Originally published Feb. 10, 2022 in the Tyler Morning Telegraph.
By Ana Conejo
Second grade students at Tyler ISD’s Owen’s Elementary are learning the value of teamwork as they navigate through a replica model of the Winter Olympics. Filled with tunnel vision, students have their eyes on the prize to win the gold medals for effort and attitude.
Holly Drain, physical education teacher at Owens Elementary, has put her creativity and skills to the test and turned the campus gymnasium into a training area for the school's own version of the Winter Olympics.
“As a P.E. teacher, every four years as the Olympics rolls around this is just something that I love to do for the students to get them engaged in current events,” she said. “It's an easy tie in with physical education because all the things that we’re learning it's just what these Olympic athletes have already gone through themselves, they were also young and probably in a P.E. class where they were learning about local motor skills, how to move, and the things that were important such as working as a team and people who are different than you.”
The Winter Olympics activity consists of several Games-inspired stations such as torch run, curling, biathlon, snowboarding, bobsled, freestyle skiing and speed skating.
During classroom time, students navigated through areas by running around the gym holding a ‘torch’ which was a pool noodle, skating using paper plates, playing hockey while dribbling through cones, and pushing each other on scooters with the goal of hitting the target.
Second-grader Hadley Keul finds interest in the Olympics and was amazed by the gymnasium transformation.
“I think the Winter Olympics is very fun, and I think it's cool we’re training for them,” Keul said. “It’s amazing.”
Drain hopes to inspire students by showing them physical education is fun while also keeping them connected with current events.
“Physical education is fun and we can tie in things that we’re doing right now in our classes and make it relevant to what is around them. They’re already doing it in my class as they’re working as a team and learning to be physically fit. We want them to see Olympians achieve the highest level of success and believe they can do it too,” she said.