Amy Barnabi - Reflections of Blogging


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

AR_Month 10_THIINKFit!

First of all - MONTH 10!
Now that I've gotten that out of my system, LET'S MOVE on.

The THIINKFit Project- Amy Barnabi

On the second day of graduate school I was thinking about my "thesis" project. I contacted Dr. Wyly and asked her about a project that I was thinking about. That project was the THIINKFit Project. I explained to her, that as a runner, I was overwhelmed at the inactivity among kids today. When I was a kid we played from sun up, until sun down, and that some of my favorite memories of my life, took place then, during those hot days of summer vacation. If I knew how running made

1. Data: I had a great conversation with Dr. Bedard yesterday about my A.R. research. It was one of those "forest through the trees," type of thing. The hardest thing about this project has been staying on task and staying grounded. On the other hand, I kind of get psyched about the fact that I've found it difficult to actually find the evidence needed to finalize my Action Research. One of the questions Dr. Ludgate asks for us to reflect on this month is, "Is any of your work truly innovative?" (A sheepish grin comes across my face) There's not a lot of research in the area I'm truly wanting to find the answers to: Does exercising before school with technology increase attendance, GPA scores, Ohio Achievement scores, and self-esteem? And does it combat childhood obesity AT THE SAME TIME - allowing children to be active before school with the number one gaming system in the world?

Let me get this right, and see if you are following me on this - Two problems, one stone. The THIINKFit Project gets kids up, out, and active first thing in the morning, over time, allowing them to fight childhood obesity (and increase their flexibility and strength), as well as, exercising their minds (and my studies have shown), and preparing them for more success in the classroom? Hmmmmm....This is what I know. My sixth grade students have been using the THIINKFit project, combining Wii Fit Plus aerobic exercise, strength training, and yoga, with an early morning routine supervised by yours truly.

I'm very excited about Michelle Obama's Let's Move Campaign, I feel selfish in saying that Mrs. Obama's push to fight childhood obesity couldn't happen a better time. Her goal is to reverse the numbers of childhood obesity by 2015. 30% of our school-age children are considered overweight. Of those 30%, 13% are obese. (See statistics for childhood obesity a MedTv

"Everybody has been wringing their hands for a decade about what a big problem this is, but having the first lady involved could really make a difference," says Margo Wootan, director of nutrition policy for the Center for Science in the Public Interest. "The first lady not only brings the weight of the White House, but she also understands this issue as a parent." (Hellmich, 2010)

My push for my THIINKFit project will not be an easy one (see above mentioned, forest through the trees), but it will be a worthy one. What started out as a pipe dream has become a possible dream come true. Three years ago I envisioned a way to help kids get more active. I believe that the THIINKFit project can be the answer to successfully allowing for students to be more active.

LMO & Action Research
The Learning Management System I am currently working on will hopefully propel my project to a step closer in getting picked up for a grant. My hope is to develop a training module for further developing the use of the THIINKFit Project in other school buildings. The more I am able to experience the use of the THIINKFit Project in various settings, the more I see the overwhelming need for it. What continues to make this project unique is the ease in which children see participating with the Wii system. They are exercising and having fun first thing in the morning.


  1. Amy,
    Your project is great, but I can see your point on finding the data. Yours is truly a long term research project that would take possibly several years with the same kids to see the results. What you need to do is have this program done through the whole school for several years and see what improvements you see. I know, it doesn't help you find the data right now. Keep up the great work!

  2. Amy, I am absolutely thrilled that you are doing this project. If you don't get any academic results from this year-long study, the least you have done is sparked the interest of exercising in students who probably would have never had the opportunity to do so otherwise, and that is a huge accomplishment in itself.

    For my birthday, my husband bought me a Wii and a Wii Fit Plus because I finally got tired of being overweight. He even bought me one of the three Biggest Loser games for my Wii Fit because he knows how much I love The Biggest Loser. I have never been more excited to finally lose the weight that I've carried for my entire life. Your project is a huge inspiration to me, and I thought instantly of you when I opened up my birthday gifts.

    I must agree with Mark, though, that this kind of study will take more than just one year, and I am sure that you realize that. It would be interesting however to see just how many of the students who participate regularly with you will still be interested in exercising and fitness this time next year.

  3. Amy,

    If you make a training module, then kids could learn to use your program at home too! Now that is using the Internet for a good purpose! What would be interesting is a site that in addition to the training, allowed kids to log in and compare their progress with their peers. It would introduce some online collaboration.

    Just some thoughts. Your project is so cool it gets me thinking!

  4. Jacquelyn (Beth) AlzolaMarch 21, 2010 at 5:48 PM

    Yes, Amy, your work is innovative!!!! I have always been so impressed with your hard work and determination. Your THIINKFIT project is sure to be picked up by schools and camps across the country and probably the world. It will be interesting to see how things develop for the project.

  5. Amy I love this project! I really enjoy the idea of expanding to other groups. Obviously i think social networking is going to be a great way for you to communicate with your learning communities and track success!

  6. Hi Amy,
    I LOVE your project. I teach about nutrition, the food guide pyramid and the exercise side of the food guide pyramid. What you are doing is so important to teach children to be active now and through adulthood. You are showing that being active is fun.
    You are teaching a life skill that is so important.

    I don't understand why you can't get any academic results. Couldn't you take a class that is not using wii fit and take the data from them and then have that class start using wii fit to see if it increase attendance at school? You could also do a qualitative research project using a survey to see if the students think it will improve their performance.

  7. Amy, Fabulous!!! Your project will have widespread and long-term effects on your students. As you know, exercise also helps cognition. All subject areas can be improved! I wouldn't be surprised if Michelle Obama invited you to the White House!

    I agree with Liz! There is plenty of research that shows the positive effects of exercise on the brain. I know from my own research on Alzheimer's that exercise is one of the best ways to keep your brain 'in shape."

    Wouldn't it be fun to have a huge screen with other students doing the WiiFit? There could be WiiFit competitions and fundraisers for charity. Lots to think about!!

  8. Amy, as a coach I understand the role fitness plays into a healthy lifestyle. I have seen athletes that don't have great eating habits, graduate and gain weight. I think that establishing good habits young will save our country money, but also better the lives of people. I could see the PE classes at my school using the program.