Extra-Special Physical Activity on Monday
From Michael Martins, JICS Physical Education Teacher:
Dear JICS Families,
On Monday, November 5th, DrumFit is coming to JICS! Students, JK to Gr 6, will be introduced to a new way of exercising and improving their health-related and skill-related fitness. With the use of an exercise ball and drum sticks, students will be led through a variety of individual and cooperative tasks meant to challenge students in many ways. Students can expect to get their hearts pumping through banging, tapping, squatting, hopping, and stretching in this invigorating whole-body workout!
At JICS, we are always working to balance well known physical games and activities, with novel opportunities to keep students active. Through the years, the Phys Ed Program at JICS exposes children to a variety of individual, small group, and large group activities aimed at developing student cardiovascular endurance, muscle endurance, strength, and flexibility. DrumFit will bring a new perspective on developing our fitness through a whole-group class experience where students are all completing similar tasks alongside their peers. It is a great way to not only work up a sweat, but also find the joy in exercising in a social setting.
Parents are welcome to observe the DrumFit workout from the large windows on the first-floor hallway at:
9:15-9:55 Gr 3
10:00-10:40 JK & SK
11:00-11:40 Gr 6
11:50-12:30 Gr 5
1:30-2:10 Gr 4
2:20-3:00 Gr 1 & 2
Bringing in experts of different realms of physical activity is an essential piece contributing to the development of physical literacy we hope for each and every child. Furthermore, offering students exposure to new, innovative ways of physical activity is an important way for students to explore many ways of being active and finding a way that works for them! We hope to continue to explore ways of being active in ways that are new and challenging to our students, teachers, and community. We look forward to seeking out other opportunities to stay active and have fun!
This opportunity is made possible to JICS through your generous donations to the Phys. Ed. Program and the continued support of the Parents Association. Thank you!
Video Game: Fortnite
From Nick Song, Special Ed Teacher and STEM Coach
Many different toys or games come in and out of popularity throughout the school year. Currently, the teachers at JICS have observed a trend in many grades surrounding the video game Fortnite. We feel that the game may be creating a negative atmosphere in our school community. This blog post serves to share information about this video game and voice some of our concerns for your consideration.
At its core, Fortnite is a third-person shooter that can be played on a variety of platforms (meaning all students are able to access it). The players jump from a flying vehicle on to a deserted island, where their primary objective is to kill all other players.
Designed to be addictive
Fortnite is designed to be an addictive game. Players are enticed to play for hours through carefully designed “reward schedules”. The same reward schedule is found in forms of gambling: Variable Reinforcement for example, is what makes slot machines so addictive to some. Additionally, Fortnight is not a narrative or level driven game, there is no true ending to a game. At the end of a match, players are asked instantly if they would like to que up for another match. In Fortnite, this reward schedule appears in two different parts of the game. During the game, players pick up a variety of different guns to use against each other. These guns appear randomly on the island and have a colour coded rarity system. Players feel a need to always find a better gun. The other expression is in the form of loot boxes. In the game’s main menu, players can open up loot boxes that they have earned or have purchased with real money. When opened, the loot boxes provide players with a small amount of randomized cosmetic equipment for their character. Once again, players have the chance of ‘winning’ extremely rare items but they will never know when they will win. This type of psychology has ties with gambling psychology and may be damaging to developing minds. Some countries have started to ban them from appearing in games (https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-43906306).
Exposure to the Internet
When a game of Fortnite begins, 100 players are all randomly placed together on a server. By default, voice chat and text chat are enabled, and this can expose children to a variety of strangers on the internet. None of the communication between players is moderated by the games developers and so it is up to parents to be aware who their children are communicating with on the internet (and what they are talking about). There have been cases where Fortnite (and other social media apps) have been used as platforms by predators to lure children (https://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2018/09/fortnite_mindcraft_join_other_platforms_where_pred.html).
Fortnite being replicated in play
It is very common to see children replicate their experiences in their play. With the popularity of Fortnite we are seeing an increase of ‘gun play’ on the yard. While the play can be creative and not have the intent of hurting others, there is more opportunity for accidents due to the frantic nature of the play. Teachers at JICS are actively watching for this type of play and help to redirect the students when it occurs.
The immense popularity of Fortnite is evident in the number of conversations we hear around the school. As a school, we ask there to be no video game conversations in the classroom. Any conversation that students are having while working needs to be related to and enriching the learning they are doing. Most students have demonstrated that they are fully capable of following this rule. However, when conversations about Fortnite occur, it can be very alienating to children who are not part of the Fortnite world. There is no issue for children to have different interests, but Fortnite’s popularity has made it the only topic of conversation for many social groups. We have also observed exclusion behaviour towards children who do not play. This puts social pressure on children to feign interest to be part of the group. The sense of insecurity is not conducive in creating a welcoming environment for all the students. We have been working with our students to help them with their social choices.
For more information on Fortnite and other forms of media please visit Common Sense Media: https://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/parents-ultimate-guide-to-fortnite
We value our partnership with parents at JICS and appreciate the two-way exchange of information to help create the best learning opportunities for each child. Please be in touch if you have additional information or questions. We hope you will take this information into consideration as you make choices for your family.
A photo of the SK class before the Halloween Assembly