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Phys Ed at Staples Moves Easton Students

Bon Jovi's "Living on a Prayer" blasted from the gym's sound system at Samuel Staples Elementary School. But the intensity of the music could hardly match the intensity on the gym floor, where four groups of fifth-graders took turns battling each other in games of floor hockey.

But don't let the rock music fool you – these kids play hard, but they also play fair and with impressive control. "Music and movement go hand in hand," physical education teacher Bob Menegay said.

"We've worked really hard to put together songs that are radio-friendly and age appropriate and that get kids going," said Jason Studeny, the No. 2 man in the P.E. department at Staples.

Physical education is integral to the curriculum at this Easton school. Menegay, Studeny and newcomer Jim Tierney steadily work with teachers to develop lesson plans that include physical activity.

"Not everything we do is interdisciplinary," Menegay said. "But we do a lot. ... It isn't just about the competition. It's about doing your best. We try to appeal to every individual. ... We want kids to make physical activity a lifelong ambition and not just something they do in P.E."

Obesity is always a concern, they said, but they also feel like they are moving in a good direction. "Our goal for this year was to increase the upper-body strength through different activities," Studeny said.

To build these muscles, the P.E. team leads yoga sessions with the students, and plays games in which the students don't even realize they are exercising because they are having so much fun. "We want to make it fun for them, make fitness fun, and downplay the competitiveness," Menegay said. "Do things for the enjoyment of it, where they're motivated not by the score, but by the activity."

Studeny added that he and his fellow teachers emphasize maximum participation, safety, positive reinforcement and fun.

What are you doing in your classroom?

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