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Teacher: Suzanne Klink who teaches at Clark Elementary School in Amherst, NH. Suzanne Klink can be contacted at

Name of Best Practice: Fitness Stars

Rationale/Purpose of Event: The purpose of "Fitness Stars" is to encourage children to exercise regularly by engaging in physical activities that are fun and meaningful to them outside of the school setting.

Suggested Grade Level: 2-5

Materials Needed: fitness slips, paper slip pockets and large envelopes for each classroom, paper "stars," parent volunteer boxes (3) that include extra slips, stickers, tape, marker, extra paper "stars," a file box, incentives (e.g., toe tokens), "Fitness Star of the Month" recognition sheets, and nomination forms.

Fitness Stars

After introducing the "Fitness Stars" program in PE class, students take home a letter describing the program, along with sample fitness star slips. Students then take home "fitness slips" that are kept in a special "pocket" in their classroom anytime they wish, between the months of October and May. Students take the responsibility of getting slips to and from school. Parents/guardians assist children in filling out these slips each week, and ultimately sign the slip verifying activities taken place.

Activity choices on each slip include:

  • playing outside

  • hiking

  • walking

  • jogging

  • biking/scootering

  • swimming

  • jumping rope

  • skating

  • soccer

  • gymnastics

  • karate

  • t-ball/baseball/softball

  • tennis

  • golfing

  • skiing

  • sledding

and includes household chores such as:

  • vacuuming

  • raking leaves

  • shoveling snow

  • taking out the trash

  • stacking wood

The child's name, teacher, number of minutes/hours, dates, activities checked off, and adult signature is on each slip. Students typically submit one slip per week. Once their filled-out slip comes back to school, they place it in a large envelope in their classroom. Parent volunteers come twice a week to help children document their exercise minutes by putting stickers (one = 30 minutes of activity) on a "paper star" (25 hour star) that is hung outside of their classroom in the hallway.

Volunteers acknowledge activities that have taken place through conversations with students, thus reinforcing the importance of regular physical activity. "Toe Tokens" are awarded after a child completes a star (25 hours), and colorful shoelaces are awarded after 4 completed stars (100 hours), and finally a "feelin good" wristband is awarded after 8 completed stars (200 hours).

The program continues through the month of May. In addition, classroom teachers nominate two children in their class to be "Fitness Stars of the Month." These students take home a form that requires a picture of themselves (although not required, most return forms with pictures of themselves engaged in some form of an enjoyable activity), and a brief description of what physical activity they like, "because it makes them feel..." Returned forms are put on a large bulletin board in the hallway recognizing students who are taking responsibility for their own health and learning to lead an active and healthy lifestyle.

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Posted on PEC: 10/9/2001 and has received 138 votes.

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