In Irving ISD at T.J. Lee Elementary, we participate in a version of Marathon Kids designed specifically for our district. Our goal is to complete a marathon distance of 26.2 miles in a whole school year by jogging or walking during PE class. Students will jog or walk during a warm-up at the beginning of each class period to start the day. Some days are exclusively for iRun Irving, where students attempt to complete at least 1 mile in a class period. Our school is uniquely built. We have an open concrete area where students can run on a semi-track circle course. Every time a student goes around the course, they have traveled a distance of 1/7th of a mile. This year, to more accurately track students miles, we have been able to test and use a new technology made by EZ Scan company. This technology uses QR codes to scan a students distance using a smartphone or tablet. As each student completes a lap on the course, their QR code is laminated to an index card scanned. It is quick and easy and allows students to use technology and be healthy at the same time. Before reaching the final goal of 26.2 mi, students have mini goals and incentives that we give out at the 5, 10, 15, and 20th mile. Incentives for the students range from iRun logo pencils, color changing cups, jump ropes and the final prize of an iRun Irving t-shirt. Students cant wait to get their shirts. The past 3 years, our district has asked for assistance from local business and community organizations who have generously donated. To give our program here at T.J. Lee some character, we have added Pokemon characters to each goal as a little twist on the Pokemon Go! craze. At each mini goal, we have the students sign a poster designed with a unique character to show the school and parents their individual achievement. We love the long term benefits of walking and jogging and hope that our students will take this positive experience of the iRun Irving program and carry it with them into adulthood!
How do you plan to make this Play last during the school year and beyond?
Students plan to continue iRun every week of school year. As a district, we plan to can continue this program for years to come. We currently have students in 2nd grade that have been doing this particular marathon challenge since it was a pilot program when they were in kindergarten. We hope to continue for years to come, so that as a district, those same students will carry the program all the way into high school. With continued outreach to local business and community, we know we can do it.
What challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?
One challenge has been keeping track of students’ miles. In the past, we used Popsicle sticks to kept count of daily progress. This issue with this is that students can lose sticks or forget a stick causing inaccurate data. This year, we decided to incorporate technology and use an app program by EZ Scan company. The program organizes the students for us. We print off QR codes with student’s info like a business card. A teacher scans their card every lap and this keeps track of miles for everyone!