California Educator

August/September 2021

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PE" where students could bond with each other virtually and keep moving. He esti- mates 65 percent of students attended online classes last year. They jumped rope, juggled, and did kick boxing and cardio drumming from home, using water bottles and cans for weight lifting. "I had to think outside the box," says the Escondido Elementar y Educators Association member, w ho teaches at multiple schools. "ere was camarade- rie and teamwork. We made no excuses and talked about how we were all in this together — and going to stay strong together. It probably helped that I never told them that they weren't being graded in the pandemic." S u z u k i , w h o w a s n a m e d E l e m e n - tar y Physical Education Teacher of the Year in 2020 by the California Associ- ation for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, plans to go slower t h a n u s u a l w h e n h e resumes in-person instruc- tion this fall. "For the 35 percent of students w ho are not in c on dition , w e w i l l st ar t moderately and build up gradual ly. We may st ar t with one sit-up and one squat, and then add more each day. Instead of running an entire lap, we may walk for part of it. We will work our way back to fitness one step at a time." For Brittany Washington , teaching dance online was tough. "I'm not going to lie, it was a challenge," says the Lynwood High School teacher, who is also a cheer coach at her school and a Los Angeles Rams cheerleader who performed at the Super Bowl in 2019. "Some of my students wanted to dance, and others wanted to stay in bed all day. The p a n d e m i c m a d e s o m e kids really lazy. The most difficult thing was trying to push students so they wanted to engage." T h e Ly nw o o d Te a c h - ers Association member tu r n e d h e r liv i n g r o o m into a dance studio with r o l l a w a y m i r r o r s a n d encouraged students to enjoy moving to jazz and hip hop while expressing their pent-up emotions. ey told her it made them feel better. " We talked about dance as a stress reli e v er an d a m ean s of s el f - e xpre s - sion. Even though we stayed in distance learning throughout last year, we came together to film a spring concert." Jen Tsurumoto created high-energy videos on her YouTube channel for her fourth graders at Parkside Elementary School, and taught fifth and sixth graders at Brook Haven School in Sebastopol on Zoom in real time. It was a tremendous challenge as a first-year teacher. "Other than my PE classes, students weren't getting much exercise," says the Sebastopol Elementary Teachers Associ- ation member. "I tried to make it as fun as possible. I needed them to turn their cameras on for safety. Eventually, all the kids had their cameras on. Even if I just saw the top of a head or an arm moving around, I knew they were safe and par- ticipating." Transitioning back to in-person When Tsurumoto's students returned last " I'm not going to lie, it was a challenge. Some of my students wanted to dance and others wanted to stay in bed all day." — Brittany Washington, Lynwood Teachers Association Above, Trent Suzuki's PE class on Zoom. At right, Washington's students. 30 Feature Trent Suzuki

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