MPH Panama Practicum 2013: La Escuelita! What a Day!

Helen Chong

July 12, 2013

Physical Activity!

What a day!

Today our escuelita group was definitely challenged to be ?FLEXIBLE!?

The plan for today was originally to present an interactive nutritional presentation to our 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th grade children. Last night, we worked so diligently developing this presentation. However, this morning as soon as we met with the principal of the school, we found out that instead of the presentation, we will be doing physical activity with the 3rd and 5th graders. Our original plan with the physical activity was to do children?s yoga and soccer next week Wednesday. But we were literally given 5 minutes to improvise and create some fun physical activities to do with these children for 40 minutes. With Nicole and Roxanna taking the lead, our group constructed some physical activity games using soccer balls, basketballs, and dance moves.

Our first physical activity session was with the 3rd graders. Nicole divided the class into five groups of four by their birthdays, where each of our members was assigned to each group. Nicole then instructed the students to play a game in a circle, where each student in each group was given a number from 1-4. Then Nicole or whoever would stand in the middle and yell out a number from 1-4 while throwing a soccer ball to the sky. Once the ball lands on the ground, the students of each group assigned with their specific number and according to the number that was just yelled out would run out to the middle and play soccer. The team that got the most goals was the winners. Though there were several other activities that we did with these students, I will leave that for the other members of my group to write about. Interacting with these students outside of their classroom was a really neat way for me to bond with them, leaving me really excited for next week?s activities. They were attentive to the games and excited to spend some time outside with us.

Next, we had the 5th graders. Our team modified some of the physical activities to match their physical level. We began with the ball game, explained in the paragraph above. But in the middle of the game, students asked if they could be divided into two big groups and just play soccer. So we went ahead, had the students make their two teams, and played soccer with them till the end of class. Some of our group members noticed that there were no fences around this big concrete gym. Therefore, whenever the ball was kicked to far out of gym, students would need to jump down the hill into the trees to get ball.

Today was a surprise! Suddenly we were asked to make major changes to our schedule. I definitely learned my lesson of Flexibility and realized that these situations would most common occur once I am out working with people or communities.

About the MPH Panama Practicum

A group of University of Southern California graduate students are researching public health in Panama City, Panama, for a two-week international practicum, organized by the USC Master of Public Health (MPH) program. This post was excerpted from panama.usc.eduView all posts in this series »