CLAYTON — Third-graders at East Clayton Elementary School hopped on one foot, skipped across the basketball court and tried to “criss-cross” all while jumping rope.
Last Wednesday, McDonald’s owners and operators in the Triangle donated 26 jump ropes to East Clayton through an initiative called “Skipping 4 School.”
“We’re using them for five-minute warm-ups during PE,” said Larry LaPlante, who teaches physical education at East Clayton. He likes to play music and let the kids jump rope before they do their regular PE activities.
All students in grades 1-5 at East Clayton will use the jump ropes.
McDonald’s gave jump ropes to more than 180 elementary schools in the Triangle and Eastern North Carolina. Each school received a poster and marker to track their jump rope time during PE and recess. The schools will compete against each other for the chance to win a grand prize of $1,000.
Last week, the third-graders at East Clayton had fun logging minutes for the McDonald’s competition – and competing against each other. Jacob Buck and Krista Vera competed to see who could jump through the rope while criss-crossing their arms.
Buck said jumping rope in PE is one of his favorite activities. “I like jump-roping and the parachute,” he said.
Another student shouted: “I can do it backward. That’s easy.”
Right now in PE, East Clayton students are doing physical-fitness tests. Though not required by the school, LaPlante does the tests twice a year. Students run a half-mile, do a shuttle run and perform pushups and curlups.
“I grade them on showing up and putting their effort into it,” LaPlante said. “I don’t want it to be stressful to them.”
LaPlante said he tells students they are responsible for 50 percent of a healthy lifestyle; their parents and school are responsible for the other half.
First, he tells them, it’s up to their parents and school to give them a healthy meal. After that, it’s up to the students to be as active as they can, whether it’s riding a bike, playing outside or jumping ropefor fun.
LaPlante says his PE classes are 85 percent movement and 15 percent lecture time.
Schools in the McDonald’s competition will compete in one of three divisions: schools with fewer than 350 students; 350 to 750 students; and more than 750 students.
Ten other schools in Johnston County are taking part in the competition, which runs through Oct. 25.