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May 16 , 2004
LEARNING FROM THE KIDS
I've wanted to be a writer for many years. In fact a while back I thought about getting my PHD, so that I could write and publish kids' math and spelling programs. I took a sabbatical and studied at the University of Connecticut. They have a quality program but during that year I realized that, for me, leaving the classroom meant I lost my base - the children. My creative ideas stemmed from working with children and seeing their needs. I returned to the classroom, all my coursework completed, but W.O.D. (without dissertation). But before I knew it, there were so many published materials around that used the same strategies and ideas that I had for math and spelling programs that I lost the interest.
This year I had my first book published, but the topic was new - fitness and nutrition. Happy Feet, Healthy Food is a sourcebook of ideas and a journal; entirely different material from my work years ago. I've been lucky to be able to use my book in the club and this week I found a way to make it come alive. We were on the "crunches" and "avacado" page.
The illustrations show a child doing crunches and the beach and a low-fat chip dipped into guacamole. We started by reading and talking about crunches.
The children pointed to their abs, showed various ways to hold their arms when doing crunches and then we decided to brainstorm. A child with a stopwatch timed us for 3 minutes as the children thought of as many places as we could to do crunches. The hands flew up: baseball diamond, in the front yard and the back, on the field, in the gym, in the classroom, at the park, in your own room, etc. With this game, the children started thinking and became completely involved.
With only 3 weeks left until our 1-K fun run, most of our sessions will be training sessions. We jogged, walked, and ran laps. On Thursday, we added a trail hike after our training session and increased out mileage while we looked for wildlife. In all the activities, the children are more able to complete the distance, follow directions. Also, on Thursday, the children chose running partners. The parent volunteers made sure that everyone had one- or two-others in their group.
It was glorious to be outside, but the weather was HOT. When we returned to the room, the children were given water bottles from the kendrickfincher.org Web site. The mission of the Kendrick Fincher Memorial Foundation is to be a leader in the promotion of health awareness and in the prevention of heat illness through education and supporting activities.
The children then got busy writing about their activities, keeping track of their time exercised that day (most had an hour in all), recording their healthy foods (John made a suggestion that EVERYONE brings a healthy snack in next week or maybe the banana split), and filling in their creative corner.
500 Mile Chart
We ended our day with another brainstorming session. One of the avacado eating suggestions is to dip low-fat chips into guacamole. We decided that we could think of healthier ways to eat the dip, so that was the task. The stopwatch was started and the hands were up again: celery, fish, apples, oranges, tomatoes, whole-wheat pitas, ... and so on until our 3 minutes were up and we had 23 foods written on our chart.
There are 3 weeks left. The children are looking with anticipation to our last day. On that day, they'll receive their Runnning Number Math yellow ribbons. We'll also be heading for a 1-K trail, after the final club session, with our families to celebrate successful completion of the club. On that day we'll run as a miles-of-math community. It's been a great spring.
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