Valley Steelers' fight song from The Meadville Tribune on Vimeo.
By Penni Schaefer
CONNEAUTVILLE — Pittsburgh Steelers mania is hard to escape, even at the most primitive — or, in this case, elementary school — level. One third-grade teacher has discovered how a little creativity can help harness the spirit behind the game and motivate his students in the process.
So motivated, in fact, that some of them even created their own Steelers fight song.
Since mid-season of the National Football League schedule, third-grade teacher Joe Kauffman at Conneaut Valley Elementary School has been riding the momentum of professional football and using simple aspects of the game to encourage children in his class to build camaraderie, do good deeds and complete their homework.
Wrapping up each week, “Football Fridays” in Kauffman’s class has included intense math games using a variety of media including everything from outmoded flash cards to new interactive state-of-the art Smartboards with number recognition ability. Technology old and new, coupled with a few little-prize rewards, has had an outcome that has been just short of spectacular.
“One student in particular went three weeks straight without missing a homework assignment,” Kauffman said. “Prior to that, he wasn’t nearly as dedicated.”
Shelby Stoneman, who previously didn’t demonstrate an interest in football, walked in one day wearing a new jersey and told her teacher she had used her own money to buy it.
“I have to admit, that almost brought a tear to my eye,” Kauffman said.
Jason Reupert, who was sporting a Ben Roethlisberger jersey, said the infusion of football into the classroom prompted him to pursue his own winning streak of sorts so that he could reap in-class benefits.
“I now try to hurry home and get my homework done first thing,” he said. “Then I am allowed to do things like put my name in the bag and throw the football.”
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