Monday, May 28, 2012

The Joy of the Jog-A-Thon and a Freebie!

Don't you don't love these cute tennis shoes?  I think one of the reasons I agreed to help organize the Jog-A-Thon was the chance to use these cute sneaks! (Don't you just love the little hearts?)

Click on the picture to take you to KPM Doodles
I'm an INDOOR girl. Yet, as the advisor of the Student Council, I gave in to the pleas of the Council members because they really wanted to have a Jog-A-Thon.  Thankfully, our PE teacher (hereafter called Coach!) is an OUTDOOR person. I agreed to be responsible for all aspects related to "printing and purchasing" since these things happen indoors. Thankfully, Coach agreed to take care of the rest.

I happily pulled up my Sneaker Attack clip art and started creating. By the way, for everything we designed, I ran the pages off in black and white. The yellow sneakers came out perfectly in gray scale. And the colored ones were adorable on posters and thank you notes.

First, we put out a call for parent volunteers. We are a small school, so we don't get many volunteers, but we always ask. I think we may have gotten eight parents. Maybe it was five. It didn't matter. The ones that helped were nice. And the Student Council filled in and helped wherever needed.

The next step involved the collection envelopes. We weren't expecting to collect a lot of money, but we also know that every little bit helps--especially in a time when schools have such limited finances. We ran off the sheet below and glued the pages to the outside of manila envelopes. Each student took home an envelope like the one below.

I think we got a few more than thirty envelopes back. Although we hoped to raise a little money, fundraising was a secondary concern. The Jog-A-Thon was an activity meant for fitness and fun.

We have had a Jog-A-Thon every spring for many years--a special time of community provided by our former PE teacher. Kids have fond memories of running and popsicles. I am all about helping to create memories for kids to collect. Oh, and I like the popsicles too!

Still, this envelope was my favorite. You can tell this sweet family really took the task to heart. And, for the record, all $20 was in the envelope. That last sponsor gets credit as "Paid."

Color-coded lap cards and safety pins were distributed to each classroom. Much like runners in a more formal "race," the kids wore their lap cards on the back of their shirts. This way, the kids focused on running and having fun rather than on accruing lap marks (although some serious runners ran almost the entire time!). No one lost their card or presented one that had been rolled up or ripped in half.

On the morning of the Jog-A-Thon, my sixth graders went to the kindergarten and first grade classrooms to pin on lap cards. They took this job quite seriously, working carefully and gently to pin the cards on their younger buddies without any tears (from either person in the partnership!) Students in older grades pinned the lap cards on each other. Most were crooked and drifted toward one shoulder, but they didn't care. It was a perfect day for running, partly cloudy, but warm enough for some good exercise--and there was obvious delight that there wouldn't be a bubble test on anything that happened!

We had two different times for running: Smaller kids before recess and bigger kids after recess. The track for the bigger kids was larger with the stations more spread out. Coach organized each of the "tracks" with water stations and teachers assigned to monitor and mark off lap completion.  In past years, we have had some difficulty with kids going to multiple people at the "lap finish line" to get their laps marked. This system eliminated that temptation.

Each grade level was color coded. There were "stations" with balloons, and water cups, and teachers assigned as markers. Students were directed to have their laps marked by a teacher of their same grade. And because we the grade level stations were spread out along the track, it was easy to keep track of kids and their efforts.

This system worked great! The music was playing, the kids were running, and most people were smiling. Overall, the behavior of the kids was excellent (a happy surprise considering the concerns I had about some of the "tough customers" headed to my classroom next year!) After a while, different teachers started adding embellishments to the marks on the lap cards. It became a little game to guess which "signature" was whose!  Here is evidence of a successful day.

Once we counted up the money (We just passed the $300 mark and there are a few more envelopes to count!), each family got a thank you postcard. This also served as a double-count system to be sure we kept our finances straight.

The popsicles were a delightful treat at the end of our Jog-A-Thon. And I've left a little treat for you too...

Many schools have used "Jog-A-Thon organizing companies" to orchestrate their events. As money becomes more scarce, school personnel are having to take responsibility for organizing this type of event on their own.  I've left a copy of the lap card, the collection envelope, and the thank you card on Just click on the pictures to take you there. I've left spaces for you to fill in the details, but perhaps these would best serve as a starting point if you want design the elements for your own Jog-A-Thon. And you can run over to KPM Doodles for a little clip art if you want to add some extra pizazz.

Happy running!