Saltus keeps up the fitness work
The Saltus Athletics Department have been hard at work creating several fun fitness challenges to keep students, staff and families active during the work and learn from home period.
The first activity was a 30-Day Fitness Challenge and encouraged everyone to participate - students, parents, teachers and even pets! The challenge involved a gradual build-up of squats, planks, crunches and push-ups (also incorporating those much-needed rest days!) and was created for three levels of difficulty depending on one’s fitness capabilities. Participation in this event was great and the Athletics Department wanted to continue with another challenge for the Saltus Community.
The next challenge was a two-week 500K Run/Walk Challenge. This included the use of the Nike+ Run Club App, and when participants accepted the Saltus Athletics Challenge their kilometres started to be recorded. The Athletics team were blown away at how quickly they reached their initial 500K target! Participants were encouraged to keep logging their runs/walks to reach the new goal of 2,000K by 30th May.
The third and final challenge has been cleverly created as an Inter-house challenge (also using the Nike+ Run Club App) and will launch on 1st June. This is a student only event and will be divided into the four Saltus ‘houses’ – Butterfield – Saltus – Watlington - Darrell. Each house has its own challenge within the app and the Athletic department will post the kilometres accumulated for each house daily. Competition will conclude on 15th June so don’t miss your chance to show some school spirit!
Darrin Lewis, Director of Athletics at Saltus shared why these challenges are so important, “It is vital that we promote health and wellness during these unprecedented times. The stress of being locked down and sitting in front of a laptop on a daily basis is detrimental to one’s well-being, so we planned as a department to initiate various opportunities for the students, staff, siblings, parents and even included their pets to be active while practicing social and physical distancing. The idea of creating ‘Challenges’ ignited the competitiveness and discipline to achieve a goal. The response was tremendous from the entire Saltus family. I even received reports that some schools in Canada were doing the Saltus 30-Day Fitness Challenge.”
Members of his team felt the following:
Tim Figureido, Head of Physical Education: “From a curriculum standpoint I thought it was very important to continue to provide a variety of activities for our students to remain active throughout their time at home. These activities varied from YouTube demonstration videos as well as fitness activities for each of their regularly scheduled lesson times. The challenges were in addition to the Physical Education programme. I also regularly checked in with my students via skype to talk and catch up on how they were doing so that we stayed connected. These chats covered a variety of topics and were very interesting as well as hilarious.”
Jo Murray, PE Teacher / Sports Science Coordinator: “It was great to be involved in coming up with these challenges for the Saltus community. As a PE teacher, obviously I am normally an advocate of keeping active, but I think the situation we find ourselves in at the moment has just highlighted this need even more. Hopefully these challenges have at least helped give people some motivation to do some activity during the day until we can get back to a more normal state of affairs.”
John Barry Nusum, PE Teacher / Teacher of Sociology / Head of Y11: “Creating these challenges has sparked an interest in several of our students to work on their own fitness levels in the confines of their homes which promotes their own health lifestyles beyond being in the classroom. You can never replicate the one on one interaction with students and their peers, but it was great to watch from a far some of the progress that has been made through the challenges and the online learning.”
Lesley White - Part time PE teacher added, “This was an unknown for all of us....a new experience and a new challenge. The 30-day fitness challenge encouraged student involvement and added a touch of competitiveness that is missing because we are not in school. It was promoted as a PE activity by a friend in Moncton, New Brunswick to her students, and so it became a little international as well. Our department worked as a team to develop these challenges, which offered levels for all and we all took part too....so it ended up being all inclusive.”
Mary Hopkins, Primary Physical Education Coordinator: “I have focused on the Year 1 to Year 3 levels during this time. The dynamic of having PE classes with friends is missing and so I have been trying to find activities that work on skills but are also fun for them to do on their own. In the Primary Department we are using a platform called Seesaw. This allows ‘personal’ interaction with the students as teachers can post videos and talk to the students about activities being posted. It is quite child friendly and encourages them to do things on their own although parents oversee and can help where needed. They send photos, videos and voicemail responses to activities that are posted, and we are able to respond to their posts. Some of the activities have been obstacle course, chalk obstacle courses, water safety, throwing and catching challenges, virtual sports day events and novelty fitness activities that they can do with other members of their family.”
Richard Todd, Primary Physical Education&Athletics: “During the stay at home period we have had to be creative with our physical education lessons for the students. While embracing technology to deliver lesson plans to the students, it has been important to encourage physical activity away from the computer screen. The lesson plans take students through interactive physical workouts; break down and analyze specific sports skills through use of video tutorials and then provide suggested practice drills; and encourage the creativity of the student to design custom circuit training and obstacle courses using the available items and space at home. Physical education has promoted the involvement of parents and siblings to join in the activities together, helping to encourage healthy lifestyles and lifelong fitness activities that are fun for all. The students enjoy the challenges of the weekly assignments and are encouraged to share back to us through pictures and video their participation, which allows us to provide suggested feedback and praise for their participation.”
Another exciting, upcoming event will be the 9th Annual Saltus Athletics Banquet. It will be bit different this year, as it will be virtual, but the student athletes will still be celebrated! The annual Female and Male Athlete of the Year will be revealed along with the various awards for each of the sports. This year we are introducing three new awards. There will be a Female and Male Scholar Athlete of the Year Award presented to Y10 – Y11 student-athletes who have maintained a minimum of an 85% average in all their classes during terms 1 and 2. For the two senior years, the student-athlete must have an overall GPA of 3.5 or higher to be eligible. The other awards introduced this year will be the Iron KNIGHT Award, which will be presented to any SGY2 student who has participated on at least 4 school teams for their entire high school experience and the Shining KNIGHT Award for any SGY2 student who has participated on at least 2 school teams for their entire high school experience. The Director of Athletics, Darrin Lewis states “it is extremely important that we celebrate our student-athletes each year as they deserve the recognition for their commitment, dedication and school pride. Normally we have a semi-formal, sit-down dinner catered for the student-athletes, but due to the current situation we will produce a virtual celebration to show our appreciation to the student-athletes and coaches.”
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