This would have been the 40th anniversary of Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope, and allowing COVID to disrupt Terry’s legacy seems incredibly wrong, especially when those who are living with cancer are among our most vulnerable. With no assemblies this year, and no mass gatherings, how to run Terry Fox Day at your school will require a little ingenuity!
Here is one way that you can bring the Marathon of Hope to your school:
Instead of a mass run on a single day, turn it into an extended event. Each class walks or runs a route (the distance around the outside edge of our field is 300m, for example) daily or every other day and records how far they have run. Those totals are recorded by the class and submitted to your Terry Fox lead, who can either record the total on a map of Canada, or on a simpler chart. A cut-out of Terry running along a distance-marked length of road would be a great visual as well. You don’t need to be completed by the “official” Terry Fox run day… given the late and complex start to the school year, extending your Terry Fox run/donation time by a few weeks makes sense.
Can your school make it the 5373 km to Thunder Bay? If your school is smaller, you may want to choose a shorter distance… it’s 3101km from Thunder Bay to Victoria, where the Marathon of Hope was to have ended. If you have a large school, maybe you want to try for the full 8474km distance across Canada.
This activity has the advantage of fulfilling DPA requirements, and getting your classes outside into the fresh air! You can also use it to review basic math skills and number sense in the class. For instance, at the Primary level, (our recommendation to our Primary teachers is to round three laps of our field to 1km), counting and keeping track of how many kilometres your class has run can be a great time to practice tens, ones, and grouping/counting by tens. At the older grades, keeping the 300m distance would mean that you can work on adding decimals and multiple of three. If you are having students do as many laps as they can in a given time period and having each student keep track of their own, I’d recommend handing out lap-tokens (I use popsicle sticks, but have also used plastic counters, which can probably be sanitized more easily) as students will tend to lose track of how many laps they have run. Alternately, to simplify your accounting, you can just have students each run 3 or 5 or 10 laps.
The Terry Fox Foundation has a theme of “What’s your 40?” for the 40th anniversary. You can check out in-class activity ideas here: https://terryfox.org/schoolrun/whats-your-40/ One idea might be for your Terry Fox lead to create 40km certificates and to post them up near your distance tracking as a class reaches 40km run. For every 40km after that, another certificate could be added (if, like us, you have 23 divisions, choosing a different colour for each subsequent 40 and layering them may be needed for space constraints!)
While many fundraising techniques (bake sales, for example) are not an option this year, the Terry Fox Foundation has online donation capability, making it easier for friends and family who are more physically distant to participate.
If your school enjoys a robust Terry Fox Day culture, with celebration assemblies and incentives (if you raise $XX, teacher A will do this… if you raise $XXX, teacher B will do this… if we get to $XXXX admin will do this), some of those incentives could be recorded and shared by the teacher in the classroom. This year, given the potential for family incomes to have been affected by COVID, we have chosen to attach the incentives to the number of kilometres run, rather than the money raised… however, we will be promoting fundraising in our school all the same.
Good luck to all BC schools as we continue to honour Terry’s legacy and continue his Marathon of Hope.
This is going to be one of the strangest starts to the year that BC education has ever faced. There are so many moving parts and as we go into this, so many of us are facing uncertainty and anxiety over what we should be planning for. Looking forwards, we can expect a few things to potentially occur, and hopefully planning for these events will help us feel like we have at least a tiny bit of breathing room.
1. Classroom community is key. Relationships are a huge part of what will make this year function, and it is important that this is where we start, even with the tension we will feel to push into curriculum when our teaching time is so greatly reduced by health and safety protocols or by compressed schedules in the older grades. The relationships will be what allow us to support our students through the changes that may occur over the course of the year.
2. Disruptions and switching between in-class and isolation at home is a distinct possibility. If the local health officer orders a classroom or cohort to isolate, we may have to switch on the fly. Just like we put together our “I’m too sick to plan for a TTOC” dayplans of emergency activities, have two or three days of emergency independent home learning planned and ready to go. If you happen to be able to update it as you go along so that it involves review of material you’ve already covered in class, that’s amazing… or it can be skill building and review of last year’s concepts. It will allow you the time to set up and switch over to your online classroom in a less rushed and panicked manner, since your students have meaningful work to occupy them while you make that shift.
