PE teacher Bruce Patton shares his story on how programs like Let’s Move! Active Schools and Fuel Up to Play 60 helped students become more physically active at Attica Elementary School in Attica, Indiana.
I got involved in Let’s Move! Active Schools a few years ago to start looking for ways to increase our students activity levels in and outside of school, as well as finding funding to equip our school. After getting involved with Fuel Up to Play 60, Action for Healthy Kids, and BOKs, I found myself teaching new events and finding different avenues for funding. A stipulation on one of the grants was to be a member of Let’s Move! Active Schools and after getting into their program I found ways to evaluate our schools physical activity levels and lots of resources to revamp our program.
A year after switching from a High School PE teacher to an Elementary School teacher, I began looking into grants and speaking with my Principal Dusty Goodwin about a grant through SIA Suburu in Lafayette, IN. We were looking into getting a traverse climbing wall for the gym. After receiving the grant, we now use the climbing wall during our Fall Carnival every year where students and parents can be active together.
Our evaluation basically said we needed to increase student activity during the school day and that students were not being active enough. Not too long after I had began looking into grants and avenues of getting kids active, our school Administrators decided to bring in Eric Jensen to speak to our school about Brain Based Teaching and Teaching Strategies for the Learning Brain. Although at the time I didn’t know anything about this speaker, I then later realized how big of part this would become in our students getting in-class Brain Breaks and teachers being required to have them throughout the day. I then put together a list of resources where teachers could find brain breaks and sent them out to our Elementary teachers.
Most of our students love Brain Breaks, so this year I decided that after the hit of “Whip and Nae Nae” that I would teach the students the Fitness Version during the first five minutes of class, and we would perform it at a High School Basketball game! Some teachers would even have the kids practice it during the week during class! This event was a huge success and our students did a wonderful job performing and doing the exercises.
I began to look into Fuel Up to Play 60 and the funding that would soon to open up several doors for our school. This would allow us to promote nutritional and physical activity. We have had taste testing, flavored milk sampling, and a smoothie sampling planned at the start of the year this year. This program has allowed us to do Breakfast in the Classroom throughout the year and we will be starting a walking club after school this year where students can earn incentives. They have also helped purchase other PE equipment to increase students activities, from pedometers to sports equipment. FUTP 60 has been one of the keys to success in developing my program.
In March of this year, I came across the Billion Mile Race through New Balance. I’d take the kids steps with pedometers and figure the miles or walking laps in the mornings, then add to our totals of miles. Our total miles for the three months was over 12,000! I look forward to starting it again this year. Something new that I plan on trying is the 100 Mile Club where students track their miles and we meet once a week to go on a walk/run. I would like to try adding in Pokemon Go and seeing how many steps there are between the school and the check in places in town.
Attica Elementary School administrators, staff, and students have really responded well to the program and new ideas that I have started. Sometimes I have some crazy ideas and I will just jump into them because I know the students will love them. My administrators are really supportive and offer up suggestions and ideas that will make it more successful for our students. Our staff members love to see our students have fun and be active. One of our teachers brought Peaceful Playgrounds to our school for her Principals Internship, and did lots of work on the playground.
My goal this year is to have develop more student leadership and have them help come up with ideas for our Fuel Up to Play 60 program!
About the Author
Bruce Patton has been a Physical Educator for 8 years at Attica Consolidated School Corporation – 5 years at the High School and 3 years at the Elementary School. He graduated from Indiana State University in 2005 and was recently named as the 2016 Alumni Physical Education Teacher of the Year. He currently holds several titles at his school: High Ability Coordinator, Snack Pack Coordinator, After School Enrichment Coordinator, JV Boys Basketball Coach, and Assistant Athletic Director. Over the last three years as Elementary Physical Education Teacher he has received several grants, including Fuel Up to Play 60, BOKs, and Attica Community Foundation. He also applied for his school to be featured on the Colts School of the Week two years ago and had five of his students get to attend the game and go down on the field. Bruce also took a class with the DNR to be able to borrow equipment to teach Fishing in schools.