|Thanks to teacher, Northfield students get Wii Fit|
|August 04, 2011 Doug Harris|
Northfield Elementary School
Northfield Elementary students will get an extra incentive to be physically active the coming school year with the addition of Wii are Fit class pack games and consoles: the chance to have fun. Northfield physical education instructor and grant writer Jennifer Schwartz recently learned the school was awarded a grant from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska for the game system, which will be incorporated into P.E. classes this fall.
“We have enough equipment for 32 kids to use the system in the same class,” Schwartz said. “The Wii system will be available for all 375 kids who attend Northfield. We are so thrilled to be able to implement this program into our physical education courses next year. We feel fortunate that Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Nebraska offers such grants as this, allowing us an opportunity to provide something incredibly new and exciting to our students that would not have been financially possible otherwise.”
Schwartz said the game system will be used in regular physical education classes but also used in unique motivational competitions throughout the school year. “We plan to invite local businesses to compete with the kids,” she said. “We want to hold monthly contests in tennis, bowling, dancing and other programs. The winners will get a travelling trophy. Students with the highest scores will be given charms.”
Charms, such as necklaces, are a badge of honor among the kindergarten to sixth grade Northfield students. Winners will be able to display to others which games they are most proficient at.
“We find this really motivates the kids,” Schwartz said. “Just like monthly star students get stars for doing well in their studies, we want to emphasize physical fitness too. We’ve tried smaller game systems before and they really get the kids moving. It will be great to have a full class pack. I’m very excited to get this up and going. I think the kids will be thrilled. A lot of them don’t know we’ll have this, so I hope it gets them motivated.
“This isn’t a traditional video game where kids just sit and veg out and kill zombies. The Wii Fit is designed to get kids running, jumping, jogging and balancing. We want to tread lightly on using the term video game, because this really is a fitness program. Teachers need to use whatever they can find in their bag of tricks to motivate kids, and this will be a nice avenue to do that with Northfield students.”
Schwartz noted that Scotts Bluff County is ranked second in the state regarding the health issues of obesity. She said that is a real problem the community needs to address.
“When we were kids, the old ideas of just doing sit-ups or running laps wasn’t very motivating,” Schwartz said. “The kids who were in shape probably did ok with that, but most kids weren’t very responsive to a military style approach. In my vision we can involve all the students in good physical activity. I think this system breaks the old stereotypes about video games. This will be a great addition to help keep kids active.”
A check presentation is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 12, at 10:30 a.m. inside Monument Mall. The public is invited to attend the presentation, which is part of the livewellnebraska.com tour stop that runs from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
The livewellnebraska.com tour will feature kids’ activities, contests, free health screenings and a chance to meet Rulon Gardner, an Olympic gold medalist and former Husker wrestler.
The grant from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska is one of 10 awarded this year to organizations in greater Nebraska. Celann LaCreca, vice president of community investment at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska said, “We are excited in awarding this grant to Northfield Elementary School for its commitment to building a healthier community. This is an important program that can truly make a
difference in shaping students’ healthy lifestyles.”
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