Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Field Day Camaraderie

I do not enjoy Field Day. Spending hours in the sun, under any circumstances, is not how I would choose to spend my time. (We won't even get into the fact that heat is one of my migraine triggers.) That being said, I know one of my favorite memories of this year was made yesterday, during Field Day.

Our school splits Field Day up by age so we are all able to fit onto one, big field. Fourth and fifth grades took to the field yesterday morning. Each class was sporting class colors, ours was white. First up in our rotation, volleyball.

Our P.E. teacher does a great job preparing the kids for the events. They have practiced all the games and know the rules and how to play. I asked my 22 students if they had been playing volleyball 11 on 11 or rotating through. They informed me they played seven to a side and rotated in and out.

With the class split by cubby numbers, they took to the court. I sat on the cement, in the shade, and cheered them on. There are almost no successful volleyball servers in my class. That said, there was not one negative or snide comment made throughout their 30 minutes of playing. They encouraged one another and both sides cheered when a serve actually went over the net.

When it was time for our next activity I gathered my class around me and bragged about what I had seen. I love this group of kids and I want them to realize they have something special going. I want them to be proud of how they work together. I want them to know that I notice. I concluded by pointing out that most activities for the day were about working together, teams.

The next activity was the one thing we would be doing that was all about the individual. I pulled my phone out of my pocket and asked them if they knew what I had. A few looked at me as if I had gone mad. I quickly added, "a stopwatch". They instantly 'got it' as they looked at the obstacle course before us. I let them know that we would go by reverse cubby order, told them they could sit on the grass with their water bottles, and got the first child to the starting line. The high school volunteer walked her through the course while I reminded everyone else they just had to watch as she would be their example.

"Ready… Set… Go!" I yelled. She took off over pads, high stepping tires, weaving through eight-foot poles, diving over mats, and the rest of the course until she arrived, panting, at the end. Meanwhile the entire class sat on the grass cheering her on and chanting her name. They continued to do this for every one of their classmates.

Thirteen students later it was one of my special needs student's turn. He had not been happy about Field Day. In fact, his iPad was on the field and if he participated he was able to sneak off for five minutes of use here and there. We had even contemplated moving him up in the rotation, but he was content watching his classmates overcome the obstacles. Now he stood at the starting line, ready. I yelled "go!" and he began the course.

What I hadn't noticed was that the entire class had come over to the starting line, encasing both sides of the horse shoe. As he began the class not only cheered, but they followed him through the course, always at his side. I stood, beaming, at this special group of students I get to work with. Maybe Field Day isn't all bad.



  1. How awesome is that?!? I have chills and I'm smiling right now too in awe and excitement for your class. Bravo to you for talking about the great things you noticed and the importance of teamwork. Bravo to your class showing what teamwork looks like during field day.

  2. A wonderful moment. I love the way some classes can come together. Often it is because of some special challenges that their best is brought out.

  3. You have shown what really matters in education. You, and other teachers in the school have helped the children to grow into a caring and supportive community of learners. I am glad that you got to witness their actions and attitude and I am thankful that you shared it with us.

  4. Thanks for sharing this wonderful moment with us! It's so special when a class comes together to encourage each other. It's wonderful that they did it for the special needs child, but MORE wonderful that they did it for EVERYONE. Teaching kids to value and support everyone is one of the best things you can do!

  5. Okay, you got me blubbering. What a gift to be there for those wonderful moments. :)

  6. No wonder you still get teary today. What a fantastic moment for you and your students. And Jen is right--more importantly, they did it for everyone! Love this and thank you for sharing. We all needed this bright spot in our day!

  7. Great story to capture. You won't easily forget this day, but a long time from now, you may find it & then remember all the details. From how you talked, I guess you told the students too how thoughtful they were (are). I also imagine you feel blessed to have such a class, even though part of that must be your teaching of them.

  8. Kids are good. You have a special bond with this group. Wonderful story!

  9. Even though I went to school in a place very different from where you're teaching, your post brought me back to field days from my childhood. As a former teacher, a sister of a man with special needs, and a mom, I always resonate to stories of kids pleasantly surprising us. Thanks for sharing yours.