Why Start A Snowshoe School Program?

Thoughts about Snowshoeing
By Jeannie Trautman
Physical Education Teacher
Great Falls Elementary School
Fairfax County, VA.

Editor's Note: Jeannie is one of several presenters of a snowshoe session scheduled during the National Conference for the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance in April, 2006 in Salt Lake City.

What other winter activity is there where as soon as you get your equipment on you are an expert?

SNOWSHOEING!

As a physical education teacher in Fairfax County Public Schools for 20 years, I was quickly drawn to the idea of introducing snowshoeing to my students for two reasons. Snowshoeing offers:

a) a winter activity outside
b) something new to have in my curriculum

When my school, Great Falls Elementary, was one of six schools (three elementary, two middle and one high school) chosen for the first year of a snowshoe pilot program in Fairfax County, I was given enough snowshoes for my students to use - and a blank slate. This was actually the fun part because I could teach the students ANYTHING.

After doing some research on the web and purchasing a curriculum guide called Winter Kids, I came up with three things I wanted to teach:

  • Snowshoeing

  • Weather

  • Dressing for winter activities

I feel my first year was a success and my students NEVER saw the snow with their snowshoes. It didn't’t matter. The snowshoes are so rugged that you can use them on grass.

Getting Snowshoes

Because ours is a pilot program, I didn't’t have to worry about securing the snowshoes. Four snowshoe companies provided the snowshoes for this special pilot program. (Editor’s Note: For obtaining snowshoes, check out the companies here). This year, three elementary schools are participating in the program so that shoes do not have to be rotated. In addition, as this is our second year, I was able to buy a few pairs of snowshoes from money donated by my PTA. Over the course of a few years, I should be able to have a full set of snowshoes for my own school.

Class Organization

Each morning I lined the wall of my gym with the snowshoes side by side according to size and manufacturer. This made it easy for my students to find “their” pair. If a student chooses a different pair each class, then the student has to learn a new binding set up. This takes away from class participation time.

Storage is the most challenging aspect of the snowshoe unit. Fifty to sixty snowshoes take up space. We chose to place them in huge Rubbermaid containers. Since we did not have an abundance of snow in Virginia last year, we used tongue depressors to scrap off mud and snow after each use. The 2013-2014 winter is shaping up as a “snowy winter”.

Activities

Each of my lessons that involved activity could be done in the gym and outside with the snowshoes. This allowed the unit to move smoothly because there will always be a day when the students cannot go outside (i.e. rain).

Why Start A Snowshoe School Program?

Thoughts about Snowshoeing
By Jeannie Trautman
Physical Education Teacher
Great Falls Elementary School
Fairfax County, VA.

Editor's Note: Jeannie is one of several presenters of a snowshoe session scheduled during the National Conference for the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance in April, 2006 in Salt Lake City.

What other winter activity is there where as soon as you get your equipment on you are an expert?

SNOWSHOEING!

As a physical education teacher in Fairfax County Public Schools for 20 years, I was quickly drawn to the idea of introducing snowshoeing to my students for two reasons. Snowshoeing offers:

a) a winter activity outside
b) something new to have in my curriculum

When my school, Great Falls Elementary, was one of six schools (three elementary, two middle and one high school) chosen for the first year of a snowshoe pilot program in Fairfax County, I was given enough snowshoes for my students to use - and a blank slate. This was actually the fun part because I could teach the students ANYTHING.

After doing some research on the web and purchasing a curriculum guide called Winter Kids, I came up with three things I wanted to teach:

  • Snowshoeing

  • Weather

  • Dressing for winter activities

I feel my first year was a success and my students NEVER saw the snow with their snowshoes. It didn't’t matter. The snowshoes are so rugged that you can use them on grass.

Getting Snowshoes

Because ours is a pilot program, I didn't’t have to worry about securing the snowshoes. Four snowshoe companies provided the snowshoes for this special pilot program. (Editor’s Note: For obtaining snowshoes, check out the companies here). This year, three elementary schools are participating in the program so that shoes do not have to be rotated. In addition, as this is our second year, I was able to buy a few pairs of snowshoes from money donated by my PTA. Over the course of a few years, I should be able to have a full set of snowshoes for my own school.

Class Organization

Each morning I lined the wall of my gym with the snowshoes side by side according to size and manufacturer. This made it easy for my students to find “their” pair. If a student chooses a different pair each class, then the student has to learn a new binding set up. This takes away from class participation time.

Storage is the most challenging aspect of the snowshoe unit. Fifty to sixty snowshoes take up space. We chose to place them in huge Rubbermaid containers. Since we did not have an abundance of snow in Virginia last year, we used tongue depressors to scrap off mud and snow after each use. The 2013-2014 winter is shaping up as a “snowy winter”.

Activities

Each of my lessons that involved activity could be done in the gym and outside with the snowshoes. This allowed the unit to move smoothly because there will always be a day when the students cannot go outside (i.e. rain).