Fresh powder, fresh idea for PE unit at Lefler

Lefler Middle School physical education teacher Jeff Pappas had an idea earlier this month to turn a negative - all of that snow that fell on Lincoln - and turn it into a positive: a cross-country skiing unit for his eighth-grade classes.

“I don’t want them to think that just because it’s winter we can’t be active,” Pappas said.

Aside from all that snow, he also realized that Lefler is perfect for cross-country skiing because of the abundance of wide-open, flat land to the east and south of the school. Lincoln Public Schools rented 30 sets of skis, poles and boots from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Outdoor Adventures Center for students to use the week of March 4-8. All of the students had two class periods to ski.

Matt Avey, LPS curriculum specialist for health and physical education, applauded Pappas for his ingenuity. He said LPS has incorporated flexibility into its physical education curriculum so teachers such as Pappas can act on ideas when they have them, while still meeting state standards.

“It’s a unique opportunity that our kids wouldn’t get otherwise,” Avey said.

That was definitely the case for at least one of the students, Izjeilah.

“I thought it was a fun experience, just being able to ski,” she said. “I’ve never been able to ski before."

Published: March 15, 2019, Updated: April 1, 2019