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!


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


Posted by Mary Chace,   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 614-645-6055.  To view past issues of Health & Nutrition Flash, visit our website at:



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


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


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. 




Who knew? Wisconsin Cheesehead hats put to good use!

July 27, 2009 at 5:37 pm | Posted in Nutrition focus: Dairy Challenges | Leave a comment
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Chris cheesehead


Dairy challenges can be alot of fun – there are so many ways to engage students with positive messages about nutrition!  Here we see Westerville City Schools dietitian Chris Baumann answering questions during a free cheese tasting during lunch – students were offered three types of of cheese cubes and asked to vote on their favorite at Pointview Elementary. 

  Classroom teachers were offered the option and provided with age-appropriate, hands on classroom activity lessons on calcium and the importance of nutrient dense calories.      This challenge was done during the last week of school when teachers are often looking for some fun activities to round out the year and hit those last few standards.   A fifth grade class drew a graph that displayed the results of the voting and posted it the last day of school in the cafeteria.  Parents were sent home an informational flyer about the dairy challenge and also about the importance of dairy, or high calcium foods for those who may be lactose intolerant.   To add to the excitement, posters like this cheesetasting poster were posted around the school a few days before.

Wisconsin Cheesehead hats in Ohio?  Why not?

Wisconsin Cheesehead hats in Ohio? Why not?

Look at these lovely ladies who encouraged students to sample cheeses and cast a vote for which they liked best – “Your vote ‘cow-nts’ with us!”
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