Walk or Bike to School Day – YEAR 2

November 16, 2009 at 7:04 pm | Posted in Physical Activity - After School, Physical Activity - Before School | Leave a comment

Our building wellness committee received a walk to school grant from Ohio Department of Transportation this fall, and with it we organized another all-school one day event, but more importantly, 10 walking school buses!

wtsRiver Landings River Movers

Walking School Bus - the "River Landings River Movers" THIS GROUP IS CONTINUING TO WALK!


"Bike Train"

Here’s an article that sums it all up: WTS press coverage 1109, or see a live video clip of our school town meeting here: http://www.snponline.com/articles/2009/11/11/hilliard_northwest_news/schools/hlwalking%20_20091110_0344pm_3.txt

wts bus Wildcat Walkers

Walking School Bus, the "Wildcat Walkers"

Here’s the details:      With a $1,000 Walk to School grant from the ODOT SRTS, the wellness committee planned to recruit and train eight walking school bus leader-parents to walk a total of 40 children to school in September 2009.  After a request for interested parent leaders was sent home with all 510 students, parent leaders attended a two-hour educational session to hear about pedestrian safety and discuss relevant safety concerns with the city traffic engineer and a city police officer.   The initial goal was exceeded with a total of 10 walking school buses/bike trains formed, with a total of 75 students committing to walk as a group to school at least four times during the month of October. At least three of the walking school buses have plans to continue walking once a week through November.    A poster in the center hallway has been tracking their progress, along with photos of each walking school bus/bike train. An all-school assembly was held in November 5th to acknowledge the student walkers and parent leaders, and the group goal they will reach upon walking at least 4 times as a group during October:  $400 of grant money will be given to the library for new books.  T  o our astonishment, Olympic gold medal winner Butch Reynolds came to the assembly, offered his congratulations, and asked us to continue walking next spring.  He said he would come back  with a prize for everyone if we set a goal, and achieved it!

butch reynolds and walking buses

Olympic Athlete Butch Reynolds with walkers/bikers Butch Reynolds addressed the kids Walking Bus, the "Badboyz Batman"

Add Stencils to Playground for recess and classroom use!

September 17, 2009 at 7:58 pm | Posted in Physical Activity - After School, Physical Activity - Before School, Physical Activity - During School | Leave a comment

If you have seen a USA map painted on a playground surface, you have seen one small piece of an inexpensive option that can get students more active both during recess and during classroom time.  

Peaceful Playgrounds Stepping StonesI first became aware of these options when talking with my child’s elementary principal who said she had purchased the USA and World maps and was waiting for the district to resurface our playground before having it painted.  So finally, last summer it was finally our school’s turn for surface updating, and this summer we organized a group of parents to paint not only the USA map from URSA that was purchased long ago, but also “Peaceful Playgrounds” recess kit, that the principal more recently purchased.  Doing a quick check, I realized there are several companies out there that supply these stencils, all at a minimal cost, compared to that of standard playground equipment that PTO/PTA’s struggle to raise money to afford. 

Pam painting the number grids
Our artsy parent Pam painting the number grids


Balance Beam Snake - in Buckeye colors of course...

Balance Beam Snake - in Buckeye colors of course...

Here are some companies who supply instructions/stencils for active learning (If you know of others, please comment!)


So, because we actually used the Peaceful Playgrounds stencils,  I’m partial to Peaceful Playgrounds because of the wonderful activity books and training that accompanies the whole thing for the teachers.   It also comes with sample press releases, specific instructions and fabulous customer service to answer those last minute painting questions!    In addition, there is a whole structure of conflict resolution that goes along with the stencils to promote less arguing, less bullying and reduced injuries. Sure, you may be able to “wing it” and paint some of these yourselves, but don’t forget the most important piece is that each one of these has many many options for learning and integrating into the classroom.  I’ve known other schools who have a group of boy scouts come in and paint something and then leave – not giving the recess aides or  teachers any idea of how to integrate into learning!   I’m not sure what the other companies offer, but I can say nothing but kudos to Melissa Bossenmeyer for developing Peaceful Playgrounds!

We had a total of 23 parents and two staff come out and help -even on those warm August evenings when black pavement was the last place you would want to sit!

Stasi painting the multiuse circle

Stasi painting the multiuse circle

Students learn rules to be used during recess during p.e. class

 When school started, the kids were so excited to see the new stencils. The physical education teachers incorporated teaching the rules of the games into his regular playground safety session, which they  do every year withall the classes. Binders with the games rules and classroom integration ideas were placed in the staff lounge for teachers to see.   The wellness committee is organizing parents to help sew bean bags, which are needed for some of the games.  Next step – Guidance counselor integrates conflict resolution recess during her classroom  lessons, trains peer mediators.  Ideally we’d like to organize a teacher inservice to learn more about integrating into math, spelling, etc lessons!   We will see if there is a difference in the number of nurse’s visits during recess this year vs. last.

USA Map was fun to paint - kids could help with this one!

USA Map was fun to paint - kids could help with this one!

 Are you updating or wondering about the safety of a playground?    Great ideas on www.playgroundsafety.org!


