Q: How long have you been teaching wellness classes at Cherokee School?
MS: This year marks my 10th year teaching at Cherokee.
SC: I have been teaching wellness classes at Cherokee for 5 years.
Q: What inspired you to become a teacher?
MS: My inspiration was being able to work with kids, pursue my passion and help them learn at an early age the importance of fitness and good health. Planting the seed to enjoy fitness allows the children to carry it with them throughout their lives. I enjoy exercise in my life and am able to be a role model for what I teach.
SC: I have been involved with sports my entire life so it was a natural fit for me to teach wellness and pursue my interests. I enjoy working with the kids, they keep me feeling young!
Q: How have wellness classes changed since taking them as a student when you were a child?
MS: When I was a child, I did not have physical education classes every day. The teacher would just have us play a game. Today, as a teacher, the curriculum is carefully planned and the child's overall health is considered. Lessons are planned to involve physical and emotional health subjects. Emotional wellness topics inculde the District 67 initiative to teach kids respect, teamwork, caring, honesty, integrity and responsibility.
SC: The curriculum was skill based perviously and playing and winning the games came easy for some kids and others fell by the side. Today, the primary focus of the curriculum is fitness. We get all the kids moving and are able to engage a spectrum of skills with the goal of getting everyone involved.
Q: How do you plan the curriculum?
MS: The wellness teachers plan and work as a team across the district. We share ideas and equipment. Some of the games we play are pillow polo, scooter hockey, sports wall relays, bocce, baggo, obstacle courses, cooperative games and bowling. We usually begin wellness class with running, curl ups and push ups to fun music. Health classes are taught on Mondays. The class begins with an intoduction followed by a video and discussion. We utilize the www.brainpop.com curriculum with the emotional wellness.
SC: The units are prepared to use specific fitness based moves. Throwing, hopping and catching are skills often used across various games or sports. Some of the other skills practiced frequently in class include: twisting; getting down and up off the floor; eye-hand coordination; opposite hand/foot use; and running/jumping over a line. Then, games are initiated to utilize these skills. Often, the games are adapted to accommodate the younger kids starting their experience with wellness class and the challenge is raised for the older students.
Q: What is a "personal best" award?
MS/SC: A personal best award is given to one student per classroom at the end of each wellness class. The personal best is an acknowledgement of the student listening, using equipment properly, actively participating and being respectful. The recipient then is the line leader to direct their fellow classmates back to the classroom.
Q: What would be your health related advice for parents?
MS: To encourage your children to make healthy choices for food and exercise, everything in moderation. If you make good choices, you feel well and more confident.
SC: Allow your kids to find something fitness related they enjoy, don't force them into a sport. It could be running, biking, bowling, etc. Keep the fun in it and they will be much more likely to do it as a life skill.
Q: What are your favorite sports?
MS: I love to run! I run several times a week and have competed in 8 marathons. My husband and I both coach track and are considering running the New York Marathon in November 2009. We also enjoy watching many sports on TV and attending live sporting events.
SC: Football has been a constant in my life. I played football through college and I also coach football. I enjoy fishing. In the summer, I take my boat and fish in Wisconsin. In the winter, I fish for Northern and Crappies in Bangs Lake. I also participate in ice fishing tournaments in the winter . . . the cold does not bother me at all!