Speedy runners and wordsmiths united in the gym at Mayfield Intermediate School recently to compete in Scrabble Run, a new physical education activity creating a stir at the Manassas City public school serving about 1,000 fifth and sixth graders.
It's become common for visitors to stop by the gym to observe Scrabble Run in action, said Michael DeEmilio, physical education department head. The principal, assistant principals, reading specialists, substitutes and many others have popped in to watch, and students are talking about it in hallways, at lunch and even in the library.
"I think it's awesome and fun! And it makes fitness more educational," said fifth grade student Jaren Cazar-Garcia. "I like running across the room to get the letters!" added student Hailey Egan.
Each class period, students in relay teams race to the middle of the gym, grab from among dozens of letter cards, race back to their teams and then place the letters face-down in hula hoops. When each team has 12 letters, students circle around their hoops, turn over letters and begin creating as many three- to seven-letter words as possible before the whistle blows.Longer words earn higher points. Words from the physical fitness word wall earn bonus points.
"We made retina!" one student exclaimed to his teacher Aubrie Sawyer. Sawyer, in her first year of teaching, introduced the activity after finding it on P.E. Central, a website resource from her training at Old Dominion University. "Students don't even realize they are learning two things at once," she said.
DeEmilio added, "It gives every child the chance to be successful-students at every academic and fitness level use their different strengths to work together as a team."