Biking in P.E. might be my favorite time of year. Being a cycling enthusiast myself, I enjoy watching kids fall in love with biking and all that it can teach you. Here are just a few of the lessons learned this week:
Biking is all about balance. You must maintain a focus and look where you want to go. If you stop paying attention you might end up somewhere you hadn’t planned.
A bike needs maintenance. If you ignore putting air in the tires or grease on the chain, you have to work much harder. It is like listening to our own bodies. Ignoring an injury or not fueling up before exercise can make things a lot more difficult than they need to be.
You have to learn to trust yourself. Riding a bike is all about taking risks. One of the first graders rode without training wheels for the first time this week. It took him a few minutes to decide if he wanted to take them off, but once they were off there was no looking back. The older students had the opportunity to try riding on a see-saw, which at first glance looks pretty daunting but there were only shouts of enthusiasm when they reached the other side.
Camaraderie. This was a common theme of the week both on and off the bike. The older students rode together to challenge themselves while Kindergarten students came out to cheer along the older riders.
Overcoming obstacles. You have to get back up when you fall. Falling is almost an inevitable part of riding a bike. Sometimes the fall can be pretty scary and it is tough to gather the courage to get back in the saddle. But once you overcome an obstacle like a fall it only makes you stronger.
Hard work makes you feel good. Even though it takes a lot of physical and mental effort to get up a long climb, I have never gotten to the top and thought “hmmm I really wish I hadn’t of done that”. I could see the kids felt the same about the duathlon. Hard work was plastered on many of the faces during the event but they were all smiles at the finish.
It has been a true joy to watch how excited the students have been about running over the past five weeks. While it is great to see how their endurance is improving, what I enjoy the most is seeing them reap the non-physical benefits. As a runner myself, I can contribute a lot of success in my daily life to skills I learned while training. Here are a few “a-ha” moments the students have experienced:
In the third grade I have noticed that boys who are normally fairly competitive with each other put that aside to run together and push each other to each achieve their personal best.
In almost every class I will give a set number of laps and then add “or more”. It has been really fun to watch the students choose to add more and more laps. Especially those who thought the original number of laps that I gave them was too tough.
I had the pleasure of cheering for many students and parents at the Holton Hustle 5k and 1 mile last Saturday. It was fun to watch the faces of the students as the crossed the finish line. For some they were excited to have set a goal of running a mile and then following through and achieving it. For others it was the shock when they realized just how fast they could run and that all the hard work they have put into running the past few weeks has paid off.
Teamwork. Encouragement. Finding a new limit. Happiness. Just a few of the benefits running has provided the Sabot community.
We kicked off our fourth annual Sports Backers Kids Challenge on Monday, February 4th. The students were excited and ready to run! Below are a few highlights from the week.
Many students pleaded “just one more lap” during P.E.
There were opportunities for cross grade interactions and siblings were able to run together.
Several K-2 students decided to spend their whole recess running.
There was plenty of cheer and high fives to go around.
Many took the opportunity to run with their peers.
A good time was had by all!
The middle school students recently completed a segment in P.E. during which they created their own games. Working in groups of five, I gave students the following instructions:
1.) include as many people as possible
2.)make the game as physically active as possible
3.) if the game includes people getting “out”, find a way for people to stay active/return to the game
After a few brainstorming sessions the groups were ready to test out their games. Most groups found that things didn’t always translate from paper to the playing field and made several adjustments. Next, they introduced their game to the larger group and everyone was ready to play…or were they?
At the conclusion of the segment, I asked students what the most difficult part of the process was and a majority agreed that explaining the game to others proved to be a challenge. One student said ”everyone has a different understanding of how to play”. Another student added “it was difficult to explain exactly what you were thinking in your head”. As I listened I could sense and understand their frustration. There are times as a teacher when I have an idea in my head of how things will play out. Often is the case, however, that students’ interpretations lead lessons in a completely different direction. While this might cause momentary frustration, it is also the place where the “magic” happens, where teamwork and problem solving are at their best. This was certainly true for Create a Game as it provided challenges that the students had not anticipated but out of teamwork and problem solving came a healthy dose of exercise in a unique form.
…well according to my husband we needed to call CVWMA Recycling due to our accumulation of Propel water bottles. Instead they served as nice targets for a Ghostbuster game that we played in the lower school last week. The object of the game was to knock down the other team’s ghosts while also trying to protect your ghost.
A silly premise? Maybe. A realization that I am old and that kids don’t know about Ghostbusters? Definitely. What was most interesting, however, was the observation of risk versus reward. In order to knock down other ghosts a student had to leave their ghost a bit unprotected. This was something that many of the older students were comfortable with, while the younger students hesitated to venture too far way from their ghost. I can relate. Each time I toe the line for a race there is a decision to make. How hard can I push without going too far? I have found that learning how to face these challenges is transferable to much more than sport. It is my hope that the kids will also learn skills on the field that they can use in the classroom or when faced with other challenges. Plus it is also fun when the risk pays off, as you can see below.
During our hockey segment in 5th grade, we took a break from traditional hockey to play a less structured version. I gave the class 1 beach ball, a pool noodle for each student, 4 cones and very few instructions. At the beginning of class each student started out holding their noodle in the way you would tradionally hold a hockey stick. “This is really hard” they exclaimed.
After only a few minutes of play one student decided to adapt his “hockey stick” by folding it in half allowing more surface area to strike the beach ball. The rest of the class took notice and soon the pace of the game was twice as fast as when it began.
Soon an innovative student trapped the beach ball in his noodle and took off running, making the pace faster once more. The game had morphed again and now instead of playing with the ball down low it was lobbed through the air like lacrosse.
Noodlehockey encouraged the students to take risks, think outside the box and not take themselves too seriously. Plus… it was really fun to watch, check it out here.
If you have visited the main building recently you may have seen the health and wellness board. Students in grades 2-8 were encouraged to set a health and wellness goal.
Last week in 6th grade Health class a student asked what happens if she does not achieve her goal. This question led to a great discussion about how the purpose of goal setting is much more about the process than the final result. Yes, it is great when you work hard and achieve a goal in exactly the way you set to accomplish it but there is also much to be learned when you fall short of your goal. When reflecting on the process, you might realize the goal was not that important so you didn’t make time for it or work as hard as you could. The next time you might change your goal or how you will prepare for it. Other times, you might realize the outcome that was originally desired needs to be modified.
It is a difficult – but invaluable – lesson to learn that hard work and persistence don’t always deliver. This type of challenge puts your values to the test. Can you show resilience in the face of disappointment? I had that opportunity this summer. I shared with the 6th grade students how I trained all summer working towards a triathlon related goal. On the day of the race, things didn’t come together like I planned and I did not reach my goal. At first I felt a lot of disappointment but over time I can reflect back on why I do triathlons in the first place. My joy can’t be associated simply to the time on the clock or my place. While setting a goal might motivate me to get out and train, triathlons allow me to achieve so much more than fast times. Resilience – one of the many traits that can be transferred from sport to life – is at the top of the list.