School Extra – February 7, 2018

By Bob Zimmerman

“A multiplied by 7 equals 21, solve for A, then run that many laps” is a phrase I never heard in any physical education class I ever had. Maple Lake Elementary physical education teacher, Mr. Adam Ronnenberg, told me he uses mental math problems as just one way to engage his student’s brains in addition to their bodies. His classes are about moving for physical fitness, learning why fitness is important, and connecting information from other classes to reinforce the overall learning process.

One of the units he will be teaching in February is “Jump for the Heart” based on information from the American Heart Association. Jumping rope is the main event and there are many other related health and anatomy topics to be covered. Climbing is another unit where students learn lessons in positive risk taking and personal achievement. Learning the physical skills needed for a variety of team sports spills over into teaching about team work and how to handle both winning and losing.

Mr. Ronnenberg teaches nine elementary classes and one 8th grade class each day. The students alternate P. E. with music instruction every other day, which results in each students having 5 days of PE and 5 days of music every two weeks. Classes are 30 minutes long and are “very patterned, organized and structured.” There are National P.E. Standards that define what students should know and be able to do at their grade level. There are guidelines for when students should be introduced to the various aspects of P.E., when they should be expanding their skills, and when they should have mastered them. Each student is graded on behavior and effort based on Irish Pride expectations as well as on skill acquisition and understanding.

Besides keeping track of 381 elementary students, Mr. Ronnenberg monitors and maintains all the equipment needed for his classes. He also coaches jr. high football in the fall, girls basketball in the winter, and supervises the weight room in the spring. When time permits, he indulges a hobby by practicing his yo-yo skills. He is looking forward to National Yo-Yo Master Dazzling Dave coming to school in March for two days to demonstrate and teach techniques for using the spinning device. Related subjects include hand-eye coordination, goal setting, and the fundamentals of physics along with a healthy dose of “have fun.” The PTA provides support for the former Technology Education teacher to present at our school and more information about him is at

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