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Physical Education Teachers Find Silver Linings In Remote School Environment
Before the break, Pound Ridge Elementary physical education teacher Craig Henley and Mount Kisco Elementary physical education teacher Melissa Ponzio joined forces — and classes. The teachers used the power of Google Meet to connect second graders from different schools for an active, giggle-filled gym class.
Henley and Ponzio taught the class from Mount Kisco Elementary School’s Wellness Center with Mount Kisco students in-person while Pound Ridge students connected from home.
“We thought it would be a great way for students within the district to meet one another and possibly make new friends,” Coach Henley said.
The class started out with a Tabata workout, with students doing jumping jacks, ski jumps, shoulder touches and squats. Students at home could see their peers in Mount Kisco and teachers cast the Google Meet to the smartboard so Mount Kisco students could see the students at home.
After the warm-up, which was full of energy and laughter, teachers led students through a series of getting to know you-type games. First they did a game Coach Ponzio calls Bop or Flop. Teachers played a song for ten seconds. If students liked it, it was a bop and they did jumping jacks. If they didn’t like it, it was a flop and they did ski jumps instead. Some songs, like “Who Let the Dogs Out,” saw overwhelming agreement (it was a bop). Others were more evenly split. The result was a lot of bouncing around and giggling while students looked to see what their friends thought of each song.
Next, students took part in a school versus school rock-paper-scissor battle. A representative from each school would face off with their counterpart for a round of the classic hand gesture game. The winner got to choose an exercise the other school had to do, like five pushups or planks.
To wrap it all up, they played a This or That game that was similar to the earlier round of Bop or Flop. Coach Henley gave students two options (like beach or pool, pizza or cheeseburger). If students preferred the first option, they did jumping jacks. If they preferred the second, they did ski jumps.
While the class was not without technical difficulties, teachers and students persevered. They were the first physical education classes in the district to try something like this.
“Even with our technical difficulties, I think they had a good time,” Coach Ponzio said. Students’ bright smiles and energetic waves were proof.