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NJ physical education teachers get creative to tackle online gym class

NJ physical education teachers get creative to tackle online gym class


So far 180 public, private and parochial districts have gotten state permission to start with all-remote instruction, Gov. Murphy said.

Meghan Radimer had to get creative. Radimer teaches physical education, and the COVID pandemic has made that particularly challenging since her school’s classes are online.

So Radimer has asked her students in the Stillwater Township School District to use household items in their workouts. She had them play golf with a laundry basket and a pair of rolled up socks. There was also the day she orchestrated a rainbow scavenger hunt: depending on what color item her students found, they would do a different workout. Another fitness challenge asked students to build a shoe tower — if it stood, they did 25 jumping jacks. If it fell, they had to do 10 pushups.

“You’re like a first-year teacher again,” said Radimer, who works with pre-K through sixth graders. “I think back — I graduated in 2007 — and none of this stuff was ever something you would even think about having to plan. I never thought I would have to teach phys ed virtually. But I think everybody is doing their best to figure out how to make it work for the year and for the students, as well.”

Jennifer Olawski, a physical education teacher at the Paul Robeson Community School for the Arts in New Brunswick, created this virtual gym with her colleagues for her elementary and middle school students. Students can click different links in the classroom to access lessons or workouts they can do in their spare time. The classroom also features teachers Andrew Novod and Chelsea Buttacavoli. (Photo: Courtesy of Jennifer Olawski)

Teachers across the state have been forced to adjust to virtual learning because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which upended academia and all

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South Bend schools gets creative in serving preschoolers with special needs | Education

South Bend schools gets creative in serving preschoolers with special needs | Education

SOUTH BEND — Being an educator means being able to adapt to any situation.

They’ve seen it it all. Open a teacher’s desk drawer or cabinet and you will find a solution to any problem that you can think of — and a few that never crossed your mind.

Most of those classroom adaptations are the result of a teacher, school nurse or counselor having years of experience in meeting the needs of their students. That’s why the average teacher’s desk or cabinet is filled with pencils, pens, erasers and facial tissue. If a teacher has faced a problem, that teacher likely has an answer.

What happens when educators confront a challenge that no teacher has seen in at least 100 years? That has been the problem confronting educators since March when COVID-19 closed school buildings and has kept them closed until districts cautiously began reopening over the last few weeks.

Educators working in the South Bend schools’ preschool program for special needs students adjusted when the pandemic stopped in-person classes at schools throughout the area in March.

Even though schools had closed, staff members still had a legal obligation to assess students for special education needs, and come up with individualized education plans for those who need them.

So the team adapted by moving the classroom, desks toys and materials, outside into the courtyard at the Studebaker school building. Moving the program outside, combined with wearing masks and social distancing, allowed the assessments to be conducted in a safer environment.

Sybil Snyder, special education supervisor, said the team, which consists of a psychologist, a special education specialist, a speech therapist and a social worker, has to meet with students in person to get the best snapshot of a student’s needs.

Each team member evaluates the child. For example, the

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