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Pasco elementary school tapes PE videos

WESLEY CHAPEL — Fitness trainer Matthew Luckie talked over his shoulder to the students and teachers standing behind him.

"I'll be talking to the camera," Luckie said. "You follow."

Media specialist Nancy Haines nodded to signal that the tape was rolling, and Luckie launched right in.

"We're going to do some yoga moves today," he said. "It should be pretty fun. Some of the things will be pretty challenging. The most important thing is to have fun."

Preparing for a Fit TV episode? Nope.

This was a collaboration of Anytime Fitness on Bruce B. Downs Boulevard and nearby Double Branch Elementary School in the Meadow Pointe subdivision, aimed at helping the school meet its weekly quota of organized physical activity.

Fifth-grade teacher Christine Holt came up with the idea after consistently having trouble coming up with ways to meet her portion of the state mandate that elementary kids get 150 minutes of physical education each week. Double Branch classroom teachers must organize two lessons per week, while physical education teachers do the rest.

"We were looking for different things we can do with the kids," Holt explained.

She met with the owners of Anytime Fitness and got them to help out in the creation of three 25-minute exercise videos — one for yoga, one focusing on strength and the third centered on aerobic activity — featuring students and teachers.

They took over the school media center for three hours on Tuesday to record the shows, which will become available for classes and possibly even for home use via the Internet.

During the yoga session, Luckie led one group through a series of warmup exercises, stretches and yoga postures such as the cat-cow stretch, downward dog, warrior and sun salutation.

Behind him, the students and teachers mimicked him as best as they could through the motions, which had them squatting and extending and rolling and jumping.

Third-grader Jason Garcia said he liked participating in the taping. His only problem, he said, came with the balancing, because, "I'm really not good at balancing."

He figured his classmates would enjoy exercising along with the video when his teacher puts it on.

"They'll be surprised because it's hard work," Jason said.

The routine left most of the teachers in the session red-faced and sweaty.

"I'm actually more exhausted than I thought I would be," third-grade teacher Scott Nonnemaker admitted. "Either I'm in worse shape than I thought, or yoga is tough."

Nonnemaker looked forward to using the video in his class, guessing it would motivate the students. "We could pop on any old video," he said. "I don't think that would have the same meaning as seeing people you know."

It also will prove a welcome diversion, third-grader Korbett Canady added.

"I think they're going to want to do it, because from their work, since they're sitting, they may need to get up and move around," said Korbett, who does gymnastics and didn't find the session too excruciating.

In putting together the routines, Luckie said he tried to combine simple movements that elementary students can be successful with. He said he practiced at home, and hoped everything would work out with the group.

Holt was convinced.

"I am so amazed after that workout at the difference between what we were doing in the classroom and what he did," she said. "It was a good workout."

Still, despite a love for soccer and physical activity, fourth-grader Christopher Cooper remained a bit worried about how the video would play in class.

"I actually feel nervous," Christopher said as he waited to tape the strength section. "All my friends are going to be watching. If I accidentally do something wrong, they're all going to laugh."

Luckie had a recommendation for the kids who make mistakes, though.

"It's going to be fairly challenging," he said at one point during taping. "But it's going to be fun. Just do your best."

Jeffrey S. Solochek can be reached at solochek@sptimes.com or (813) 909-4614. For more education news, visit the Gradebook at blogs.tampabay.com/schools.

Pasco elementary school tapes PE videos 12/02/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 3, 2008 3:58pm]
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