Vital Signs App Fail.


Disclaimer: The first time I completed this lesson I had 60+ middle school students.

I came upon the iPad app, Vital Signs by Philips from a few referrals on twitter. The app will use the camera and detect you heart rate and breathing rate. I immediately thought it looked great and was skeptical at the same time but had no problem spending the .99 cents to test it out.

I tested it out on myself, worked great. I knew there would be accuracy issues, but it was more about awareness to teach to the students. I wanted to get them to associate exercise and heart rate. When I test body fat I know there are accuracy issues but the kids still become aware of body fat % and how it relates to their health. Same principal.

The lesson I had prepared had a station that was strategically placed after a very exhausting exercise station to try and elevate the heart rate as much as possible. The app will take a picture after the test is completed with the results stamped over the picture. I was going to give an award to the person who recorded the highest heart rate. I thought it would be a great incentive to get the kids to work a bit harder, and to try and get their heart rates up. After class, I would go through the pictures and then pick out the highest heart rate. I wanted to print the picture, and give a water bottle to the winner. I thought it would be a great representation of my PE program if a student took that picture how to their parents and told them about what the learned in class.

Well, here is what happened.

I give a great brief lecture and have the kids pumped up (it wasn’t all bad). I had a projected image of me taking the test myself that must have been 20 ft tall. That was pretty awkward I must say. But it worked perfectly. Then I have the students start the station training. First student, heart rate in the forties, huh?. Next student, same thing, what? The pattern continued. Some tests actually yielded no results. The tests were taking about 15-20 seconds at a time, which is an eternity in this circumstance. Now I have accumulated a group of kids very excited to try it out. Since it is taking so long, students who should have rotated to the next station are waiting around, new students are rotating in. I am allowing the stations to run too long which allow kids to get off task. By now you can see what I mean. I abandon the iPad and salvage the rest of the station lesson.

It is my opinion that the lighting in the gym caused the problems that I had. Kids were also standing up while taking the test and maybe moving just a bit. Before incorporating the app into the station lesson again, I will certain do some trial and error and see if I can find a place in the gym that will give accurate results. Since it takes awhile, I would like to have 3 or 4 ipads set up at a station so that all students could get tested at the same time. I also have the handheld heart rate monitor. It might be good to have it out so kids could use that if they cannot use the iPad app.

All in all, students still received the awareness that I had planned for, yet, i think they were disappointed that things did not work out as I had planned. But, I just tell the kids, my apologies, and thank them for allowing me to experiment with new tools and not being totally overwhelmed and off task. They are middle schoolers by the way.

You Tube Video of Vital Signs

Jarrod Robinson’s (The PE geek) blog entry about the app




I learned this warm up activity at a professional development where John Hichwa was the presenter. Kids were happy and active for the entire 3 minutes.

The basic premise is that the gym is divided into thirds, where each third represents each Olympic medal, bronze, silver, and gold. I use one free throw line, extending all the across the gym, as the bronze, then the halfcourt line represents the silver, and the opposite freethrow line represents the gold. The object, of course, is to stay at gold and win as many golds as possible.

All students begin at bronze level, music begins and kids find other kids to play against. Winner advances to next level up and loser falls back one level. Of course, you can go no further back than bronze.

It looks like students smiling and running to specified location in a controlled manner. Because you have to play against someone to move to the next level, kids will talk to and play against anyone who is available. Great activity, to do at the beginning of your program. It can be somewhat of a icebreaker.

Enjoy! I like to play with the students to increase and model enthusiasm. I like it as a warm up or instant activity. Today I did that, then did push up and sit up physical fitness tests, then did a small outdoor run. Good day.


A storm on Saturday left a large amount of schools without power. On Sunday, at least 40 remain without power, so new superintendent of Jefferson County Public Schools, Donna Hargens, decides to postpone the first day.

Here is a great way to identify all the calories in fast food restaurants. If you count calories, then it is sometimes hard to get all the information you need to when you eat out at restaurants. You know what I mean if you use a mobile app like mynetdiary.com. Hope this can be a good resource. I am not sure if it will work when I embed the code so here is a link just in case. http://www.fastfood.com/nutrition/

Just for a little fun, I like to post some MLB predictions prior to the start of the season. It is more for me so feel free to move along if baseball isn’t your thing.

League Standings

AL East

Sox, Rays, Yanks, O’s, Jays

AL Central

Detroit, Chicago White Sox, Minnesota, Cleveland, Kansas City

AL West

Oakland, Texas, LA, Seattle

NL East

Philly, Atlanta, Florida, Washington, New York

NL Central

Milwaukee, St. Louis, Cinci, Pitt, Chicago, Houston

NL West

San Fran, Colorado, LA, San Diego, Arizona

Individual Awards


Adrian Gonzales

AL CY Young

Justin Verlander


Albert Pujols

NL Cy Young

Roy Halladay

Fantasy Baseball

Good Value Picks

Max Scherzer rd 7

Gordan Beckham rd 12

Johnathon Sanchez rd 12

Brandon Morrow rd 12

Gio Gonzales rd 12

Jeremy Hellickson rd 15

Eric Bedard rd 18

Neil Walker rd 18

James Shields rd 20

You might notice that the later rounds are full of stud pitchers that could easily finish the year as league leaders. Draft a Cliff Lee, Jon Lester, type pitcher early and then load up on offense, then take all these pitchers late. In most league closers are only valuable for saves only. Do not be afraid t


o not draft a closer at all and take risks on high upside players. Once you figure out who comes through for you, then you can slowly add closers as they become available throughout the year. I usually draft 1 and then have 4 on the roster during playoffs.

Can’t wait for the season. Go Rays!



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