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Teacher: Cindy Parks-O'Neil who teaches at Northwestern Lehigh Elementary in New Tripoli, PA. Cindy Parks-O'Neil can be contacted at

Name of Best Practice: A Smile for the Mile

Rationale/Purpose of Event: To encourage my students to finish the mile run for the President's fitness challenge.

Suggested Grade Level: 4-5

Materials Needed: A washable Crayola marker.

A Smile for the Mile

Each time a student finishes a lap on the track I give them a mark on their hand representing that lap. The first lap the student gets a dot for an EYE. The second lap the student gets a dot for the second EYE. The third lap they get a dot for the NOSE. On the final lap, the student gets a smile when they finish their mile. The students that finish early, they can do " victory Laps" (extra laps). I then add hair, glasses, ears for the smiley face for each additional lap. My students can't wait to get victory laps in! This is also a good way to keep tally on when a child is finished when you have to test a large group.

The teacher can trot besides the students to give the marks so that stopping is not an issue. I have not had a problem yet with the marks. Students love to show off their mile smiles to their teachers and parents.

Teaching Suggestions/Tips:

I would suggest using a washable marker.

Having a high school helper or parent helper share with the marks is a great way to get things done for a large class.

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Posted on PEC: 2/13/2003 and has received 192 votes.

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Previous Comments:

Michele Korn.

I have used this for years for my Mileage club to keep track. I started making the smiley face on their palm, because be the end of the day it wore off(with handwashing etc)


Love this and have tried it! Only problem I have encountered, my elem. school principal and parents do NOT like or want washable markers dots on inside of (fore)arm! I would need to spend time cutting about 500 pieces of paper for students to carry around track, in order to keep track of approx 30 running in each class/PE time.
Any suggestions?

Gajanan Prabhu B.

This is an excellent best practice observed in order to make students active. keep it up Teacher.

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