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Uniontown kids try Zumbatomic

Thursday, January 24, 2013

(Photo)
Youngsters do Zumbatomic in the West Bourbon Elementary School gym before class. Teacher and coach Jackie Hall leads the students, who are pictured watching the dance moves projected on a wall of the gym.(Loretta George/Tribune)
Teacher Jackie Hall had an idea to get kids more active.

She decided to use the 20-25 minutes the students at West Bourbon Elementary School sit in the gym before hitting the books to introduce them to Zumbatomic. The program is part of "Let's Move In Kansas."

Approximately 150 students take part, but participation is optional, she said.

(Photo)
West Bourbon Elementary students do Zumbatomic before class.
(Loretta George/Tribune)
"This isn't formal dance. If you are wrong, (it's) no big deal, as long as you are moving," Hall told students when she started Zumba for kids on Jan. 14.

The children seem to enjoy it. Indeed, as soon as they entered the gym, several students threw down their coats and bags and ran to join their peers.

Feedback from teachers has also been positive.

(Photo)
West Bourbon Elementary School students try out some Zumbatomics before class.(Loretta George/Tribune)
"The teachers say they (the students) are having fun. I'm happy it pays off in the classroom. They have more focus," Hall said.

WBE students get 30 minutes of physical education each day, along with a 30-minute recess, so having Zumba before classes start gives them more than an hour a day of physical exercise, she said.

During the Zumbatomic classes, students go through four to five routines following their breakfast, or getting off the school bus.

This is part of a "Let's Move In Kansas" program, which tries to incorporate more physical activities into schools.

"Let's Move in Kansas Schools" is a new initiative designed to provide training for a select group of Kansas teachers to become certified directors of physical activity for their schools. The overarching goal is to ensure that every school delivers a comprehensive school physical activity program with quality physical education as the foundation, so youth will develop the knowledge, skills and confidence to be physically active for a lifetime, according to the Healthy Kansas Schools website.

"I had to come up with a plan. I thought if I could project up on the wall the Zumbatomic kids' version, ... I can get a little more action. Some of the students are going on You Tube at home and getting their families involved. They seem to all enjoy it," Hall said.

The Zumbatomic dance moves are shown on the gym's wall at WBE with a projector, which is connected to a computer. The projector was provided through funds from the cookie dough fundraiser the school has each year.

Hall is in the process of earning certification to become a director of physical education through the National Association of Sport and Physical Education, which also ties into the Kansas Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, she said.

Hall, who is also the Uniontown High School volleyball coach, teaches elementary physical education, coaches track and volleyball and serves as Uniontown Junior High School athletic director.



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