If you saw the award winning 2004 documentary entitled Super Size Me then you saw - at least for a few minutes - an amazing man by the name of Phil Lawler.
Super Size Me explains why Americans are so fat. At one point in this powerful documentary, the main "character" (and he IS a character) Morgan Spurlock visits the Chicago suburb of Naperville where things are different.
Most of America (and most students) are somewhere between 30-40% overweight and obese. And we see the results of this sickness in heart disease and diabetes and...
HOWEVER, in the Naperville school system only 3% of the students are overweight and obese.
How could that be?
What's happening in the Naperville school system?
The answer: Phil Lawler
When you watch the documentary you'll have to pay close attention because they don't spend long with Phil. But he caught my attention so I called him. That's Phil and me in the photo.
If you have kids or work with kids then you owe it to yourself to listen to the new 50 minute audio interview with Phil (below).
Most school systems in the US are cutting back on Physical Education (PE) or completely eliminating it. Where I live elementary kids get PE once a week for 40 minutes.
Why is PE being reduced or completely removed? Administrators believe PE is "extra" and kids need to focus on "academics" (to raise test scores).
So the kids get fatter and fatter. And one would assume the pay-off would be smarter and smarter kids.
NOPE! It's a fallacy. Kids aren't getting any smarter with the reduction or removal of PE.
The kids in Naperville, Illinois have PE class EVERY DAY (K-12) and they have as high or higher test scores than any school you want to compare them to.
I walked through the halls of Naperville High School and I didn't see any fat kids. That might sound kind of cruel but it's true. When I visit other schools around the country I see what has become the new "normal" which is 1/3 of the population is overweight and obese.
Are Naperville PE teachers a bunch of old school "whip them into shape" types? Not even close. Phil used to be an "old school" type but he saw the light and now teaches a brand of PE that is so innovative that he was asked to testify before Congress.
And would you be surprised if I told you that Phil's curriculum is heavy on teaching team skills through fun and engaging teambuilding games?
If you knew what was going on in Naperville you would DEMAND the same happen in your kid's school.
Click on the link below to listen to the audio interview with the most amazing PE teacher you'll ever meet, Phil Lawler:
Download phil_lawler_interviewed_on_sept. 25, 2007 by Tom Heck of TeachMeTeamwork.com.mp3
Phil Lawler is recently retired from teaching and is now sharing his amazing Physical Education program through a company called PE4Life.
I'm going to be presenting two workshops at the one-day conference for PE teachers held every year in Naperville, Ill. The date is Friday February 29, 2008. For more information about this event contact Mary Hirth with the Naperville school system.