This winter the Georgia Elementary School students have been participating in a four week long Winterfest where they were challenged to get involved in a variety of indoor and outdoor activities.  As they accomplished each challenge their classroom would earn points and the goal was to accumulate the most points throughout the four weeks.  Challenges centered around active play, problem solving activities, and community service. 

Here is a video of classrooms participating in the activities below.

Explore the Outdoors

  • Take a walk on the walking path (2 pts)
  • Borrow snowshoes from Mr. Allard and go outside to explore (3pts)
  • Identify three types of trees on the school property (2pts)
  • Build a working sundial in the snow (3pts)
  • Identify three different animal tracks (2 pts)
  • Take a photo of an animal in the snow (3pts)
  • Sit quietly in the bird sanctuary and observe the birds (1pt)
  • Visit the Buddy Bench (1pt)
  • Practice your favorite yoga pose outside (1pt)
Keeping track of points.

Snow Play

  • Build a snow creature (2pts)
  • Catch a snowflake on your tongue (1pt)
  • Make a snow angel(1pt)
  • Sled down a hill (1pt)
  • Build a snow fort (3pts)
  • Throw snowballs at the disc golf goal.  Can you get it in? (1pt)
  • Write GEMS in the snow with your feet/snowshoes (2pts)
  • Practice writing your sight words or letters in the snow (3pts)

Create

  • Create a Mascot Character profile (It could be a labeled drawing, story, list of characteristics, etc. ) (3pts)
  • Write a poem, song or story about winter (3pts)
  • Make a paper snowflake (1pt)
  • Create your own jigsaw puzzle from a winter picture (2pts)
  • Draw a map of the school (3pts)
  • Create and play a handmade board game (3pts)
  • Create a video of a touchdown dance (3pts)
  • Create your OWN activity (3 pts)
Ask a friend to play a game.
Challenge yourself with a puzzle.

Hunker Down

  • Play a board game  (1pt)
  • Have a read-in (2pts)
  • Virtually visit a zoo, aquarium, museum (1pt)
  • Do yoga or GoNoodle in your classroom (1pt)
  • Show another type of brain break your class does (1pt)
  • Make a puzzle (2pts)
  • Work together as a class to calculate how many points you could earn if you completed everything on the list (3pts)
Visiting a virtual zoo.

Give Back

  • Compost your food waste (1pt)
  • Use recycled materials to create something (2pts.)
  • Write and mail a thank you note to a local first responder or other essential worker (3pts.)
  • Pick up litter you see on the playgrounds (2pt.)
  • Donate to the food shelf or other local charity (3pts.)
  • Write a thank you note to someone in the school.  Think about people who often work behind the scenes (cafeteria, janitors, administration, nurses, etc.) (3pts.)
Thank you letter to a custodian.

As classrooms participated they needed to include a mascot of their choice in all activities while documenting through video or pictures:

  1.  Create or find a mascot with your class.  A mascot can be something your class makes or an item from the classroom. Examples include a Flat Stanley type mascot, a lego character or a mitten.  Be creative and have fun with it.
  2.  Take a picture and/or 30 second video of each activity you complete and include your mascot in the picture.    Keep track of your points 
  3. Make a recording of you introducing the Winter Fest Challenge to your class for an automatic 5 points to kick off the challenge!
Reading and playing math games with a mascot.

Teachers and students were engaged and smiling throughout selected challenges and this opportunity provided classrooms to continue building those relationships with one another that are so critically important.

Steve Emery is the Elementary Principal of Georgia Elementary Middle School. He is a regular contributor to THE FWSU STORY. You can follow him @Emery_Gems.

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