Laurel Elementary students put on their dancing shoes and took the floor last week as part of a Fuel Up to Play 60 dance assembly.
Fifth-graders danced the Wobble; fourth-graders took on the Cupid Shuffle; third-graders boogied to the Cha-Cha Slide; second-graders buzzed through the Electric Slide; first-graders bopped to the Continental Drift [from the movie "Ice Age: Continental Drift"]; and kindergartners hopped along to "Jump On It."
"It was mostly dances you'd find at a wedding," said Dareyl Plue, physical education teacher at Laurel. "We've been planning this for about a month, and the kids have been practicing in physical education class. We have a dance unit anyway, so we just decided to move it up."
Play 60 is an NFL program that encourages students to take charge of their own health. According to its website, Fuel Up to Play 60 was founded by the National Dairy Council and the National Football League in collaboration with USDA. By choosing healthy foods and being active every day, students can win NFL prizes.
Programs like Play 60 encourage students to have fun while being active, Plue said.
"It's exercise, but it's fun," he said. "We were practicing over and over and you could tell, they were getting a little tired. But when you have fun, you don't feel as tired."
Students at Laurel Elementary keep track of their daily nutrition and activities online through the Play 60 website, with the goal of being active for 60 minutes a day, every day. Being able to see their progress gets the kids excited, Plue said, and when they see their friends are logging more minutes of activity than they are, it inspires them to do more.
This is the second year in a row Laurel has been named a Touchdown School by Play 60, which means it has successfully completed all steps of the Play 60 program, like holding healthy events enlisting the support of students and staff.
Winners of the school-wide Play 60 competition were announced at the assembly, and the five winning students stood on the field next to the Washington cheerleaders at FedEx Field Sunday, Dec. 1, as the Redskins players were introduced before the game against the New York Giants. The Laurel students, along with 19 others from the Washington area, appeared on the live television coverage of the game.
The dance assembly was part of nationwide Play 60 competition, Plue said. The school will learn later this year how its students fared; the grand prize is an NFL player appearance at the school.