By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – When students at Thomas Street Elementary School stage a bunny hop on Thursday, they will come prepared.
Since early March, the kindergartners to second-graders enrolled at the school have been training for this week’s event.
The bunny hop is a fundraiser in which students will run and walk for 30 minutes, trying to complete as many laps as possible around the school’s walking track. They will collect pledges from sponsors and raise money based on the number of laps they finish. That money will fund technology at the school. Specifically, it will be used to purchase Promethean boards, or interactive digital projectors.
With the event looming, Thomas Street music teacher Lee Anne Grace decided to combine with the school’s physical education teacher, Gary Enis, to put together a training program for the students.
“They are still having fun, but we are trying to get them happy and healthy and combat childhood obesity,” Grace said. “I hope they develop a love for outdoor play, not just running.”
The two have combined their physical education and music classes so that the students participate in the program twice a week. An avid runner, Grace designed a program in which the students alternate running and walking, increasing the amount of time they run each week. She also gave them a training plan they could follow during spring break week.
“With this age, it doesn’t need to be real strenuous, it needs to be focused on enjoying the outdoors,” Grace said. “This is getting them to have fun and experience good weather.”
Enis said that the running practice will do more than prepare the students for this week’s bunny hop.
“The big thing is they are being active,” he said. “That is a positive they can take with them throughout their childhood and throughout their life. That is what we’re trying to teach is to stay active, whether they run or walk.”
Since Grace teaches music, she also incorporated those lessons into the routine. The students compared tempo to walking, jogging and running. Sometimes Grace would play a piece of music and they students had to determine how fast to go based upon the piece’s tempo.
They also studied music patterns. When they would walk, run and then walk, Grace said it was like A-B-A pattern.
First-graders Addie Paige Smith, 7, and Alyssa Quijada, 7, both said that they enjoy the training runs.
“It is fun,” Addie Paige said. “You get to run.”
Added Alyssa: “It gets you exercise, and it is good for your body.”
Contact Chris Kieffer at (662) 678-1590 or firstname.lastname@example.org.