Star class: Hawthorne physical education

Published 7:31 pm Friday, January 17, 2020

For the students at Hawthorne Elementary School, it is easy for them to stay active during the cold winter months when they are in physical education class with Jeff Groth, according to a press release.  Students continue to grow and expand not only their knowledge of various sports/activities, but Groth also introduces them to new games that help promote good fitness. 

An example of that is Arctic Winter Games, a unit he learned about while teaching in Fairbanks, Alaska. It is a biennial event for athletes from arctic regions to compete against each other while encouraging social interaction and sportsmanship. Groth usually takes about seven events from the Arctic Winter Games, and, with a slight modification, sets them up throughout the gym and lets the students experience each event at their own pace.

Throughout the unit, Groth provides a history on most of the events and how they were taken from different cultures in arctic regions. For the last couple days of the unit, second through fifth grade students get the opportunity to set records for their grade level. There are three events where they get to try and set records for their grade level, and throughout the week other students can try to set a new record for that event. It creates an environment of friendly competition and the students demonstrate good sportsmanship throughout the process.

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Groth also will continue the monthly PACER tests with students. The students’ goal is to improve on their initial score in September when they first run the PACER. Students also do a monthly timed jog/run. At the beginning of the school year, Groth sets a timer for five minutes and students try to jog around the gym without walking. Each month they increase the time by one minute. If they can successfully jog the entire time without walking, they get to sign their name on a poster that hangs on the gym wall. They create a new poster each month and the majority of students enjoy getting the chance to try and have their names up on the wall, the release state. This provides an opportunity to improve the students’ ability to persevere and strengthens their cardiovascular endurance.

Around February they start a floor hockey unit. It is a unit they do with kindergarten through fifth grade and they work on stick handling, passing and shooting. Groth introduces the unit by talking about the parts of the hockey stick and how to properly hold the hockey stick. They use hard plastic sticks with each class, so they emphasize safety while using the equipment. A big point of emphasis is keeping the blade of the stick below their waist on the takeaway and follow through. Classes that demonstrate the ability to safely use the equipment often get time at the end of the unit for a game of floor hockey, where they can put together all the skills they have learned about.

It is fun to see the students working as hard as they do in physical education while also having a lot of fun. This combination allows students to keep up their cardiovascular endurance while not thinking about it, which will hopefully create a passion for being as fit as the students can be while they grow up, according to the release.