Bilhartz Elementary Physical Education Coach Kendall Graves holds ZOOM workouts with his students and their families every Friday. His first virtual workout April 17 drew 34 students, but the group grew to 80 families for the next workout April 24.
Coach Graves kicks off his ZOOM meetings by talking to the kids and asking how they’ve been doing while staying at home. Then they get going with their gym motto: “Love Ourselves, Be the Best I can Be, and Learn As Much as I Can!”
“A life goal of mine has always been to help people smile and feel special. Each student that I teach I adopt as my own”. No one should ever feel insignificant or feel like they are not able to reach a goal they desire. Before the COVID-19 pandemic forced us to keep our distance, being a teacher helped me combine these ideals, with an opportunity to reach at least 150 students each day,” Coach Graves said.
Coach Graves ZOOM Workout
“During this time of quarantine I have missed each one of my students. I decided to use the ZOOM platform that teachers around the world are already using. Many students do not find fun in exercising but I strive to teach them you can make just about anything that requires work. As a person who loves challenges I decided to take on connecting with students by starting a weekly ‘Coach Graves ZOOM Workout.’ We work out, play an activity so they can move around, and chat with me individually. I can also reach them socially and emotionally as I did in my classroom. This allows me to workout with them, play a game with them, and show I’m invested in them. I talk to each student individually so they know I not only care about their well-being, but their health, and understand they ARE special,” he added.
Coach Graves leads his students through ten different exercises and activities while playing high-energy, contemporary music the kids like. They also play ‘Simon Says’ or have an in-home scavenger hunt where they bring items to show and share with everyone.
The idea grew out of Coach Graves’ desire to see his students and to encourage them to remain active. He has taught at Bilhartz Elementary School for ten years, and his Zoom meetings have allowed him to see current students’ siblings that he used to teach. His goal is to reach the Zoom maximum of 100 students. The next workout is at 3 p.m. May 1.
Bilhartz Elementary Students’ Virtual Workouts
“In the first session there were 34 students who joined, and 80 plus students joined the next week. I realized we can get to the ZOOM max capacity of 100 students in only three tries! I want my students to know we may be distant from one another but we can still get our workout and ‘Fun On.’ I always thank them for not holding back, joining me, and not letting the distance between us keep us from being healthy and having fun. Letting my guard down and communicating to students and parents how much I care for them allows me to connect with SO many students for over ten years. Now it’s a motivator for keeping everyone happy during this time of not knowing when we’ll be in close proximity again,” he said.
“Once we surpass our old count of 86 students this Friday, and reach the 100 students joining mark, my next goal will be to connect with 300 students using the “Coach Graves ZOOM Workout”. I want to show my students that WE can do it! We can make Bilhartz Elementary history, and have fun in the process! I always tell them not to use the term ‘I can’t,’ and we can prove this by reaching this goal. Reaching 300 students/families will be over half the students enrolled at Bilhartz Elementary,” Coach Graves said.
“I also have to thank my administration: Mrs. Harris (Principal), Mrs. Lopez (Assistant Principal), and many other parents and teachers at Bilhartz who encouraged this process. They helped push toward making so many connections in so many homes. This will only get better in this time of uncertainty,” Coach Graves said. “We can’t let this stop us from conquering goals, completing challenges, and being great!”