Weekly ‘Pandemic P.E.’ videos bringing fitness to Peoria students

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — Leaning from home is one thing, if it’s an English, math or science class.

But what about physical education?

“I sat there and thought, ‘how am I going to teach PE on a computer screen?’ Kids aren’t going to tune into see me and Mr. Holland doing jumping jacks and toe touches,” said Peoria public schools PE teacher Justen Raynar. “My goal was to do something fun and make them laugh.”

When schools were closed for the year, Raynar and fellow PE teacher Mike Holland put their thinking caps on. And they came up with ‘Pandemic P.E.’

It’s a weekly lesson that’s recorded and placed online. But the teachers aren’t just standing and talking into the camera.

They are encouraging students to stay active with games involving household items like cups, socks and sticks. And they have special guests like an administrator that dressed up as former pro wrestler Randy ‘Macho Man” Savage.

“We have enough negativity in our world, let’s be positive,” said Holland, who teaches at Von Steuben Middle School. “I hope they realize we care about them.”

Pandemic PE is all about having fun. Holland and Raynar say they realize their students are stuck at home and stuck in front of computer screens since school buildings are closed.

They say their vifeos are just creative ways to get people moving, even without all kinds of sports equipment.

“Wad up a pair of socks and you’ve got a ball. Grab a broom and it could be a hockey stick,” said Holland.

Their videos include challenges between the teachers and guests.

“We did a challenge where you use a popsicle stick and balance dice on there,” said Raynar who teaches PE at Von Steuben and Calvin Coolidge schools.

PE class has probably never quite looked like this. Then again, school days have never looked like they do in 2020.

“We’re trying to lure the kids in. Have them watch the videos and make comments,” said Raynar. “If I can make a fool of myself, make them laugh a little bit, that’s what I was trying to do.”

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