The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • Snow.2
    FIRST SNOW—Heavy, wet flakes piled deep on tree branches—and windshields—as the area received its first significant snowfall of the season. “Usually it begins with a dusting or two,” said George Isobar, Morenci’s observer for the National Weather Service, “but this time it came with a vengeance.” By the end of the day Saturday, a little over four inches of snow was on the ground. Now comes the thaw with temperatures in the 40s and 50s for three days.
  • Front.sculpt
    SKEWERS, gumdrops, and marshmallows are all that’s needed to create interesting shapes and designs for Layla McDowell Saturday at Stair District Library’s “Sculptamania!” Open House. The program featuring design games and materials is one part of a larger project funded by a $7,500 Curiosity Creates grant from Disney and the American Library Association. Additional photos are on page 7.
    Morenci marching band members took to the field Friday night dressed for Halloween during the Bulldog’s first playoff game. Morenci fans had a bit of a scare until the fourth quarter when the Bulldogs scored 30 points to leave Lenawee Christian School behind. Whiteford visits Morenci this Friday for the district championship game. From the left is Clayton Borton, Morgan Merillat and James O’Brien.
    DNA PUZZLE—Mitchell Storrs and Wyatt Mohr tackle a puzzle representing the structure of DNA. There’s only one correct way for all the pieces to fit. It’s one of the new materials that can be used in both biology and chemistry classes, said teacher Loretta Cox.
  • Front.tar.wide
    A TRAFFIC control worker stands in the middle of Morenci’s Main Street Tuesday morning, waiting for the next flow of vehicles to be let through from the west. The dusty gravel surface was sealed with a layer of tar, leaving only the application of paint for new striping. The project was completed in conjunction with county road commission work west of Morenci.
  • Front.pull
    JUNIORS Jazmin Smith and Trevor Corkle struggle against a team from the sophomore class Friday during the annual tug of war at the Homecoming Games pep rally. Even the seniors struggled against the sophomores who won the competition. At the main course of the day, the Bulldog football team struggled against Whiteford in a homecoming loss.
    YOUNG soccer players surived a chilly morning Saturday in Morenci’s PTO league. From the left is Emma Cordts, Wayne Corser, Carter and Levi Seitz, Briella York and Drew Joughin. Two more weeks of soccer remain for this season.
  • Front.ropes
    BOWEN BAUMGARTNER of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge constructed by the Tecumseh Boy Scout troop Sunday at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The bridge was one of many challenges, displays and games set up for the annual Youth Jamboree by the Michigan DNR. Additional photos on are the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.homecoming Court
    One of four senior candidates will be crowned the fall homecoming queen during half-time of this week’s Morenci-Whiteford football game. In the back row (left to right) is exchange student Kinga Vidor (her escort will be Caylob Alcock), seniors Alli VanBrandt (escorted by Sam Cool), Larissa Elliott (escorted by Clayton Borton), Samantha Wright (escorted by JJ Elarton) and Justis McCowan (escorted by Austin Gilson), and exchange student Rebecca Rosenberger (escorted by Garrett Smith). Front row freshman court member Allie Kaiser (escorted by Anthony Thomas), sophomore Marlee Blaker (escorted by Nate Elarton) and junior Cheyenne Stone (escorted by Dominick Sell).
  • Front.park.lights
    GETTING READY—Jerad Gleckler pounds nails to secure a string of holiday lights on the side of the Wakefield Park concession stand while other members of the Volunteer Club and others hold them in place. The volunteers showed up Sunday afternoon to string lights at the park. The decorating project will continue this Sunday. Denise Walsh is in charge of the effort this year.
  • Front.homecoming Court
  • Cheer
  • Front.park.lights
  • Front.pull
  • Front.ropes
  • Front.sculpt
  • Front.tar.wide
  • Front.toss
  • Front.walk Across

Researching exercise step by step

Written by David Green.


Where are all the kids?

Gorham Fayette elementary school physical education teacher Todd Mitchell has a strong hunch.

When he was his students’ age, he headed home after school, changed into his play clothes, then went back outside again. These days, said Mitchell, students seem more apt to park themselves in front of the TV, video game console, computer or any combination thereof, rather than engaging in healthy outdoor fun.

Since kids aren’t as physically active outside of school as they used to be, Mitchell sought to maximize the exercise they get in his classroom. He even made a study out of it.

Mitchell is one of seven Gorham Fayette elementary school teachers who is nearing completion of a correspondence master’s degree program through Marygrove College in Detroit.faype

As part of the 18-month program, teachers were required to identify one area of concern in their classroom, devise strategies to address and alleviate that concern, and compile data to determine whether the strategies were effective.

Mitchell had to be inventive when it came to gathering data. His strategies for increasing physical activity involved both creating more time for exercise and providing more motivation to do so.

Measuring how much time he was saving with new classroom management options could be achieved with a basic stop watch, but it was harder to put a number on just how much exercise students were getting.

He decided to use pedometers—bottle cap-size devices that measure the amount of footsteps a student takes—to provide the data.

In the beginning, the pedometers themselves were enough to get students jumping an extra jack or two.

“At first, the kids thought they were really neat and would move around just to have a high number at the end of class,” Mitchell said. He gave the students three weeks to grow accustomed to wearing the devices, recording the number of steps each student took during a given gym class.

Then, he observed how the fifth grade class responded to the promise of rewards. Students who achieved progressively higher step counts each day had a sticker placed next to their name on a poster board. The sticker was more than enough to motivate students to move around more during class.

“They made a game of it,” he said. “They were competing against themselves and against their classmates.”

It was competition between classes that proved most effective in keeping students on the move.

Mrs. Rufenacht’s and Mrs. Morr’s third grade classes were also given a three-week period to adjust to wearing the pedometers. The students were then told the two classes were competing for the highest total step count.

From the first day of the three-week experiment, step counts jumped substantially—as much as 20 to 30 percent, Mitchell said. Students moved even when they didn’t have to.

For example, students who were tagged out during a game of color tag would jump up and down and walk around as they waited for the next game to begin.

“Usually, they just stand around,” Mitchell said.

However, he acknowledged that constant competition isn’t a good thing for elementary school kids, so he also focused on refining the management of his classroom to save time.

Previously, students would arrive for gym class, stand for attendance, perform warm-up exercises, then stand in line for equipment.

Now, Mitchell sets the equipment in hula hoops near where the students warm up and he conducts attendance as students exercise. He found the adjustments saved about 30 seconds at the beginning and end of class.

• In addition to Mitchell, six other teachers—Beth Fruchey, Beth Morr, Jessica Burgermeister, Ruby Leininger, Kylie Rufenacht and Amy Herman—are close to completing the Marygrove College master’s program.

    - March 7, 2007

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2015