3. Chances are, you may end up stuck at home with mild cold symptoms while you wait for COVID test results. It’s anyone’s guess what the TTOC situation will be like this year. Those “too sick to plan for a TTOC” day plans? You probably want to have two or three days worth of them ready to go.
4. Keep your safety a top priority. There are safety protocols that are required to keep us safe. Many of us feel that they are insufficient, but we need to remain vigilant in making sure that what protocols there are are followed. If your school/district is not following the PHO and WCB’s health and safety protocols, please document it and report it to your health and safety committee and, if that doesn’t garner results, to your Union local. If something feels off to you, contact your local for further support.
MyPITA will continue to advocate for reduced classroom density and extra support for teachers and students this year.
These games assume that students are playing within their learning cohorts, and that sharing some equipment with minimal handling is permissible (not touching their face during games, washing hands afterwards to minimize the risks involved). They are adapted to allow for lack of physical touching, but many involve periodic movement to within 2m. As with any time you are organizing physical activities for large groups, consider the diversity in your classroom and make sure to pre-teach or adapt for students who would need help fully participating in the activity.
1. California Kickball/Baseball
This game can largely be played as normal with some minor alterations to the tagging-out rules.
a. Each corner of the diamond is actually two bases, side by side. One is the base for the team at bat (the running base) and that is the one that the runner must tag to be safe, or in passing. The other base is for the fielding team, and that is the base they must tag to tag a player out.
b.) The only way to tag out a player is to tag the base. There is no tagging during the run or during a stealing attempt (you may want to remove the option to steal)
2. Zone Soccer (Human Foosball)
Set up your playing area in a grid (either drag your heel through the dirt to create the lines, use cones or use skipping ropes). Students must stay in their own square, though they can move around it. This includes keeping their feet within their square… no stealing the ball from another square. That will probably be the hardest part for your competitive players. You can either stagger the players, or simply use full rows of the same team. Depending on the number of students involved, you may choose whether to include goalies.
Play will be a little slower, as students try and make good choices on where to pass the ball, but you can increase the pace of play by either giving a time limit for how long people can hold on to the ball before passing, or by adding a second ball to the game.
3. Mini golf with balls or frisbees
Set up a series of “holes” using laminated numbers and hula hoops. Students need to complete the whole course while keeping track of their score (a great time to work on tally marks for younger students, and use the range of scores for mode, median, and mean for the older ones!) Break your class up into groups, and have each group start at a different number to begin with, meaning no long wait times or crowding. Balls in question could be kick balls, handballs, or even bean-bags.
4. Fitness circuit
Set up a variety of fitness challenges and have students rotate through them. Have students come up with stations that can be included and switch them out from time to time. Consider having stations be timed, so that it is “as many as you can in 2 minutes” rather than “do 30 jumping jacks” as that allows less downtime and means that students who struggle with a skill aren’t still trying to finish the number of repetition while the rest of the group is waiting for them.
5. Captain’s Orders
One person is the leader (Captain). They call out different actions for students to do. You can use the ones below, or make up your own. This game can be easily adapted to link to books you are reading (imagine, for instance, how you’d play this game with a Harry Potter theme) or even subject matter (bonus points to the science teacher who makes this game work for cell division).
Man Overboard - Everyone drops to a plank position
Captain’s Coming - Stand to attention and salute
Starboard/Port - Players run to the designated side of the room… (for the non-nautical, when standing on a boat and looking towards the bow, Port is to the left, Starboard to the right)
Scrub the Deck - Crouch down and pretend to scrub the deck
Swab the Deck - Staying standing, pretend to mop the deck
Climb the Rigging - Pretend to climb
Find North/East/South/West - Players point in the appropriate cardinal direction… great for if you’re doing cartography, and you can add in the in-betweens as well if your students are ready for it.
Polly Want a Cracker - Flap your arms and make parrot noises
This blog will feature Intermediate and Middle Years teachers who are passionate about their teaching and love to share!