Valerie Anderson’s West Elementary class likes to play a game called “Bulldog.” It’s a game similar to tag and can be played in the gym or on the playground. It involves a lot of running.
“One day they invited me to play it with them, and I had so much fun,” Anderson said. “I also noticed that many students that had been spending recess sitting, joined in the game, too. I’ve decided that I’m going to play it with them a few times a week because it gets so many students up and running.”
Anderson and two other teachers — Michelle Fausett of Northlake Elementary and Amy Burge of Stansbury Park Elementary — were honored by Live Fit Tooele County Coalition for their work to help improve student health and wellness during the final quarter of the school year.
In addition to utilizing the “Bulldog” game, Anderson encouraged her students to get their heart rates up.
“We went to the gym each bathroom break and ran a few laps,” Anderson said. “I’ve also encouraged students to get a good night’s rest each night.”
Fausett used dance videos to get her students moving and to reward them for good behavior in the classroom.
“I used exercise videos for children when we could not go outside during heavy rain conditions,” Fausett said. “ I also sent them outside for morning playtime prior to the day beginning rather than allowing them to wait in the classroom until bells ring for school to start.”
The class also talked about the importance of hospital visits and good hygiene practices.
“We have also discussed how to react to coughs and sneezes when in a setting with other people and the importance of washing hands after doing these things ourselves,” Fausett said.
Burge said the final quarter involved a change in routine to add physical movement for her students throughout the day.
“The change in routine was refreshing for the kids and for me,” Burge said. “They liked moving around and it helped them re-focus when it was time to start learning again.”
She added, “My class learned that getting exercise before school starts is a great way to start the day. My class went outside when they arrived for school for 15-20 minutes of exercise.”
Burge’s class also focused on healthy snacks, which included sampling a variety of fruits.
“I usually read them information about the fruit we were having and we had a short discussion and then sampled the fruit,” Burge said.
“This term I made it my personal challenge to get the kids moving more during lessons and learning time,” she added. “While doing math, we marched while counting to 100 by tens. We said the alphabet while we did movements to go along with it. Even our sight word songs had movement with them. We sang and moved while learning them. During transition times, we hopped like a bunny to our seats, or we galloped like a pony. Anything to incorporate more movement was my goal for the term.”
Winners were selected by the Live Fit Tooele County Coalition. They each received a $100 gift card and recognition in their classrooms.