WARREN, NJ - Flexible Instruction days may present challenges and hardships but sometimes there is a silver lining. On May 21, 2020, all Warren Township Schools’ (WTS) students participated in a Virtual Field Day created by the WTS Physical Education (PE) Department. Although the children weren’t able to play games with their friends and teachers, for the first time, many were able to enjoy Field Day with their siblings and other family members, a special experience made possible by being at home.
For weeks leading up to the special event, the PE department met through Google Meet and created and released teaser videos of themselves and other district employees preparing for the big day, to boost morale. Their marketing worked, the district received hundreds of pictures and videos of students along with their siblings and parents, smiling, running, jumping, playing, and overall just having a grand old time.
First-year Warren Middle School PE teacher, Mr. Timothy Fabiano built a website that gave the rules and guidelines and activity forms for the day. Additionally, Mr. Andrew Ahimovic, Ms. Aubrey Pellerin, Mrs. Danielle Buzby, Mr. Douglas Clark, Mr. Jeffrey Sutherland, Mr. John Tshilas, Mr. Kurt Reck, Mrs. Laura Lamson, Mr. Nicholas Bayachek, Mr. Sean Mealey and Fabiano created activity preview videos that were added to the website. Students were invited to watch the activity preview videos so the families could gather supplies from around their homes to prepare. WTS Virtual Field Day Website
Students were asked to select at least 8-10 games out of a list of 20 to participate in. The games that were offered included; Egg and Spoon relay, Throwing for Accuracy, Bowl Ball, Sock Throw for Distance, Sack Race, Paper Plane Corn Hole, Water Sponge Relay, Water Bottle Trap, Frisbee Throw, Mini Golf, Obstacle Course, Towel Flip, Paper Plane Throwing for Distance, Broom Balance, Dizzy Bat, Scavenger Hunt, Sock-er Skee Ball, Speed Fold, Water Bottle Flip, and Target Practice.
Although these games didn’t include some of the classics like the” teachers vs. students” kickball game, the students still rated the day very high! “ I was apprehensive about field day because it is one of the biggest days at Mt Horeb. The kids have been waiting to play in the student/teacher kickball game since they were in Kindergarten. Everyone was so sad that it wasn’t going to happen this year, especially the 5th graders. I know Ryan was so sad about missing it, along with so much else they are missing, so I did my best to make the day as fun as I could. I set up a bunch of events, we had a “water station”, burgers and ice pops (like we would have had if we were at school), and Ryan ended up soaking wet (like he would have been if it was the real field day!” - Mrs. Stacy Sackett, parent of Mt. Horeb student Ryan Sacket and WMS student, Carly Sackett.
There were other virtual Field Day options through the Online Physical Educators Network (OPEN), however, Lamson and Pellerin decided to get the entire PE department together to create a district-wide event.
“Field Day has always been an important tradition in elementary schools, so for us, it was a no brainer. It wasn’t a matter of IF we were going to have a virtual field day, but WHEN. A lot of districts were jumping on board with OPEN’s National Field Day but we felt it was really important that during this time of social distancing, we create a more personal event where students could connect with their families and community,” added Lamson.
Pellerin, who shares her time between Mt. Horeb and Central School said, “It started as a K-5 event and a decision was later made to extend the invitation to the middle school students so entire families could participate together. The day turned out better than we could have ever imagined. The feedback from students, parents, and teachers was so overwhelmingly positive. Thanks to everyone who helped make Warren Township Schools Virtual Field Day 2020 a success!”
Pictures courtesy of Warren Township Families:
1. The Kang Family. Mia, Sydney, and Trey participate in sack races with their parents.
2. Alexis and Sarah Lindy enjoyed Field Day 2020.
3. Flynn Brezee shoots some hoops during Field Day 2020.
4. Nathan Lewis chose Paper Plane Throwing for Distance as an activity for Field Day.
5. Ryan and Carly Sackett played, siblings from two separate schools were able to enjoy Field Day together.
6. Madison and Hunter Slater enjoyed the Egg Relay races together!