Day: June 19, 2017

Sports + Smarts

If you are a teacher and short on school resources, you must get creative and use your imagination. Money just doesn’t appear in the budget and important programs, like art, music and sports are the first to be cut. They are all vital and you must find a way to restore them on your own. You can combine music and athletic movement, for example, or art and literature. Kids can illustrate stories from their reading books. They can act them out to music. This seems like a poor substitute for sports and it is. There has always been a need for balance in education. Reducing exercise to a very short recess time is not enough to create a healthy well-rounded child.

There is nothing like sports to build self-confidence and skill. Kids are proud of even little accomplishments. They also learn discipline by being on a team and having to adhere to the rules of play and good sportsmanship. They learn to share and help one another become better. I always see an enormous improvement in behavior after a program of daily sports. Grades seem to go up naturally when kids are energized. The proof in the pudding is that sports yield smarts.

I love basketball and basketball blogs like this one and I’ve found that most kids do as well. Since there is a built-in hoop on the playground, all I needed was a smaller sized ball. The older kids regularly trained for this sport and I copied some of their movements and exercises. I just had to modify them slightly for a younger group. Their regime included stretching and reaching, knee bends, touching the toes while standing, and twisting the core. It was adorable seeing the older children side by side with the tots. It was like a twin experience. My kids got a big kick out of imitating the higher grades. In turn, the little ones inspired them to be diligent and do more. This kind of combined program enriches any school and is popular with teachers and parents alike.

I fought to make basketball training a regular part of the daily regime alongside the usual academics. A short break even makes kids concentrate better and remember the material for a longer period of time. Test scores skyrocketed, which pleased the administration. Now they are seriously considering adding sports for the younger grades to next year’s budget. I am in there touting the benefits and showing the results. I got the parents to sign a petition speaking to the necessity of a stronger exercise program. All these tactics worked. I was pleased to be called into the principal’s office where I was told to start thinking ahead. I could create some model sports lessons to share with other teachers. I might even give a talk at a general teacher’s meeting for our region. These occur once a quarter at which time new ideas are exchanged. I was more than happy to participate and share the good news. Hurray for sports in education!