Monday, December 13, 2010

Hazel Grove Elementary Invites KC Wolf to Speak to Students

Last week I had the opportunity to watch an assembly at Hazel Grove Elementary. Diana Moore, their fantastic PE teacher, worked in conjunction with the PTA to hold a fundraiser to raise money to bring the Kansas City Chief's mascot KC Wolf (aka Dan Meers) to the school.

When KC Wolf appeared, the kids went absolutely bananas! They couldn't get enough--he wiggled his hips and ran up and down the aisles interacting with the students. It quickly became apparent why Dan was perfectly qualified to talk to the students about the importance of exercise and healthy eating--this guy exudes HIGH energy (uh, not to mention the 40 lbs of fur he carries around). Even after he lost the wolf costume, Dan was still very entertaining. The kids were happy to sit and listen as he talked about Play 60, a program with the NFL that encourages children to get at least 60 minutes of exercise per day.

Hazel Grove Elementary School has approximately 500 students and is in an urban and a low socioeconomic setting. They attended a PE4life Introductory Workshop in the Spring of 2010 and are doing some pretty great things. Here Diana talks about the "walking club" she recently started:

"We started the walking club after the initial PE4life training. We wanted to jump start the kids' mornings by getting in a little exercise before they head to their classroom. Our PTA jumped on board and purchased bracelets for all the students who join the club. It is open for all the students and we walk every morning, outside weather permitting, or in the gym. We occasionally have parents and other teachers walking with us! One of the neat things is when parents tell me that their kids' behavior is better than before we had the walking club before school."

Have you ever brought in a mascot or other public figure to speak to your students?
Do you have a walking club?
Do you work closely with your PTA?

We love to heart stories of your successes (and challenges). Let us know what's going on in your school and maybe we'll put you on our blog!

If you're in the KC area and want KC Wolf to make an appearance at your school check him out here.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Students Moved to Move

by Carrie Gibson, PE4life Event Manager

I was fortunate to have attended a PE4life Introductory Workshop in Des Moines, IA earlier this week. This was my first chance to see all of the exciting things we’ve got going on in Iowa and meet with some of the schools who have been awarded an Adopt-A-School Challenge Scholarship. While there were many great take-aways from my visit, I have to address the most pressing… the song that is stuck in my head!

Northview Middle School (Ankeny School District), one of the PE4life Model Sites, the very first thing I noticed was the music playing in the different PE classes. It was constant and it was invigorating! Anyone who was subjected to the music felt compelled to MOVE! Set to timed increments, the students knew that if the music was playing they should be moving. Once the music stopped, it was a transition period and time to move on to the next activity. I thought this was great as it allowed for the teacher to focus on the students individually, rather than constantly checking his watch.

While playing four on four field hockey, the teams that weren’t competing were on the sidelines doing arm curls with resistance bands – constant movement, maximizing class time for each student. And then it happened – The Cupid Shuffle blasted through the speakers. Regardless of where they were in the gym – kids (and teachers) began busting a move. Now I’m not sure if you’re familiar with this song. I wasn’t. But after a mad internet search, I’ve been introduced to this contagious line dance called The Cupid Shuffle, and am singing it over, and over, and over…

Now when I was in junior high, I’d say I was pretty normal. I was a bit awkward and a little unsure of myself as I was growing into my body – and I was definitely aware of and avoided most situations where I could make a fool of myself. What struck me about these students is that they felt free enough and compelled enough to dance and move around, without fear of criticism. The music literally moved them. They were being active at their own will and having fun doing it.

Not only was I inspired by what I saw, the school districts who attended the workshop left committed to adding music to their programs. So...

Do YOU play music during your class?
What kind of music gets the best response from your students?
Do YOU dance with your kids like the teachers at Northview Middle School?
What equipment and tools do you use for adding music to your classroom?

Check out The Cupid Shuffle:

Learn how to teach your students the Cupid Shuffle (it is super easy) and other
line dances here at