Photo by Heather Middleton
By Curt Yeomans
After two weeks of high-stakes testing, students at East Clayton Elementary School are taking a little time this week for some good, old-fashioned games of tug of war.
On April 22, the school finished administering the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests, said the school's physical education teacher, Carol Braswell. The CRCTs are the state-wide, standardized tests the Georgia Department of Education uses to help determine if a school has made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP).
With the high-anxiety testing completed, the school is conducting "Field Days" all of this week, in which students get to run, jump rope, play basketball, do the "limbo" and participate in other fun activities. Each day, a different grade level gets to enjoy field day, Braswell said.
On Tuesday, it was the third-grade's turn.
"The purpose of a Field Day is just for everyone to have fun being active," Braswell said. "It's a good celebration for everyone after the CRCTs."
Students said the opportunity to take a day to relax from class work was a welcome break, after spending nearly nine months studying mathematics, social studies, science and language arts, and then taking the CRCTs. The parents of many of the pupils came to the school as volunteers to help teachers out on "Field Day."
"Field Day is like a vacation, only at school," said third-grader Peyton Holston, 9.
Holston's classmate, Tamala Ramey, 8, explained: "A lot of what we do in school [through the school year] is fun, but it's much better on Field Day, because everybody is here, including our parents."
Students had varying opinions about what was the best part of "Field Day." Third-grader Caleb Newton, 9, said he liked the emphasis that is put on sportsmanship. "I enjoy everybody having good sportsmanship, and working together as a team," he said. "Everybody is trying hard to win the activities."
Another third-grader, Jordyn Beslow, 9, said she liked the health aspect of getting to participate in the various activities. She said her favorite activities were the ones involving running, such as the huddle race, the 50-yard dash, and the three-legged race.
"It gets you in the right position to loose weight, because you're getting exercise, and some of the throwing exercises help you get good muscles," Beslow said.
Third-grader Danielle Hines, 9, said she enjoyed just about every activity that was included this year, ranging from the sack races, to the tennis ball throwing competition, to doing the limbo. "I just had so much fun doing everything, that I liked it all," she said.
Third-grader Alexia Jones, 8, said the part of "Field Day" she was looking forward to, though, was the final event of the day -- the tug of war competition -- in which classes work together as a team to beat other classes from their grade level.
"Last year, it was a lot of fun, so that is the part of'Field Day that I now look forward to every year," Jones added.