Playground Dedication - during PTO pancake breakfast - we encouraged parents to come out and play with their kids!


Posted by Mary Chace, chace1220@sbcglobal.net   11/16/09

Resources for Classroom Energizers

September 17, 2009 at 7:13 pm | Posted in Physical Activity - During School | Leave a comment

The following information is from Columbus Public Health Department’s monthly eletter, which is a free monthly publication for the school community.  Each month focuses on a timely topic, and features grant and workshop opportunities in central Ohio . For more information, E-mail or call Jen Morel at Columbus Public Health, Office of Health Planning jemorel@columbus.gov 614-645-6055.  To view past issues of Health & Nutrition Flash, visit our website at: www.publichealth.columbus.gov/resources/Health_and_Nutrition_Flash.asp



Health & Nutrition Flash

GOOD HEALTH…A Basic Foundation for Teaching and Learning
September 2009

Welcome Back! Students are Ten Minutes Away from Stronger Minds and Bodies!


Without a doubt, students will need time to re-adjust to the classroom schedule and being inside for the majority of the day. You can help them adjust to the new routine by building ten minute physical activity breaks during the day. These quick and fun breaks will get students through the mid-morning or afternoon slump, improve overall concentration, behavior, and academic performance, and will increase the time students spend “on-task” (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation).


Several Central Ohio school districts have asked teachers to begin incorporating health and wellness programming into their curriculum each week. There are several resources available that can help teachers promote wellness and physical activity such as:


Energizers- Energizers are classroom based physica activities that integrate physical activity with academic concepts which are already being taught. They are tailored for elementary and middle school grade levels, and there are over 45 energizers that can be used in K-5 curriculum. There are Energizers for healthful living, language arts, math, music, science and social studies for middle school students. Teachers can download or order free copies of the energizers by visiting http://www.ncpe4me.com/energizers.html.


Take 10!- The Take 10! program is another physical activity-based classroom program for Pre-K children and elementary school students. It was created by teachers and integrates academic learning objectives, such as math, social studies, language arts, science, and health with age appropriate movement. The program comes with a teacher toolkit and resources. To learn more about the Take 10! Program, visit http://www.take10.net.


Other ideas to incorporate more physical activity into the school day include:

• Have students get up and stretch, jump or dance for five minutes between subjects.

• Start or end each day with ten minutes of activity such as stretches or aerobic activities.

• Give students pedometers to help them track their steps throughout the school day.


Encourage students to walk or run extra steps during recess.

• Reward students with physical activity by having extra recess, dancing to music in the

classroom for a few minutes or allowing students to earn other extra physical activity time for

good behavior during the week.

• Use classroom parties as on opportunity to dance, hold relays, offer active scavenger hunts

or challenge another classroom to an activity.

• Use lessons that integrate physical activity across all content areas (such as Energizers and Take 10!).

Funded by the Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and admnistered by the Ohio Department of Health, Bureau of Health Promotion and Risk Reduction, Cardiovascular Health Program. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the CDC. 




Walk or Bike to School Day

March 18, 2009 at 7:18 pm | Posted in Physical Activity - Before School | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , ,
Student holding signs the classes made for the day

Students holding signs the classes made for the day

The Norwich Elementary wellness committee hosted a “Walk to School” day on International Walk to School Day, October 8th.    See flyer that went out to parents if you like by clicking on the following link…..

walktoschooflyereventdetails   Unfortunately it rained prettty heavily that morning, so the principal sent a computerized message by phone that morning that it was cancelled.  But thankfully, they had planned ahead and scheduled a rain date!

Hilliard Mayor, DARE police officer, city traffic engineer and firefighters led the way!

Firefighters, Mayor, City traffic engineer, and DARE police officer led the way.

So, the next week, on Thursday, Oct 16, students walked from home, met at friends houses to walk, and some who live too far to walk, met at the high school that was 1 mile from Norwich Elementary to walk together.  The group that walked together were greeted by the mayor, the Hilliard city traffic engineer, the DARE police officer that coordinates the 4th and 5th grade drug resistance program, and a whole slew of fire fighters with their trucks!  A parent who is also a fitness instructor led some warm up exercises and got the kids excited for the 1 mile walk down to their school.

Signs and balloons were posted along the way, givng information about how far they’ve walked, and K-3rd graders made signs of encouragement.  100_0748Parent volunteers who normally walk to school were recruited to station themselves at the school with hand clicker counters to count the number of student participants.  Parents who participated were encouraged to sign up inside the school for a raffle of 3 $50 gas/grocery cards as a token of appreciation and to raise awareness of how much gas can be saved if our entire school would walk for a day!  On the raffle sign up table were numerous publications on pedestrian safety, driving tips on roundabouts (there are several new ones in the area), bicycle safety, etc.   During the week, age-appropriate publications were given through the classroom teachers, courtesy of Ohio Department of Public Safety.
With nearly 300 students walking or biking to school that day, they reached their goal of 40% student participation, and students were awarded new recess equipment to help them be more physically active.100_0760; which included hula hoops, foamie frisbees, hippity hops, and oversized bodyballs.
To evaluate this effort, the committee decided to do some measurements before this day, do one more walk to school day in the spring, and then repeat the measurements.   The number of bikes in the bike racks were counted, and the number of cars dropping off students each morning will be assessed before and after these events.  A parent survey was also given to all those who entered the raffle, and the summary was given to the city traffic engineer.  For the survey summary, click on walk-to-school-surveyresults.
Many of these ideas were obtained from www.walktoschool.org – check it out! 

