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Keep on Running

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Here are some good running ideas for grades 1-3.  
Submitted by Cathy Caldwell, Westfield, Indiana.  


Here are a few ideas for outdoor distance runs. Our students have really enjoyed these!

First Grade: “Running Through the Jungle!” – This is a modified version of “The Lion Hunt.” The teacher leads the adventure with palms of hands patting the thighs (sounds like running), stating a phrase with the class repeating the phrase.

Teacher: Students:
“Running through the jungle” “Running through the jungle”
“It’s a great day!” “It’s a great day!”
“All set?” “All set?”
“You bet!” “You bet!”
“Looking for a lion…” “Looking for a lion…”
“Let’s go!” “Let’s go!”
“That way!” “That way!”

The teacher points to a destination on the playground and the children run with the teacher to an existing natural landmark or a cone. Upon reaching the destination, continue the phrasing:

“He’s over there…”
“Taking a rest….”
“He’s so beautiful….”
“Good bye lion…”
“See you another day …..”
“Let’s find an elephant!…..”
“All set?….”
“You bet!….”

Now the teacher leads the class to a new destination. This continues as the students look for giraffes, hippos, zebras, and monkeys. You can take breaks on this running safari with stretching and pretending to have a snack of bananas. It is easy to get a good 1/4 mile+ of distance covered. Note: Having spent a month in Kenya and having taken photographs of all the exquisite animals, I enjoyed sharing my experience and photos with the children. After viewing pictures, we embark on the journey!

Second Grade: “Taking a Journey” – Continuing to include a geography lesson in our run, I begin with a map of the United States and the class identifies directions from our home in Westfield, Indiana. We head South on this journey. On the map we identify crossing the Ohio River into Kentucky, then to Tennessee to our destination, The Great Smoky Mountains, and then home. It is interesting to view pictures of the beautiful mountains so we have a vision of our destination. Signs with the above landmarks are posted on cones along the desired course. I designed our route to be 0.33 of a mile; the course can be designed for any distance that you desire. Children run at their own pace. You will see that some children will want to run the course twice.

Third Grade: “Continuing the Journey” – Let’s go west! This 0.25 mile course was identified by running to Illinois, crossing the Mississippi River to Missouri to visit the city of St. Louis and its landmark, The Arch, and then home. We ran this loop twice. As before, signs with the above landmarks were on the cones along the course.

In Closing: I hope you can see the endless opportunities for creating new journeys with your students! A group project for students in 4th and 5th grades could be a combined effort with the classroom teacher, media center specialist, and the physical education teacher. The students would design and map their own segment of the journey and present to the rest of the class new discoveries about a selected state, country, or city.

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