The purpose of J Day is to promote children's health & fitness, fight childhood obesity, support physical education, and to make fitness fun. Jumping Jacks Day is very easy to organize and has a very high degree of success. The information on this page explains how to create a J Day, but you can feel free to modify it to suit your needs.
This concept is actually very simple to organize. For our example, we will use an elementary school with 20 classes, and a seven hour school day (8 AM – 3 PM). Our example can easily be adjusted to accommodate a health club, YMCA, recreation department, or camp.
Let’s first do the math
A 7 hour school day = 420 minutes
There are 20 classes in our example
Each class will be responsible for 21 minutes of the
How does the day work?
The first thing you need to do is educate the school community
about this event. It is
recommended that you talk about the special day at a full staff meeting
approximately one month before it takes place. It will be
easier than putting everything in writing for the staff!
A letter should also be sent to all personnel approximately one week
before the program begins. It should include pertinent
information: the date it will take place, and the master
schedule. The event should also be discussed with the
children in their Physical Education classes. It is further
suggested that you write something in your school newsletter or
newspaper about the event for the parent’s knowledge,
followed up by a letter home about one week before the event.
Next, you need to do the math equation as shown above. This will tell you the responsibilities of each class for the event. In our equation, each class will contribute 21 minutes to the day’s event! Subsequently, you will have to create a master schedule for the school to observe during the day. An illustration of this will appear in the Downloads section of this web page.
Once your main schedule for the day is completed, you will need to get each class prepared for the program. At this point, it will be necessary for you, or the classroom teacher, to create a schedule solely for that individual class. Once again, an example of this will be in the Downloads section. For descriptive purposes, let’s say each class has 21 students. Since each class will contribute 21 minutes for the day, each child is actually responsible for participating one minute.
Since you are deviating from your normal schedule, and this is a special event (not PE class), you need not try to get 100% active participation from each child for the continuous 21 minutes. It is really not recommended since many children will exceed their fatigue limitations. Older children may be able to accomplish this feat; however, our example is an elementary school environment. Here are four options you may utilize when a class arrives.
Option # 1
The children come into the room and form a single line. The first child in line will perform jumping jacks for one minute. When they are done, they pass the baton to the next child who will do the same until every child from that specific class has completed their task. At completion, the baton will be passed over to the next class.
Option # 2
Children can partner up, and do the jumping jacks with their comrade for two minutes instead of one-minute solo. After the two-minute period, they pass the baton to the next pair. At completion, the baton will be passed over to the next class.
Option # 3
Children can team up in-groups of three, and do the jumping jacks for a three-minute cycle before passing the baton over to the next band of three. At completion, the baton will be passed over to the next class.
Option # 4
Team the children up in-groups of three again, but have them perform jumping jacks for one minute and then pass the baton over to the next group of three who will do their allotment for one minute. When each group completes their first minute, start the same cycle with the same groups of three for the next one-minute period, followed by the third and final one-minute period. At completion, the baton will be passed over to the next class.
These are just four options for you to consider. Obviously, there are many combinations you can explore for each grade level. You need to take into account the age and fatigue factor before you decide on the format for each individual class.
- Play music during the event for added excitement.
- While children are waiting for their turn, have them cheer on their friends.
- Fill the room with posters and pictures created by the students pertaining to exercise.
- Invite the parents to come watch.
- Have a large poster for each child to sign when they participate.
- Get the local news to cover the event for added motivation.
A few concerns to contemplate
- When planning your timetable for the event, consider lunch and recess schedules.
- Factor in arrival and dismissal schedules when planning the day.
- Take into account teacher preparation time. How will they react if they miss their prep time due to this event? Will you have to manipulate your schedule to make sure the classroom teachers get their prep time? Will your school district give you a professional day along with a substitute teacher to cover your classes? There are many things to consider making this work properly!