Students Going Gaga at High Shoals Elementary

May 19th, 2014 | By Gary No Comments

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Screams of excitement are filling the gym these days at High Shoals Elementary and not for the singer Lady Gaga but for their new gaga pit.  A gaga what? you ask (that’s what I said, too).  A Gaga Pit.

The gaga pit is made of portable, 42”-high, plastic walls that are connected to form an enclosed square area where you play gaga ball.  What is gaga ball?  It is a really fun, fast-paced game that is better known in the Northeast and Midwest regions of the country.  A group of players in ‘the pit’ hit or punch a ball with their open hands (players can’t pick it up) and try to hit other players below the knee.  If you get hit or break one of the other rules of the game, you leave the pit and play continues until one player is left.

At High Shoals, games are continuous because players that are eliminated get in a line to go again and a new player takes their place.  The nature of the game requires students to bend, jump, run, and move quickly to either hit the ball or avoid being hit by it.  The gaga pit’s walls keep the ball in play and make for an energetic and exciting game that the students REALLY love (hence the screaming and sweat).  They love this game so much that they actually raised the money themselves to buy the gaga pit!

High Shoals PE Teacher Kevin Daniels has taught students how to play gaga for years using tables turned on their side or similar variations of the game.  He has wanted a gaga pit for three years, but it just wasn’t in the budget until PTO president Sherri Munneke suggested that they raise the money through their annual Fun Run day.  The Fun Run is always a great fundraiser that gets kids walking and running while raising money for equipment, books, and supplies for the school.  With the opportunity to get their own gaga pit as an incentive, the students this year raised $10,000, about three times what they needed to buy the gaga pit.  What a great example of how to use a physical activity like the Fun Run to raise money for equipment that allows them to play a great game that is fun and great exercise!

For more information and rules for gaga ball, check out the extended version of this article at www.AthensMOVE.com.

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