The students and staff at Holy Angels School in Newark planned to take a day off from Zoom meetings and classwork on May 8 to take part in another school staple. Instead of exercising their minds, the plan was to use the time to work the body during field day.
While the school usually has its event later in the month, it was moved to May 8 to coincide with a national event sponsored by the Open National Trainers. Physical education teacher Kathy Schnell registered Holy Angels, and the students were off and running on Friday morning.
Schnell said the website openphysed.org had about 20 activities from which students could choose. She has been emailing activity cards to families, who fill them out with the various activities their children do. The children are encouraged to do at least four of them.
“When they’re finished, they fill out a scorecard, and they send that to me, and National Field Day will give them this cool certificate,” Schnell said.
Distance learning and video meetings were nixed “to make it as much as we can a real field day event. If we were in school, it would be field day in the morning, and then there’s a picnic outside, and blow-ups, the whole nine. Our home and school association does it all up really big for the kids,” Schnell said.
“It’s not hitting the target of what a normal field day is like, but I think it’s just something really cool that we stumbled upon that the kids can do to give them that one piece of ‘normalcy.’”
All of Holy Angels’ students are invited to participate, from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. They are asked to wear their school gym uniform or some type of spirit wear, such as blue and white ribbons in their hair. Families are also invited to submit photos of their children in action; those will be displayed on the school website.
The National Field Day began the night before with a virtual torch run.
For a phys ed teacher, the school shutdown has required some changes in the way Schnell goes about her curriculum. She has done some video demonstrations for the younger grades, and she has added some subjects to her lesson plan that normally do not get too much attention.
“We don’t typically have nutrition as a separate class, but we’ve been doing some of that. With the middle school kids, we’ve been trying to figure out target heart rate, exercise heart rate. Some of those things that honestly we don’t have time in my regular curriculum to get to,” she said.
Schnell also has been distributing monthly activity logs, trying to keep her students from becoming too sedentary. One of the things she has asked them to do is chart their favorite activities, along with those they don’t like. She’s ready, however to get back to normal.
“It’s been crazy. I want my gym back!”