Because each classroom situation is unique, maintenance and hygiene protocols will be unique as well. Heart rate monitors must be carefully maintained to ensure the longest life possible, including regular battery replacement. Here are some suggested hygiene guidelines:
- Students are required to purchase their own elastic chest straps (charge a lab fee).
- The school provides alcohol swabs so that students can clean their monitors before putting them away.
- With wrist models, students clear the monitor memory after use so that the unit is ready for the next student.
- Students package and return their monitors to an assigned location at the end of class.
Suggestions for Classroom Management
One of the most frequently asked questions about the HZE program is, How can I make this program fit in my situation? In most cases, this question refers to limited resources: too few monitors for the number of students, short class time, limited teacher experience, or limits on facility setup.
The first step in managing a classroom HZE program is setting realistic expectations for your program based on the facilities and equipment available. If you have a heart rate monitor for every student, you are lucky. If you are like most teachers, however, you will have less than 100 percent coverage. In these situations, there are still ways to implement the program successfully, as explained in the following sections.
Familiarizing Students With Heart Rate Monitors
Regardless of your program setting, all students need to learn about the monitors they will be using and about the HZE program. Begin by teaching them how to program the heart rate monitors. (Appendix A includes information about various monitor models and suggestions for management.) Next, teach them the HZE vocabulary and show them how to take personal recordings to establish their base heart rate data (e.g., ambient, delta, resting, recovery, and maximal heart rates). Finally, students need to understand the principles of HZE so that they can progress independently toward their fitness goals.
If you are using wrist monitors, start by pairing students. (Partnering is especially helpful when equipment is in short supply.) Partner A wears the chest strap transmitter, and partner B wears the wrist monitor receptor. Partners stay close to each other (no farther than 3 feet, or about 1 meter), and partner B reads partner A’s heart rate on the wrist monitor and records the data.
If your program is using a projection heart monitor system, you will be managing all the programming, so students can move immediately to collecting their heart rate data. There are other advantages to this choice of heart monitoring as well (see appendix A).
Once all students have recorded their base data and know how to program a monitor, if needed, you can arrange the class in one of a number of ways. For example, let’s say you have 10 monitors for a class of 30. In this case, each student wears a monitor every third day while working in the HZE program. Although this structure is fair and solves the issue of an equipment shortage in the short run, the students without heart monitors have limited activity options. Thus, it is best to develop a long-term plan of adding to your monitor inventory each year, as you likely do with any equipment.