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No more couch potatoes

Catherine A. Cocchio
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“The fun factor is really important,” comments Grade 8 teacher Matt Coatsworth. “One of the favourite games is dodge ball. Students keep score by the number of times they hit the teacher with the ball. It adds a special challenge to the game.”

“Students are more productive in class. We have 40 minutes to do what we would otherwise accomplish in 60 minutes. We don’t look at it as miss- ing time from math, science or French so much as having more efficient time,” Coatsworth points out.

Students themselves have noticed a change. “I used to play a lot of vid- eos,” said Aaron L’Ecuyer, a Grade 8 student leader. “Since I joined teams, I’d rather be outside when it’s warm. In the winter I go to the Y. If I see someone standing alone, I try to ask them to join in or encourage them to do something like shoot hoops.”

The kids do lots of things that don’t necessarily involve skill or have a connection to a sport. Supervising teachers must constantly keep moving to avoid bouncing, rolling and flying balls of all sizes, turning ropes, and run- ning or jumping children playing games like hopscotch, tag and grounder.

Principal Deanna Blain says that not all the activity has to be organized by adults. “Learning how to make their own games is important. We’re painting games like hopscotch and four square on the asphalt. We’re giving booklets with game suggestions to the staff so they can introduce the games to the children.”

Grade 6 teacher, Beth Haddock  has noticed  that “There are not a lot of children complaining that they don’t know what to do any more. Boys and girls play together.” When bad weather prevented Haddock’s class from going outside for their activity break, she introduced a Tae Bo video.

For this activity students find their own space

between desks in the classroom. The only rule seems to  be  not  to  knock  over  any  plants  as they  work  up   a   sweat  following  their  video leader. “Students are more attentive after activity. They’re ready to settle and do some work at their books,” observes Haddock.

“I think the activity makes us want to go out- side and do more stuff like walk. After school I’d rather shoot hoops with friends than stay inside,” notes  Mathew  Willder,  who  is  in  Haddock’s class.

Primary division  classes each  use  an  empty classroom on indoor activity days to work out with two,10-minute  Fit Kids 

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