We’re seeing lots of smiles in the gym, and not just because the masks are gone. There are lots of old and new favorites in PE this year. For one thing, our new gym features a volleyball court, where student play with actual volleyballs, beachballs, and even a giant Ominkin ball. Four Square was such a popular game in PE that we made courts in the yard and on the roof to enjoy during lunch and free times. Also new this year is the game Cones for Time, the object of which is to knock down or pick up cones as fast as possible, using a different body part each round. The students love to cheer each other on. Back this year is the ever-popular PACER test, in which students run back and forth across a 20-meter space at a pace that gets progressively faster. (Faculty and staff have gotten in on this, too, and are looking for someone to beat Franziska’s high score.)
PE teachers Megan Marco, John Stimson, and Taryn Turner (who filled in for John while he was on leave) know that exercise and smiles aren’t the only goals in PE. PE improves attention, academics, and relationships, while improving mood and reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression. It also encourages students to engage with their peers and support teammates, recognize their emotions, and learn how to work through failures and successes—all while having FUN!