Sponsored by CNC Software, Inc. and Nerac.com
March 27, 2004
When you really love to run, it's great to go out by yourself, meld with nature, and groove to your own pace, but for the new or young athlete, there is something super motivating about group exercise, particulary group exercise set to music. When you exercise as part of a group, the time passes quickly, you never feel alone, and what might, otherwise, seem like drudgery, turns into just plain FUN!
PLANNING FOR THE FIRST DAY
Having a planned agenda is a key to success. Here are some of the things that we did BEFORE the children arrived on Thursday.
1. We put a book (Happy Feet, Healthy Food), pencil, and piece of oaktag at each "place setting" (either desk or table) for the 42 children in the Thursday session.
2. We placed bins of colored pencils at various locations in the room.
3. There was a station set up with markers and labels so the children could make name tags.
4. The "agenda" was written on a chart.
5. The tasks children had to do to get ready were written on a white board.
6. Parent volunteers were recruited to run with children, pour water into small paper cups for after-exercise hydration, and to help children with journal writing and math. T-shirts were ordered in various sizes, film was loaded in the camera, walk/run music was recorded on a tape, and both Happy Feet, Healthy Food and the math worksheets were translated into Braille for a 7-year-old runner.
7. Parent notices about the option of keeping the books at home were prepared.
At 3:00 (bus time) the children began to arrive in the classroom. They had to hang up their jackets, put their belongings in cubbies, make a name tag, find a place to sit, fold the oaktag in half to use as a blotter to protect the books when they wrote, and write their names in the books. Then they were asked to peruse their new books and stay seated until all children arrived and the gym was free.
EXERCISE IN THE GYM
Our distance goal for the 10 weeks will be to run/walk a cumulative 500 miles. We should have no difficulty reaching this goal, as long as the children learn about pacing.
One way to do this is to start each exercise period, with an easy walk, move into a peppy speed walk, take some breaks for stretching, and then begin jogging. When the children are very warmed up they can break into a run.
For the faster running laps we alternated boys and girls running...just to give the kids enough space to keep them from colliding. When the girls ran, the boys got into the center of the gym and did jumping jacks, jogged in place, did crunches, and push-ups. This way, the kids stayed active and SAFE at the same time.
I was the guide runner for one 7-year old child, who ran by holding onto my wrist. It made the running more fun for me. He has boundless energy and loves to run.
BACK TO THE CLASSROOM
After a half-mile of locomotion, we headed back to the classroom for drinks, journal writing and a little math. They took turns reading the following sections of their new books: REASON TO EXERCISE, FUN FEET, PACK-A-SNACK, LEAN & FIT KIDS and they listened with RAPT attention as I went over the GOOD STUFF section which has simple and brief nutritional information.
They seemed to love the simple journaling they did in Happy Feet, Healthy Food, were VERY interested in the "TIME TRACKER" where they log the amount of time exercised, by penciling in little 10-minute blocks trying to reach the daily recommended hour, recorded a food in the HEALTHY FOOD 9-SQUARE, drew or wrote something in the WRITER AND ARTIST'S CORNER. As they did their journaling, one child was pounding away on his Brailler, composing his entry in his own log-book, "I jogged and walked 1/2 mile. I had fun."
As soon as their journaling was complete, they worked on a simple math hundred chart worksheet, while I passed out their new club T-shirts, and before we knew it the parents arrived.
It was the look of pride in the parents' eyes, when they picked their children up from the first session of Miles of Math, that was my biggest reward. I was flooded with a warm feeling and I realized that I was lucky to be given the privilege of working with these wonderful young and impressionable children. I immediately began to look forward to our next session.
First Week at Miles of Math
Second Week at Miles of Math
Third Week at Miles of Math
Fourth Week at Miles of Math
Fifth Week at Miles of Math
Sixth Week at Miles of Math
Seventh Week at Miles of Math
Eighth Week at Miles of Math
Ninth Week at Miles of Math
Tenth Week at Miles of Math