Schools find wiggle room in PE mandate

Fourth graders act out vocabulary words such as bewildered, marvel and reminded at a Rochester school, reports the Democrat and Chronicle. To teach number placement, Michael Ram has students change order in a line.

“There’s always an opportunity to get them moving,” said  Ram, who even taps into the transition time between lessons for physical activity.

The district laid off most of its PE teachers to save money, then told classroom teachers to meet the state requirement of 120 minutes of physical activity weekly for K-6 students. Some try to integrate movement with academic lessons, while others schedule breaks for Wii athletics or Dance Dance Revolution.

Rather than passing out lesson materials, Wendy O’Rourke organizes materials at stations throughout the room and has her students walk around to collect them. During a reading lesson this week, O’Rourke equips each of her students with a Velcro mitt and has them sit in groups tossing a ball to each other every time she says the word toss. She hopes this will not only help her students pay attention so that they listen for the word, but keep them moving.

It’ll never replace jumping jacks, but might make lessons more engaging, writes The Quick and the Ed.

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  1. Deirdre Mundy says:

    Why not just add an extra half hour of recess every day and mandate games like “Sharks and Minnows?” The posh montessori school one town over has a HUGE amount of recess–kids are expected to dress for the weather and they go outside every day, rain or shine, hot or cold. I don’t see why the elementary school has to get all cutesy— you don’t need a special degree to run a kickball game or lead the class in calisthenics or yoga!

  2. until schools had PE, art and music teachers, there was recess and playtime at lunch (for ES) and art and music were covered by the regular teachers. In my case and that of my DH, it was mostly art history and music appreciation (classical, jazz, dixieland etc – on records!) but they were taught as part of history. We also learned to sing the American folk and patriotic songs. In the schools my kids attended, PE became torture for athletic kids and there was no art history or music appreciation at all; art and music teachers were only interested in performance.