The adventures of a fourth grade teacher in East Central Illinois.

Exhaustion is the Key

Today is Thursday and, since we are finally back on something vaguely resembling a regular schedule, it means that we had P.E. this morning. After a few weeks of lacrosse, I decided it was time to bring back some of the basic elements of the President’s Challenge physical fitness program. I wanted to focus particularly on sit-ups (or curl-ups), push-ups, and endurance running, since those are all activities that each of my students can do fairly easily and can do inside the gym.

So I led my class down to the gym, had them do some warm-ups for a few minutes, and then split them into partners. They had three minutes to do as many sit-ups as they could (one student did sit-ups while the other counted and encouraged them). Then they switched places and did it again. I had the class line up, report how many they did, then spread out with their partners again to do as many push-ups as possible in three minutes and then, just like before, they switched places. They lined up, reported their numbers, and then they all gathered in a far corner of the gym and were told to run laps around the gym for five minutes and see how many laps they could do. After reporting their numbers for a third time, I had the class sit in a circle in the gym and take turns sharing one positive thing about someone in the class. This last is something I’ve done from time to time and would like to do more often, as I think it is helpful for the class to remember to keep things positive, especially with one another!

After our P.E. time, we went to the Book Exchange and then did silent reading in the classroom. The class was quite subdued throughout the morning and even during the afternoon. Nearly everyone was working on what they were supposed to be doing, they kept focused, and they met all of our classroom expectations during the morning and the afternoon. At the end of the day, I had a thought:

Maybe having them do a bunch of sit-ups, push-ups, and running around first thing each morning is the key to decrease discipline problems! Maybe the students will just be so exhausted after their workout that they won’t have the energy to disrupt class!

Probably not. And I actually doubt that there was any correlation between the two. In fact, I really think that today was just one of those days in which the class had it all together, collectively and independently. But it is tempting to test my theory…


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