We just wrapped up week six of the kids challenge and the polar vortex that has had a grip on our city didn’t stop the students from running- they are already up to 1,263 miles. It also didn’t diminish their enthusiasm for running and most students agreed that while running in the snow was more of a challenge it also added a greater element of fun.
In addition to running in the snow another highlight included 2nd graders running extra miles for a middle school student who couldn’t run due to a broken arm. There was also a discussion in kindergarten about what happens in your body when you run. Some of the most memorable quotes include: “you have to breathe harder”, “your muscles gets air”, “you feel warmer”, “your heart pounds faster” and ”you get a runny nose”. As in previous years other highlights include students spending their entire recess running, begging “just one more lap” in PE and having students eagerly tell me about the miles they ran at home over the weekend.
Below are a few images from the first six weeks. I am looking forward to what the next four will bring.
I find this year’s umbrella project theme, “time”, to be very fitting for me personally. Time is at the forefront of my mind these days. I am acutely aware of how much time I have left until my first child’s birth. For the last nine months I have watched my belly get bigger and my running speed get slower. I am also aware that the time that lies ahead of me will be distinctly different from the previous time in my life. Much of this pregnancy I have spent reflecting on the past or looking forward.
My hope for students in PE this year is the opposite. It is my desire for them to be present in the moment verses thinking only about the past or the future. Bringing mindfulness to the body during exercise often has a way of making one present to the moment. It can be hard to focus on what might be going on later in the day when your legs and lungs are demanding your utmost attention. It is also difficult to draw awareness to your breath and think about what happened yesterday at the same time. Practicing mindfulness techniques can be a benefit in the classroom as well. Students learn how to pay attention on purpose in a particular way. It is one way to help students think about their thinking.
In addition to the movement aspect of PE, at Sabot we are blessed with the gift of expansive outdoor space. Being outside can shift your focus away from the stresses of the day to the birds overhead or the feeling of the sun on your skin. It alerts the senses and draws awareness to the body.
Don’t get me wrong, I see great value in learning from the past or setting goals for the future. But it is my desire to use exercise as a way to help students enjoy the moment that they are in.
This year’s Field Day theme was Community. Each class came as a town to visit Richmond, VA. We had visitors from Mary Land, Troy, Om Nom Nom, LaLaLand, Hillville, Ullypsis, La Seis, The Independent Republic of Swammerdamia and Las Vegas. Once they arrived in Richmond and presented their native flags they had several local attractions to visit.
Stop 1: Richmond International Raceway
Racecar drivers were transported to the track where they were dropped off at their race cars to complete 4 laps around the track.
Stop 2: Richmond Ballet
Town members danced their way to a good time!
Stop 3: James River
Town members walked on logs, hopped over rocks and paddled their way down the river.
Stop 4: Monument Ave 10k
10k runners participated in the Dress up and Run contest.
Stop 5: Downtown Y
Town members completed a strength and flexibility circuit.
Stop 6: St.Mary’s Hospital
Members of the town were responsible for delivering Renee’s baby safely home.
Stop 7: Fire Station 25 on Huguenot Road
Firefighters completed an obstacle course and carried hoses to put out the fire.
Thanks to our vounteers who braved the wet conditions. A good time was had by all!
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.