Elementary school P.E. class mixes in other subjects

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - At Everglades Elementary in West Palm Beach, physical education class is a little different than most across the country.

"Let's get moving today," Miss Sharon Patelsky tells her group of first graders.

Everyone knows when you start a workout, you start by counting.

"Let's get some energy and let's hear our counting loud and proud," she tells her class Monday.

But in Ms. Patelsky's class the counting doesn't start at one, it starts with two or three or even five.

The reason is the students are doing their multiplication tables as they count out each of their workouts. And one and two and three and...

"I did this kind of by accident years ago," Ms. Patelsky said. "You always count by ones and it's not challenging, but we are counting by a pattern anyway. Next thing you know, I said, 'hey this is way too easy for these guys what would happen if we do two's?'"

When it's time for basketball during class, the teacher makes sure to teach the kids about the science of dribbling.

She also gives them a short lesson in astronomy by having hula hoops that are laid on the ground represent planets.

"To them they're just playing with the ball and learning how to control the ball and they're pretending they're astronauts in space," she said.

The Everglades elementary teacher is one of the pioneers of a new style of physical education countywide.

It helped Palm Beach County schools land a $2 million grant to help with physical education.

The county also said it makes physical education classes more valuable at the elementary school level so it doesn't get cut due to budget cuts like it has in other Florida counties.

"Why not put it in," Ms. Patelsky said. "We're going to do our warm ups. Why not make it a little more fun and challenging?"

The elementary school students at the Everglades Elementary show you, they're up for the challenge.


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