A r c h i v e d  I n f o r m a t i o n

Educational Programs That Work - 1995

SPARK: Sports, Play, and Active Recreation For Kids

SPARK: Sports, Play, and Active Recreation For Kids. A comprehensive physical education program designed to help teachers improve the physical activity, fitness, and movement skills of children in grades 3-6.

Audience Regular classroom teachers and physical education specialists in grades 3-6. The secondary audience is administrators, mentors, and supervisors who are responsible for physical education programs and instruction in elementary schools.

Description SPARK is a curriculum and staff development program designed to help elementary teachers provide quality physical education. Primary goals are to provide students with substantial amounts of physical activity through a program that can be implemented by trained specialists and classroom teachers. SPARK activities encourage maximum student participation during class time, as well as promote regular physical activity outside of school. The Physical Education Program promotes individual improvement, and students are encouraged to monitor their own progress. The curriculum calls for classes to be taught a minimum of 3 days/week throughout the school year. The yearly plan is divided into instructional units that are typically 4 weeks (12 lessons) in length. A standard 30-minute lesson has two parts: Type I Activities that focus on developing health-related fitness and locomotor skills and Type 2 Activities that focus on developing generalizable motor skills. The Self-Management Program is a classroom curriculum that teaches behavioral skills that are important for maintaining physical activity. Its emphasis is on behavior change skills rather than knowledge alone. The Teacher Training Program is designed to develop teachers' commitment to health-related physical education; help them understand SPARK curricular units and activities; and develop management and instructional skills for effective implementation. SPARK addresses National Educational Goal 3.

Evidence of Effectiveness SPARK is the product of a five-year National Institutes of Health grant and has been evaluated in a controlled trial. Current results show that students in the SPARK Program made significant improvements in cardiorespiratory fitness, muscular strength and endurance measures, and sport skills. In addition, teachers implementing SPARK provided significantly improved quantity and quality of physical education as evidenced by increased frequency and length of classes, fitness activities, skill drills, and the minutes children engaged in moderate to vigorous physical activity.

Requirements Commitment to quality physical education by the school district, site principals and teachers; commitment to training and follow-up consultations; and standard supplies and space to safely conduct active physical education.

Costs Costs depend upon location, number of teachers trained, amount of on-site follow-up desired, and available physical education supplies. Materials include SPARK Program video; physical education curriculum; self-management curriculum; black-line masters for student materials; and evaluation materials.

Services Awareness materials are available at no cost. Inservice training is provided at the adopting site. Costs include the Physical Education and the Self-Management curricula, trainer's honorarium, and travel expenses. Follow-up services for classroom teachers are strongly recommended.

Dr. Thom McKenzie, Director, or Paul Rosengard, Coordinator, SPARK, San Diego State University, 6363 Alvarado Court, Suite 225, San Diego, CA 92120. (619) 594-4815, FAX (619) 594-4570.

Developmental Funding: National Institutes of Health.
PEP No. 94-6 (3/1/94)


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