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Teacher: Rhett A. Rutman who teaches at Rivers Edge Elementary in Glen Allen, VA, VA. Rhett A. Rutman can be contacted at

Name of Best Practice: The Golden Shoe Award for Success Week and other school-wide contests

Rationale/Purpose of Event: I use the Golden Shoe Awards during our school-wide contests (like Success Week) to really motivate students to do their best. It's really works!

Suggested Grade Level: K-2, 3-5

Materials Needed: 6 gold spray painted shoes (old shoes). I screwed each gold shoe onto a "base" to make a trophy. Even people who aren't very handy can do this! Your base can look like whatever you want it to...To make my base...I took two pieces of wood (3.5 inches by 12 inches) and separated them by two dowel rods (1.25 inches in dia. and 8 inches long). I then stained the wood with one coat of oak stain. I then screwed the painted shoe right on top of one of the wood pieces (or you could glue it). They look very impressive and it didn't take too much work. I cut mine, but the people at Lowe's or Home Depot can even help you cut the wood if you need help! I made all 6 for less than $25.00. You just have to get some old shoes. My good friend Matt Baedke, who also is a physical education teacher in my county came up with the award idea because he had so many extra shoes. He decided to take all of the lefts and I took all of the rights and he made a set for his school and I made a set for my school.

The Golden Shoe Award for Success Week and other school-wide contests

Here is one example of a way to use the Golden Shoe Awards...
At my school, Rivers Edge Elementary in Glen Allen, VA, we recently had our school-wide Success Week for physical education. During the normal physical education class time (30 min.), each student was to travel for 6 minutes to see how many yards he/she could accumulate. In addition to this...each day of the week students (and faculty) got to wear different outfits that were designed to attract attention to the event. For example, Monday: Wear your team uniform (baseball, dance, cheerleading, karate, etc. NO CLEATS), Tuesday: Wear your favorite college or professional shirt or sweatshirt, Wednesday: Wear your favorite team's hat; Thursday: Wear your fitness clothes, wind suit, wrist/head bands, jogging shoes, etc; Friday: Wear your school spirit gear or school colors. Remember to wear jogging shoes during your physical education class.

We practiced the week before without sticks and we talked about pacing and other good strategies for distance running. For the actual Success Day Jog, each student will get one popsicle stick for each lap on the track (our track is a 220 yard track). Just measure your track size and calculate how many yards for each lap so you can quickly write how many yards the student did when they're done. The students travel for 6 minutes. When the whistle blows, they stop. I come around with my clipboard and 1/2 sheet certificates. I write their yards on the certificate and give it to them. They do get credit for partial laps/yards (I put a cone every 1/4 lap...If they made it to the next cone they got the extra 55 yards). I then have them line up with their certificate and I use a calculator to add up all of the yards. I then divide by the number of students in the class. I keep track of all classes average yards/student during the week.

At the end of the week on the Friday (end of school) announcements, I go on the air and announce the winners from each grade level K-5 and the winner earns the right to keep the Golden Shoe Award in the classroom for a month. I also tell them the total stats from all of the yards we traveled that whole week. This year we jogged 331 miles as a whole school! I told them that it was the distance from Richmond, VA (where we are) to New York City! They were all excited. All classes get a certificate to hang outside their door to show their total number of yards and their average yards/ student. And don't forget each child got to take home a personal certificate to put on the fridge or in their room. Several students tell me each year that they beat their old record from last year.

This was a fun week! The students (and especially the faculty) loved wearing the outfits....and by the way (jeans go well with many of these outfits--the teachers really loved that!). The students were excited about doing their best on the 6 minute travel. They had good sportsmanship even if they didn't win the Golden Shoe Award. The week was all about having a strategy, doing your best, and to be as successful as possible.

Once you make the Golden Shoe Awards, they can be used for many school-wide contests...jump rope contests, flexed arm-hang contests, good behavior contests, wearing the correct clothing to physical education class, etc. After a contest, give them to the winning classes for about a month. Then recollect them to use all over again for another contest....or just have one contest and only bring out the Golden Shoe Awards once a year. For the week of Success Week, I put the Golden Shoes on a table right outside of the cafeteria. I roped off the area with cones and caution tape. The students could see the trophies all week as they were going to lunch...which really built up the hype! You'll be surprised how hard students will work for a spray painted old shoe!


Pick a shorter or longer time to jog for the success day travel. You can even do this inside in a gym...just calculate how many yards to get around for one lap and create a cheat sheet with pre-calculated yards for each number of popsicle sticks (so when you walk up to them you will know that 16 sticks = 1,100 yards or something like that).

Teaching Suggestions/Tips:

When some of the younger ones ask "Is it really gold?", I always say,"Of course it is. It's solid Gold". Even if they think you spray painted it, they'll still think you're cool because it makes the "energy" of the Golden Shoe Award more fun!

Parents can visit if you would like to pass out sticks or cheer on your joggers! If you have a rainy day and you do it in the gym, it helps to have 2-3 helpers to pass out the sticks so the students don't have to wait in a line to get their stick...they just keep on jogging by as the grab it!

Adaptations for Students with Disabilities:

If the child with disabilities has a score less than the class average, you don't have to count the score...just remember to reduce the class count by one also. You don't even have to tell the child that you didn't count it towards the classes total. You can still issue the child a certificate for his/her personal best score! Walking, wheeling (in a wheelchair), and any other type of travel is allowed.

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Posted on PEC: 12/14/2007 and has received 80 votes.

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