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Are you ready to get all your students really moving at recess?  At our school, we have Walking Club.  
An outdoor recess activity for elementary school students to get them up and moving!
They receive a punch card, to keep track of the miles that they walk.  Then, at recess time, the students walk laps around the field in our play area.  We have a parent volunteer stand at one of the corners of the field, with a fun-shaped hole punch.  As the students walk by, the volunteer punches a hole in their card.  Four punches (or laps) is equivalent to one mile.
An outdoor recess activity for elementary school students to get them up and moving!

An outdoor recess activity for elementary school students to get them up and moving!
Students also bring their cards to gym class.  For every mile that they walk, the receive a colorful foot token to add to their keychain.  They are so proud of their growing collection!

Depending on the availability of volunteers, Walking Club usually takes place 1-2 times a week during recess in the warmer months.  Students can choose to participate when they want.  They are responsible for bringing their own card with them to both recess and to gym class.

Some students walk, while others run laps.  Some walk by themselves, while others walk with a partner or group of friends.  Some students participate every week, while others only do it a few times each session.  Some walk the entire recess, while others do a few laps before heading to the playground.  It's a very open-ended program!

Not only are students getting more exercise, but it significantly cuts down on (behavior problems) and injuries at recess time.  Walking Club is an simple program to implement, but has powerful impacts!
Cold winters can make recess difficult. This fun alternative will make indoor recess more fun for your students!
I don't know about where you are, but here in New England, our winters are cold and snowy.  This means that we often have indoor recess or, if we do go outside, it's not terribly fun.

Our PTF (parent-teacher forum) came up with the idea of a Recess Program.  Students are given a list of a variety of activities that will take place during recess.  They choose the top 3 activities that they are interested in attending.  The PTF then goes through the forms and places each student in one of their top choices.  The program runs once a week, for about 6 weeks.


This is an optional program, students are not required to participate.  Normal recess takes place while the program is going on for students who choose not to go.  However, if students sign up, they are expected to attend each time. 


The program uses volunteers from the community, who come in during all recess times.  They set up in empty rooms or spaces around the school.  The activities vary each year, based on the skills of the volunteers.  


Here are a few of the activities that students can choose from:


Legos - Lego blocks are donated by the community.  Students are able to build structures to their heart's content!
Cold winters can make recess difficult. This fun alternative will make indoor recess more fun for your students!
Yoga - An instructor comes in to teach students a variety of yoga moves.  Students are reminded to wear comfortable clothes/shoes on recess program day!
Cold winters can make recess difficult. This fun alternative will make indoor recess more fun for your students!
Karate - Similar to yoga, an instructor comes to share different karate moves for students to learn.  Again, they are encouraged to wear comfortable clothes and shoes.

Sign Language/Foreign Language - a volunteer who is fluent in a foreign language shares their knowledge with the students.  They usually do just basic vocabulary, but the kids love this one!  They are always excited to share their new words with me.

Art - this session can take two forms.  Sometimes it is structured, where the parent volunteer plans crafts for the students to create.  Other times, it is open-ended and the students are able to just draw.
Cold winters can make recess difficult. This fun alternative will make indoor recess more fun for your students!
All of the materials are either donated by the community or use the funds raised by PTF.  Students are not charged any money to participate in this program.

It is a great program to mix things up during the doldrums of cold winters!

Time for some tough love here.  Being a student teacher isn't for the faint of heart.  It will be a busy semester (or year), but you will learn SO much!  The more you put into it, the more you will get out of it.  Hopefully, you'll even get a job out of it!  Here are some tips to make the most of your student teaching experience.

1. Dress professionally 
I can't stress this one enough.  Student teaching is your "job" right now and you need to dress the part.  
Guys - wear a tie, a button down shirt, dress pants and no sneakers!  
Ladies - clothing shouldn't be too low cut or tight (leggings are not pants!), shoes should be dressy, but comfortable (I don't recommend really high heels).

You are going to be working on the floor with students and walking around a lot, so you need to be comfortable, but you also need to be professional.  You should not have a coffee cup in your hand or a cell phone.  For some of the staff in the building, the only interaction you will have is seeing them in the hall.  You want them to have a good first impression of you.

2. Ask questions
Your cooperating teacher is there to help you.  Ask questions if you aren't sure about something or want to know more.  If a teacher has been in the profession for many years, they may forget what it's like to have never been in a classroom before.  Use this opportunity to learn as much as possible about teaching.  

Sometimes your cooperating teacher just isn't open to helping you (it happens).  Seek out another staff member in the building for help if you need to.

3. Be prepared
Actually, be over-prepared.  Have your lessons ready.  Make sure all your materials are ready to go.  Have a back-up in case your lesson doesn't go as planned.  Because...well...rarely do things go as planned in a classroom!  

You will feel more confident if you are truly ready and it will show in your teaching.  Your cooperating teacher is watching (and possibly your professor or even your principal).

4. Be on time
Always, always be on time.  Maybe even a tad early.  Again, you are trying to make a good impression.  Staff members are aware of when you walk into the building each day.   If you are late once, people don't notice.  If you are late once a week, it's pretty obvious.

Yes, there will be a time or two when you have a flat tire or are stuck in traffic.  Make sure you let your cooperating teacher or the office know.  Remember, when you are a teacher, there are 30 little bodies waiting in the hallway for you to show up each day.  Being late is not an option!

Don't go crazy, though.  You don't need to show up at 6am if school doesn't start until 9:00.  You'll be tired before the day even starts!

5. Get involved!
Go to the book fair.  Take part in the staff basketball game.  Volunteer to join a committee.  You'll have fun hanging out with other staff and your students will be excited to see you. Every thing you do will give you a glimpse into what being a teacher is all about!

*Bonus Tip*
Have fun!  As I mentioned before, student teaching is what you make of it.  It can be stressful and overwhelming at times, but it's also a great experience.  Smile, laugh and enjoy learning about being a teacher!

Do you have a student teacher this year?  I have some tips for you!  Hop on over to this post to learn more.
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