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When students make fun of other students who are less fit, make a point of teaching about individual differences and relative intensity. Help students think about their different strengths (e.g., math, writing, flexibility), their weaknesses, and the fact that the world needs people with all kinds of talents working together.
Cultivate an atmosphere of acceptance by using cooperative games and health-related fitness challenges that require the help of the whole team. Model empathy and teach students to encourage each other.
Have students pair up and become advocates for one another. Ask them to share their goals and develop helping relationships. Reward both students when one succeeds.
Don't publicly announce or post fitness test results; instead, have students privately record their results in their health-related fitness logs and use them to set effective goals.
When students do the mile run or warm-up jog, use staggered starts or have students run for a set amount of time (e.g., 10 minutes) rather than a set distance (e.g., three laps). Use the PACER test, because lower-scoring students will finish first, not last, and can continue to walk the course, rest, and then rejoin the activity. They can also cheer on classmates who are still testing.
Instead of expecting all students to complete a set number of pedometer steps, ask students to find out how many steps they typically take and then set a goal to improve by 10 percent.
Use fitness tracking data to set goals and design and implement an improvement or maintenance plan—not to grade.
Provide variety through stations or self-selected options for the day. Be aware that heavier (overfat) individuals may experience joint pain and impact stress when running or doing extended rope jumping. Allow for low-impact activities such as brisk walking, cycling, elliptical stepping, swimming, and outdoor winter choice activities such as skating and cross-country skiing.