One way to include all students — even those who don’t have a safe route to school — is to have students log the miles that they walk or bike outside school. There are many ways to track the walking and biking trips that students make. For instance, students can punch holes in their own personal frequent walker/bicyclist cards, or they can place stickers on a calendar for every trip they make.
Providing a way for students to track the miles that they have walked or ridden a bicycle is a tangible way to chart progress toward a walking or biking goal and to build excitement and cooperation among students. Different classes or different grades can compete to accumulate the most miles. Or, all students in the school can work as a team to accumulate miles toward a common goal, such as “Walking and Bicycling Across the United States.” Find more information and examples in the Safe Routes to School Guide.
Do you want to start a program in your community? Download a Mileage Log template:
Putting it into Practice: Success Stories
A.C. Moore Elementary School in Columbia, South Carolina, set a goal to jointly accumulate "One Million Minutes of Motion" by the end of April. Students and staff were encouraged to walk or bike to school every day. Bus riders were encouraged to get 30 minutes of physical activity in the evening with friends and family. Each student completed a monthly walking log to track the number of minutes walked. Those students who walked or exercised 30 minutes for at least three days a week were given award certificates. A "Million Minute March" to the State House celebrated the accomplishment.
Because the majority of the students at Orchard Hollow Elementary School in Mentor, Ohio, cannot walk to school safely, Walk to School Day kicks off a year-round walking-at-recess program. Children log their distance and receive a "toe token" charm for every five miles walked. More awards are given for 25 miles, 50 miles, 75 miles and 100 miles. At year's end, the student who has walked the most miles receives a special award. Teachers help the children plot their miles on a map of the United States to see how many cities they can "visit" during the school year.
A grant enabled West View Elementary School in Spartanburg, South Carolina, to purchase pedometers for students to use to track their steps. West View then planned a variety of walking and health-related activities that occurred on a weekly and monthly basis. Students earned various rewards for achieving their walking goals. Teachers also participated in this walking challenge.
Has your school had success with logging miles that students have walked or biked? Share your success.