Name/Title: "Walk the Talk"

Purpose of Event: Provide activity and partial credit for students who do not dress out when required.

Prerequisites: Communicating clear expectations to students regarding participation requirements.

Suggested Grade Level: 6-12

Materials Needed: Necessary space where students can walk in full view of the teacher, and without creating unsafe conditions for themselves or others.

Description of Idea

Since exercise may be the most significant outcome of physical education classes at all levels, it is critical that students not miss opportunities because they lack a required uniform. We talk at length about the need for having active lifestyles, but then have students sit idly because they lack appropriate clothes or shoes. In most cases, students can be given the alternative to "walk the talk" for the duration of a period, rather than sitting out. Indoors or outdoors, regardless of apparel, students can be given a walking route to follow during the span when other students begin and complete their regular activity. The walking route needs to be unobtrusive, without creating a safety hazard and within the view of teachers at all times. Even in a pool setting, students can walk in the balcony in an oval pattern that could include ascending and descending steps if necessary. Lest students view the requirement as punishment, they can easily be reminded that physical activity is a regular part of each class. They are simply fulfilling this in a different manner.

Assessment Ideas:

Although it is appropriate to reduce a student’s grade for failing to dress out, this need not result in eliminating activity for the period. Given that they cannot participate in the scheduled activity without the proper uniform, they can at least complete some activity for partial credit in this manner. Partial activity and credit is better than no activity and credit.

Adaptations for Students with Disabilities:

Depending on the nature of the disability, students may not have the same requirements for dressing out, or even have the same program of activity during a lesson. To whatever degree they are held to the same standard, and do follow the same program, they could be given the same alternative to walk, as long as they are physically capable of doing so.


Submitted by Steven Henkel who teaches at Bethel University in Arden Hills, MN. Thanks for contributing to PE Central! Posted on PEC: 5/9/2006.
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