Monday, April 6, 2009

Students are going on 'Healthy Hike'

ROCK RAPIDS-Central Lyon Elementary second-graders are exercising their bodies and their minds.

As part of the new initiative designed by Iowa Public Television to get kids across the state engaged in exercise and reading this spring, Dan Wardell, popular host of the IPTV Kids Clubhouse, is encouraging second-graders at Central Lyon Elementary to become healthy, both physically and mentally, by participating in a statewide "Healthy Hike" competition.

One elementary school classroom and one library in each county was selected for the program, which spans the month of April.

Throughout the month, second-graders in both Deb Snyders' and Louis Block's classrooms will log time spent reading and exercising.

After each week is over, Snyders and Block will record their students' hours and report the time to Wardell.

The information will be updated on the Healthy Hike Web site, and Central Lyon will be able to track its students' hours compared to the other 98 participating schools in the state.

While exercise and reading is encouraged at home, hours spent doing either at school also may be counted.

"It has to be done as a group, so they will record the same minutes," Snyders said.

Be that reading or motion, the logged reading and exercise hours can take place in the classroom or during physical education.

"We can't count recess time, though," Block said.

Throughout the month, Snyders and Block are encouraged to take pictures of their students either reading or exercising.

"We can send the pictures in and they might be featured on IPTV," Snyders said.

At the culmination of the program, the top 10 schools that have logged the most hours will be awarded Healthy Hike certificates, jump rope activity books and jump ropes for every student in the elementary school.

In addition, Wardell will come to the town library and host a special story time and celebration.

Two wild card entries also will be selected for a visit from Wardell.

"The wild cards will be selected based on the success stories each school shares with Dan," Snyders said. "It's a way to reward other towns that worked hard and have a heartwarming story, but didn't have as many minutes."

And, although the goal of the Healthy Hike program is to get kids moving and reading, Snyders said Central Lyon always encourages its students to read.

"During February, we have a reading incentive program every year," Snyders said. "This year was themed 'Reading Rocks.' The students counted minutes, were awarded small prizes at the end and got to watch 'Camp Rock' if they participated."

The second-graders will findo ut if they placed in the top 10 schools on May 4, but until then, Snyders and Block have equipped each student and their parents with tips for reading and moving at home.

"We're excited about getting family involvement going and getting kids excited about reading again," Block said.

At the culmination of the Healthy Hike, Central Lyon second-graders will get to take a special hike to the Rock Rapids Public Library for celebratory treats.

This article appeared in the April 4, 2009 edition of The N'West Iowa REVIEW.

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