APS Education Column: Sumner students riding into the future

Published 6:30 am Saturday, October 2, 2021

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By Shiela Berger

Sumner Elementary Principal

Earlier this year, Sumner Elementary students in grades 3 and 4 were part of a new curriculum titled Walk! Bike! Fun!  During this two-week unit, students were able to develop their bike riding and safety skills with the help of a fleet of bicycles that were loaned to the school by the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota.

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The Walk! Bike Fun! curriculum focuses on bike safety, how to ride a bike on a public road, following traffic signs, and gaining physical coordination.  Students were able to use their growth mindset, believing that they could learn and be successful at things that are hard.  According to Derek Picha, Elementary Physical Education teacher at Sumner, at the start of the unit, five percent of the students had not mastered riding a bike.

Mr. Picha was able to schedule this bike unit for students after completing a curriculum training during the summer.  The bicycles arrived in a trailer which remained at the school for the duration of the unit.  Once students mastered maneuvering their bikes on the playground, the finale of the unit was a neighborhood bike ride.  For many students, this was a first-time experience, which was met with some nervousness in the beginning.  The neighborhood ride was an enormous success and kids were excited to try out their new skills at home!

Several students at Sumner were asked what they learned during the unit:

Dagito: “Wear a helmet and how to use the brakes better.”

Daniel: “A perfect bike is one that you can reach with your tippy toes instead of your whole foot.”

AJ: “Don’t drive on the sidewalk.”

Obe: “Keep your eyes on the road and don’t look at your feet.”

Jaden: “Try not to fall over or go in front of traffic.”

All in all, this was a very successful unit that helped teach our students many things, from how to ride a bike safely through to the importance of perseverance.  All of us at Sumner are looking forward to next year’s Walk! Bike! Fun! unit at Sumner!