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Badminton, Boochie, and Crocodile Hop: Grants Get Students Moving at Three Pennsylvania Schools

Franklin Area School District
Franklin, Pennsylvania

Students at Franklin Area School District, located between Erie and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, returned from summer break in fall 2017 to find teachers and administrators newly energized about school wellness.

Inspired by a school wellness workshop led by Action for Healthy Kids that staff and administrators had attended in March 2017, the district had quickly gotten to work forming a district wellness committee and applying for Action for Healthy Kids Game On grants. They soon got the exciting news that three of the district’s schools – Central Elementary School, Sandycreek Elementary School, and Franklin Jr./Sr. High School – had been awarded grants funded by CSX for the 2017-2018 school year.

At Central Elementary, one of Franklin’s K-6 schools, P.E. teacher C.P. Mooney – who had stepped up to lead the district’s wellness committee and rally everyone together – put his school’s grant to use teaching golf, badminton and bowling as part of his curriculum.

“My hope is that through these activities, the population of at-risk students and their families in our school community finds ways to come closer as a family unit through physical activity,” he said.

Mooney also focused on planning events that would draw families to the school to get active together. More than 200 parents participated in the first annual Take Your Parent to P.E. Week in September, and next up is Central’s first annual healthy carnival, planned for May 2018 as a way to celebrate AFHK’s Every Kid Healthy Week.

Sandycreek Elementary, Franklin’s other K-6 school, has focused its efforts on indoor recess and nutrition.

“At Sandycreek we have many inclement weather days, and recess is held indoors more often than we’d like,” said Meghan Hiles, a learning support teacher. “Until now, students would often request to play on electronics versus being active, and physical activities were limited. Also, the idle time during our day often led to behavioral issues.”

Hiles used her grant to create indoor recess bins for teachers to share according to grade level. They include items like balance boards, activity dice, balls, ring toss and, yes, Crocodile Hop and Boochie, brand-name games that get the kids up and moving. Hiles said teachers have embraced the bins.

“My fabulous first grade students have loved having the recess box in our class,” said teacher Tina Carone. “What a lifesaver for those gloomy, dreary days that we have to spend inside!”

Sandycreek also began including daily nutrition facts on their morning announcements and then holding a poster contest to assess what students had learned. Hiles is currently planning the school’s Every Kid Healthy Week celebration: a family fitness night that will include group exercise, a yogurt parfait bar, circuit training, and GoNoodle movement and mindfulness videos.

At Franklin Jr./Sr. High School, PE and health teacher Scott Ziegler chose to use the school’s AFHK grant to purchase fitness balls and drumsticks for “fitness drumming,” a full-body workout that involves banging on walls, gym floors, exercise balls and more. His plan – to get students excited about coming to class – worked.