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Stalker uses exercise as teaching tool

October 4, 2012

Morning News — Leslie Mielke Heather Polatis (right) from Gold's Gym leads students in exercises on Monday and Wednesday each week. These students are in Shawna Matsuura's second grade classroom at Stalker Elementary.

Students at Stalker Elementary are combining learning and exercise with the help of fitness instructor Heather Polatis from Gold's Gym in Blackfoot. The program is called Learn and Be Fit.
Polatis goes into each classroom to give the students 15-20 minutes of exercise on Monday and Wednesday. The students exercise by their desks in their classrooms.
On Wednesday, students in Shawna Matsuura's second grade warmed up and cooled down. They marched, jumped a simulated jump rope, did step touch, tapped heels and toes and learned about their biceps, triceps and quadriceps.
"Students learn with rhyming, poetry and repetition," said Polatis. "They are able to retain more information when they get moving."
Learn and Be Fit started Monday. Presently, Polatis is working on math facts.
For example, students marched, jumped a simulated rope and stretched to the rhyme:
"Make a ten. Make a ten.
"We know ways to make a ten.
"9+1 and 8+2;
"They have sums of ten. It's true.
"7+3 and 6+4;
"Do you know there are two more?
"5+5 and 0+10;
"Now let's say them all again!"
"The teachers are fantastic," she said. "As we go on, they will let me know what their students need.
"Any subject can be put to rhyme and movement—social studies, geometry, math," Polatis said.
Polatis started this program in 2009 when she lived in Florida.
"It has been proven that kids learn better when students can use all the kinetic senses," said Karen Thurston, Limited English Proficiency (LEP) teacher. "It's easier for students to learn with songs, chants and repetitiveness."
"Our building is excited," said Stalker principal Hal Silzly. "We see a need for student fitness, wellness and health.
"We are exploring new awareness to help us in our academic growth," he said. "Research shows lots of children learn when they can move.
"We are keeping data to see if this works for us," said Silzly.
Help requested
Stalker Elementary is asking patrons (and interested persons) to to help the school obtain a grant from Idaho Power to help pay for the Learn and Be Fit program.
To vote, each person needs to have a Facebook account.
How to vote:
° Go to www.facebook.com/idahopower.
° Find the picture that says "Powering Tomorrow Grant."
° Click on the "Nominate" labeled LEARN AND BE FIT.
° Look for the picture of Stalker Elementary.
Once you have voted, just save it to your Facebook home page and vote each day.

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