Tag Archive | Greenfield Hebrew Academy

Reflections on a Year of Using Zamzee at Greenfield Hebrew Academy

By Sue Loubser, Director of Technology at Greenfield Hebrew Academy

Sue Loubser and Jon Babul from the Hawks Development Team.

Sue Loubser and Jon Babul from the Hawks Development Team.

Our year is over and we reached our goal of A Million Minutes of Activity! We never doubted we would, although we did learn a few lessons as the year progressed.

When we launched the program last September, the school was abuzz. Our head of school recalls that “kids went home and were jumping around during dinner and running around in place as friends talked to them. Children who ordinarily couldn’t easily wake up in the morning or had to be dragged out of bed suddenly popped out with great enthusiasm and energy to maximize their minutes.” Parents were amazed by the changes in their kids’ behaviors.

Although this was launched as a Middle School project – there was so much interest from younger students that our PTSA started selling Zamzee meters. They sold 50 in short order and it felt like everyone was being active!

We held a lot of competitions during the year to keep students motivated. Originally our goal was to mandate the wearing of Zamzees as part of our PE program, but mid-year we took that requirement away. That meant we had to help the kids stay motivated to keep using Zamzee.

Students could win gift cards, T-shirts, chocolates (from Israel), drinks, baseball caps and even an iPod in random drawings or as rewards for exercising over a certain number of minutes. We were also given 20 pairs of Braves tickets to give to students who met a goal for exercising. We had random reward days where if you uploaded during the day, you received a treat (which could be a Zamzee flashlight or a skin) or even a surprise recess. Continue reading

Greenfield Hebrew Academy Reaches a Million Minutes of Activity with Zamzee!

GHA_and_Zamzee
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Zamzee at Greenfield Hebrew Academy – we’re going to make it to A Million Minutes of Activity!

By Sue Loubser, Director of Technology at Greenfield Hebrew Academy

This morning, when I looked at our Zamzee Program View, I saw we had passed 860,000 minutes as our middle school moves towards our goal of one million minutes of activity recorded on our students’ Zamzee meters. I took a few moments to reflect on our year. I am pretty sure we will reach our goal by the end of May – just before the end of our school year – which will be awesome.

Along the way, we have had a visit from Ellen LaPointe of Zamzee, CBS ‘Fit Kids’ did a segment on our program, the Hawks Development team came to exercise with us, and LaVon Mercer, the first African American basketball player to represent Israel came to talk to our students and play some basketball with them. It’s all been pretty cool.

We have also learned a lot along the way. Our most engaged users are our younger students and our teachers. We have a core group of students who are in a Zamzee routine, and who regularly do their 60 minutes or more each day. We have a core group of teachers who egg each other on to do Challenges while they work towards earning gift cards! It is not uncommon to see them hopping and bopping in the hallways during lunch or recess as they take their challenges.

GHA student Bella, also known as 13CantorB (with over 119,00 Pointz!) wears her Zamzee on her sandal in Israel.

GHA student Bella, also known as 13CantorB (with over 119,00 Pointz!) wears her Zamzee on her sandal in Israel.

Our students have also zamzeed (our new verb) around the world. Right now, we have students in Israel, measuring their activity as they walk and hike through Israel. (It is not uncommon for them to exercise over 120 minutes a day when they are not spending in time in a classroom). Students have walked in New York, run in Washington D.C. and they are looking forward to jumping at Jekyll Island, on our organized field trips. Our headmaster’s meter has accompanied him on many runs and a few marathons, including the Jerusalem Marathon. Continue reading

The Shushan Shake

As many of you know, the middle school students at Greenfield Hebrew Academy in Atlanta use Zamzee to track their physical activity. A few months ago the Atlanta Hawks visited GHA students. This month, the GHA students are doing their own version of the Harlem Shake!

All we have to say is this: You guys rock!

What’s a Histogram? Learning Math with Zamzee

Learning abstract math concepts – like how to make a histogram – certainly isn’t easy. But it’s often even harder for students to understand how histograms apply to the “real world,” and why they should even be learning about them in the first place.

This year Greenfield Hebrew Academy in Atlanta, Georgia has a foolproof response to that age-old student question of, “Yeah, but how does this relate to MY life?” The entire middle school is using Zamzee meters to try to move for a million minutes of activity. In math class the 7th and 8th graders are learning how to make histograms using movement data recorded by their Zamzee meters. These histograms are helping students understand how close the school is towards reaching its goal of a million minutes of moving, and how much different subsets of the student population have been moving.

Bella and Dustin show us that 12 7th graders have moved for 0 – 1000 minutes.

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Zamzee in Math Class

“36 5th graders have logged a total of 9,154 minutes with Zed”

This year Mrs. Klein, the 5th grade math teacher at Greenfield Hebrew Academy (GHA), has exciting new tools at her disposal to make learning math easier and more fun for her students. Mrs. Klein’s 5th graders are learning addition and division using authentic data, recorded with their Zamzees, on how many minutes they’ve moved so far this year. They are answering big questions, like how many minutes each 5th grader has spent being physically active and how many minutes GHA has to move in order to reach their goal of moving for a million minutes. This type of applied learning is making a big difference in Mrs. Klein’s class already – students enjoy relating math to their daily lives and activity. It makes math more tangible, and numbers more personable.

Here’s what Mrs. Klein has to say about teaching arithmetic with Zamzee minutes:

“The kids were excited to learn that these were the real numbers, and not just made up for the math problem.  We learned by using our addition skills that there are 124 students using Zamzees at GHA.  The students then learned that we have a total of 149 Zamzees at GHA, so how many must be teachers?  We learned that 25 teachers have the Zamzees.  The students then all commented that the teachers must have the most minutes (more than any of the grades) because we have Mrs. Gordon!  Boy, are we lucky to have her on our staff for MANY reasons! Continue reading

A Million Minutes of Activity: The Greenfield Hebrew Academy middle school gets moving with Zamzee

Girls on the move at recess with Zamzee

By Sue Loubser, Director of Technology at Greenfield Hebrew Academy

This year at the Greenfield Hebrew Academy middle school in Atlanta, Georgia, we are taking on a very exciting project. We have 126 middle school students and 25 teachers wearing Zamzee meters all year as part of a school-wide project to jumpstart physical activity. We’ll be incorporating the data we collect from our Zamzees into our school curriculum to teach statistics, the Scientific Method and to even discuss contemporary applications of Jewish teachings. We call this project “A Million Minutes of Activity.” 

The idea for A Million Minutes of Activity began brewing in my head last year. At the 2011 ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) conference, Dr. John Medina gave the keynote address called “Brain Rules for Education.” One of the things that he said – which stuck with me – was that exercise improves executive function in students, and can help students increase test scores. It needs to be cardiovascular exercise – and the effects can last into adulthood. In fact, this is Dr. John Medina’s “Brain Rule #1.” He lamented the fact that schools cut down on P.E. even though the benefits of exercise is proven.

Then, in November last year, I went to a presentation by Barry Joseph from Global Kids, who talked about badging systems. He whipped a Zamzee from his pocket as an example of a site that was both cool – and used badging to recognize milestones – and explained that he and his son were exercising together and that he was being motivated by the meter! I put two and two together and came up with the idea for “A Million Minutes of Activity.”

Our project is a cross curriculum Middle School project. Our primary goal is realistic – together we will try to be active for one million minutes. We believe having a common goal will help unite our students and will increase school spirit. Continue reading