January 15, 2015

Scooter Board City, Lindsey-style!

P.E. teacher Lindsey Hilliard, with her children
Our Great Room this month has been turned into an elaborate urban landscape. The room has been laid out in the form of streets and, in each class, all students have been deeply involved in a complex exercise, constantly moving their bodies and invested in the activity.

Welcome to Scooter Board City, Lindsey-style!

P.E. teacher Lindsey Hilliard is new to her position at Friends’ this year, but this is her third tour of duty at our school. In 2006-07, the year she was married, she participated in our Teacher Training Program as a TC in 4th and 5th grade.  After teaching for two years in inner city schools in Denver, Lindsey returned to Friends’ as a preschool teacher, forming a great team with Jessie Vanden Hogen in the east room. 

A year later, her husband’s Zach’s job took them to Houston. While raising her young family in Texas, Lindsey taught parent-child classes for children aged birth to three and their parents. Seizing an opportunity to return to Colorado to be closer to family, the Hilliards are back at Friends’, Lindsey as the P.E. teacher for both the elementary school and the preschool. Here with her this time are her daughter Riley in Kindergarten and her son River in preschool. Lindsey will also be teaching the 5th grade Passageworks program this semester.

Lindsey was introduced to Scooter Board City by her mentor, Kathy Sherwood.

Scooter Board City
As Kathy describes it, “Scooter Board City is one element of our core strength unit in P.E., but over the years it has turned into so much more. It is one of the most anticipated P.E. activities of the year.

It involves physical fitness, math, economics, cooperation, rules of the road, and lots of serious fun.

First, potential drivers get a driver’s permit, which allows them to drive with a fellow student and learn the rules of the road. If successful, they can eventually get a license to drive by themselves. Citizens of Scooter Board City earn money by doing calisthenics at various work stations, which they then use to buy gas, get their car washed, purchase toll way passes, pay taxes, and sometimes even buy a car for a friend.  Unfortunately, sometimes things don't go smoothly and they will also need to pay parking tickets, traffic fines, or replace a lost license.

Scooter Board City also employs shopkeepers, bankers, and police officers. These jobs require good math skills and strong understanding of the traffic rules. With a line of customers, shopkeepers need to be good at adding and subtracting quickly, making change, and crowd control. Officers need to know all the traffic laws and the appropriate fines. Police have the right to issue tickets and impound cars. Drivers have the right to appeal the officer’s decisions but they also know that if they lose the argument, they will need to pay court fees as well.

Over the years, the kids’ creative suggestions have been incorporated making this appear very complicated. The number of strategies and rules and how strictly they are enforced increases as the kids get older. Watching a young child who is not able to figure out right from left suddenly get it when there is the possibility of a ticket involved is amazing. Or listening in as a clever investor tries to buy up limited supplies in the hopes that when the store runs out they can resell them at a profit. The younger classes often spend most of their cash on car washes, and filling up the cars with gas, and the older classes amass savings.

No matter, what type of learner they are or how they choose to participate, all the kids exercise for about 40 minutes non-stop.”

That’s a lot of work! The best part is the children don’t even realize how hard they are working or how much they are learning.

For Lindsey, Scooter Board City typifies in a magical way the amazing integrated learning for which Friends’ is so well known. Integrated learning is when many school subjects and forms of learning are blended together in one activity.  She brings in math, literacy, using money, learning to take turns, and having kids practice being in different roles.  She loves watching what drives different children.  She even weaves in a lesson about taxation – it turns out the assets that each child builds in the game are reduced by a visit from the tax collector between classes.  Real life lessons indeed!

Lindsey is thrilled to be back at Friends’ School. When looking in the Houston and Denver areas for schools for her children, she says that nothing quite compared to Friends’. She says that having her kids in this school, where she also teaches, is “like a dream”. We think it’s pretty dreamy that she is back with us.

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