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The Daily Tar Heel

P.E. Games, Festivities Await Seawell Students

By Kim Perry

Staff Writer

With Halloween costumes and music, physical education teachers at Seawell Elementary School are using holiday fun to show students the importance of what is being learned in the classroom.

During gym classes from Monday through Wednesday, students participated in Halloween Stations, where they could earn tickets by running laps or long jumping. They then used those tickets at different stations around the gym to play games.

This year, students could choose from activities such as rope swinging through a "snake pit" and dancing at "Franky's Monster Mouth."

"It's just a way to tie into the novelty of (Halloween)," said Sherry Norris, the school's physical education teacher. "In different years, we do different things. We've had a maze before, a giant bubble for the kids to go inside and a spider web to crawl through."

Norris said she thought of the idea about 24 years ago as a way to incorporate math into physical education and has been doing the activity ever since.

Michelle Wood, another P.E. teacher at Seawell, said she thought the students enjoyed earning tickets the most.

"Some kids spend so much time earning tickets that they don't have enough time to play the games," Wood said.

Several students agreed and said getting to use their tickets for the other activities was the best part of the class.

"I like when you swing on the rope," said Eli Powell, a second-grade student.

Both Norris and Wood said they feel that watching the students having to think and apply basic math skills was the most rewarding part of the activity.

"I had a kindergarten class in here today," Wood said. "They were just learning counting."

Norris said integrating curriculum and reinforcing basic concepts learned in the classroom, especially through things like physical education, helps children learn and develop.

"What they can't learn in the classroom, sometimes they can learn in here," Norris said. "If they can somehow make a connection here and take it back to the classroom, it helps."

As students ran from station to station, some in their Halloween costumes, they seemed to be having more fun than anything else. "When children can do things that they like to do, it motivates them," Norris said. "They're getting a really good workout, and they don't even know it."

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