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â€˜Reindeer Rallyâ€™ focuses students on good health
Al and Martha Johnson, dressed as Santa and Mrs. Claus, lead Collinsville Primary students around the school during the Reindeer Rally. (Bulletin photo by Ashley Jackson)
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
By ASHLEY JACKSON - Bulletin Staff Writer
The holidays can be tough on the waistline, so students at Collinsville Primary School are learning about ways to stay healthy at Christmas and all year long.
On Monday, the students took part in the Reindeer Rally, a first-time event designed to promote healthy lifestyles.
The event was organized by Clay Henson, physical education teacher at Collinsville Primary, and second-grade teacher Pat Nevins. During the rally, students walked a mile around the outside of the school, led by Santa and Mrs. Claus.
Henson organized the rally because he thought it would be a "fun way for the kids to exercise" and bring the entire school together, he said.
In the weeks leading up to the rally, Henson talked to the students about healthy eating habits, school guidance counselor Phillip Byrd spoke to them about making smart decisions other than eating, school librarian Joan Haynes read books to all students about reindeer, and art teacher Chris Frazier worked with students to construct reindeer headbands.
The students wore their headbands during the walk. Afterward, the school's food and nutrition staff provided carrots or apples for snacks.
Second-grader Sheridan Chaney enjoyed the "reindeer food," or carrots. "I asked my teacher for another one," she said.
Henson said it is important to give the students carrots instead of candy canes.
"We are trying to get them to eat" healthy even though it is hard to do, he added.
Sheridan enjoyed the walk because the whole school got to go outside and "see Santa and Mrs. Claus," she said, adding that she was excited when Mrs. Claus gave her a hug.
As they walked around the school, students sang their favorite Christmas songs, such as "Jingle Bells" and "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer."�
The singing got Sheridan in the Christmas spirit, but then again, "I'm always in the Christmas spirit," she said.
The event's purpose was to show the approximately 300 students in pre-kindergarten through second grade that "exercise can be fun" and not hard or difficult, Henson said.
The Henry County School System introduced its new elementary physical education curriculum, Dedicated to Fitness for Life (DFL), this year. Henson hopes that the Reindeer Rally will spark an interest in walking in the students, he said.
"My goal is to get them to like one thing" and do that one exercise the rest of their lives, whether it's throwing a ball or walking, he said.
If the students become interested in exercising, they can spread the interest throughout their families and their communities, he said, adding that he tells his students to try to exercise at least three days a week for 30 minutes each day.
Other things that Henson teaches the students are activities such as an overhand and underhand throw, dribbling with their feet and volleying balloons, as well as everyday activities such as skipping, galloping and running, he said.
"They show interest in just about everything ... they seem to enjoy and have fun while they're doing" any activity, he added.