Fitness Friday!

April 29, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Posted in Physical Activity - After School, Physical Activity - Before School, Physical Activity - During School, Physical Activity - One Time Challenge Course | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , ,

How Buckeye Valley East Elementary incorporates physical activity before school.

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Lisa Seely, Buckeye Valley’s PE teacher has come up with a fabulous idea… Fitness Friday!  It is held once a month on Friday mornings before school.  Lisa came up with an idea to set up 17 different physical activity stations in the gymnasium for the kids to enjoy before school.  The kids have such a blast and as it turned out so do some parents!  She has had regular attendance from 1 dad who is off work on Fridays.  He has attended every Fitness Friday and does all the stations with his son and his friends.  Other parents have also joined in on the fun with their kids.

Her stations include:

  1. Hula hoop
  2. Jump rope
  3. 1 pound weights
  4. Plank
  5. Jump over the pole
  6. Medicine ball twist
  7. Scooter around the cone
  8. Climbing wall
  9. Partner push up (high five partner)

10.  10 mountain climbers & crab walk around cone

11.  Bicep curl with resistance bands

12.  Leg squats

13.  Bicycle sit up

14.  Lunge the width, jog the length of the gym

15.  Jog the steps, walk down

16.  Bear crawl around cones

17.  Agility ladder drills

To implement the activity Lisa set up her iPod through a radio and about every minute she blows a whistle & the kids move to the next station. As a prize for the kids, they get a foot charm they put on their shoelaces!

These are just a few examples; you could set up any activity you think the kids would enjoy.

Buckeye Valley East Elementary received a Zone 8 mini-grant which helped purchase some of the equipment for the stations. Other ideas for implementing a Fitness Friday without a mini-grant include asking for a $1 donation per class, ask the PTO/PTA to help purchase equipment, or borrow PE equipment.

4th and 5th grade students help promote fruits and veggies!

February 6, 2010 at 5:39 pm | Posted in Nutrition Focus: Fruit and Vegetable Challenges | Leave a comment

This is our fourth year of monthly fruit and vegetable tastings at Norwich Elementary, which was coined “Take A Taste Thursday” by one of our more marketing-saavy parent volunteers… 

We Want YOU! to try Spinach and Kiwi

 We are incredibly fortunate to have our school district  food service provider, Aramark, provide us with free samples of a fruit and vegetable each month for sampling during lunch.  Each month we recruit parent volunteers to help hand out the foods from among those who signed up on the intial PTO volunteer form that they would be interested in helping with health and wellness projects.  We do have data from parent surveys that this project has helped influence the willingness to try new foods at home, and has actually changed the buying habits of our parents. 

It has been a joint effort between the Aramark Food Service and the wellness committee, in that we make sure each tasting includes letting the parents know it’s happening, giving the teachers fact sheets to go along with each fruit and vegetable the day of the tasting so they can talk about it in their classrooms, and now we are thrilled to have 

Kiwi Man "braves" trying spinach.....and likes it!

the assistance of the Norwich News Team, which are 4-5th graders, led by teachers Stephanie Miles, Patty Gast, and our technology teacher Bill Wheeler.   Each week they produce a weekly news show that keeps the students up on all the latest goings on at the school, and is aired each Friday.  This month, they have created a “commercial” about the upcoming tasting, which will be kiwi and spinach leaves, tossed with a light raspberry vingarette. 

This is, of course, fun and light entertainment for everyone.  The students producing the commercial are learning technical, dramatic and media skills.  The younger students see their older peers doing positive activities in a fun way, but on top of all the fun there is also some seriously good things happening here.    Did you know that data from a recent study from Yale’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity reported that the average preschooler sees 642 television ads per year just for unhealthy cereal?   If you want to read more, click here:  20091026execsummary.   Our kids are constantly bombarded in all environments by persuasive messages that encourage poor choices.    Have you seen the Reese’s Rap?  Talk about cool, catchy and persuasive!     You can You Tube it, we don’t even want to use up precious blog byte space to embed it here! 

 There is no way we can come close to the influence that large companies with million dollar marketing budgets have to influence youth and their choices, but every little step we can do in our own individual environments to help our children see the other side of the equation is a step in the right direction.  Kudos to the Norwich News Team and the teacher-advisors! 

Click on this link to view the video file:   http://docs.google.com/leaf?id=0B058k-kFI10cZjY1ZmYyNTMtOWYwZS00ZGJjLTlkMTMtNWNmZTE1ZDlkZmU1&hl=en 

submitted by Mary Chace, parent and wellness committee chair at Norwich Elementary chace1220@sbcglobal.net

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