internet Academy are both excellent resources for elementary school teachers and students. Emailing parents a link to these sites to review with their children at home is also a good way to get the parents involved.

While most elementary school physical education teachers will not have any online surfing in their curriculum, it will still be important for them to reinforce the importance of online safety with their students. For example, a physical education teacher could discuss a few key online safety tips while surfing for a YouTube video on a fitness activity in front of the class.


Lucas, R. (2013). The Teacher’s Guide to Online Learning, eLearning Industry. Retrieved from

Ribble, M. & Miller, T.N. (2013). Educational Leadership in an Online World: Connecting Students to Technology Responsibly, Safely, and Ethically. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 17:1 (2013): 137-45.