With the recent decision to close NJ schools for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year due to COVID-19, school districts have implemented ways to creatively keep remote learning both informative and engaging.
Most recently, the district’s students have been learning about the importance of health and physical fitness and how to balance screen time with playful activities they can do while at home. Introducing a virtual field day was the perfect way to reinforce their lessons.
“One of our PE teachers brought the idea to a department meeting and shared the OPEN resources with our group,” said Director of Curriculum and Instruction Danielle Magulick. “We reviewed everything as a team and decided this was a great opportunity to celebrate wellness in a special way with a district-wide event. It also allowed us to keep an important tradition for our students and staff as each school typically holds an annual field day in June. Everyone loves field day, and since we can’t be together on the field, we found the next best option.”
Students and their families were encouraged to participate in at least four events from the 22 offered. Some options included the Penguin Race, Spoon Relay, Paper Plane Corn Hole, and Keep it Up. Leading up to the field day, the district’s Physical Education teachers modeled different events as part of their weekly lessons. They filmed or showed tutorial videos for students to ensure they knew how to play each event. Schools shared video clips in different ways, some involving other staff modeling events during morning announcements, others getting their student council involved to create a video that encouraged and had them model a few favorites for schoolmates.
Families also shared photos and videos from the day with their school to commemorate the occasion. In an email to the school, the Folmer family said “The scavenger hunt was the favorite! We did that one for over an hour!”
The principals reported at a virtual meeting the following Monday about the success of the event and the enjoyment evident from the various responses that came from students and parents alike. “These are certainly challenging times, we are proud of everyone’s efforts not just in the remote learning process but in working together to bring special events such as field day to our students,” said Magulick. “Not only that, but field day served as a great reminder on the importance of taking time to step away from your screen and focus on movement and play.”