Langdon Area Elementary School Olympic games

Idti komanda idti! Is a cry you may have heard a lot this last week if you walked the halls of Langdon Area Elementary School (LAES).

Posted on 2/15/14

By Lee Coleman

The Russian translation of the above phrase is, “Go, Team, Go!” and team Russia was heard saying that along with, “Good Job!” and “Hello” to each other and others on the competing teams.

“It has been great, walking into the event and hearing the students and captains cheering! It has been amazing! Everyone has really gotten into the Olympic spirit and has shown it by chanting in their languages, wearing their country’s colors, we have even had teams face paint their flags and make rainbow loom bracelets. I love the excitement that was demonstrated this week, with the cold weather and barely getting outside this has been a needed respite from that,” Amy Freier said.

As part of the 2014 LAES Winter Olympics, students in Kindergarten through 6th grade were divided into 15 teams; which then spent the week competing in nine different events.

I liked all the teamwork that is built all the way through grades 6th. Putting the older and younger students together is a great idea with the older students demonstrating what sportsmanship is. Along with that having the students experience different cultures and languages, and studying the countries themselves is a benefit of holding a school-wide Olympics, Principal Jorgensen stated.

Because organizers of the event, Missy Hiltner, LAES Reading Coach, Mitch Jorgensen, LAES Principal, and Amy Freier, 4th-6th teacher, wanted to make sure that students were exposed to as many cultures as possible, no team was given the United States, but rather: Russia, Jamaica, China, Canada, Great Britain, Israel, Chile, Brazil, South Africa, Japan, Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, South Korea and Germany.

Leaders of these teams were teachers, student teachers and paraprofessionals, who spent the week encouraging their team to exhibit team spirit, learn about different cultures and have fun!

“My favorite was when we worked on the iPads finding facts about my country,” Jonathan Lill, team member of Switzerland said.

“The idea of learning different countries and facts about them has been great,” Diane Hanson, head judge of skiing and first grade teacher said.

The events included an “elementary flare” of bobsleds, skiing, flag making, javelin, shot put, curling, hula hoop, football and hockey. Those that did not lead a team were judges of the team events.

Each staff member took part in this event, and had a great time.

Lisa Karas, second grade teacher and captain of Austria said, “I like how all the students are all working together from different grade levels. They seem to be having a lot of fun with it.”

Student teacher Alison Podhradsky, captain of United Kingdom agreed adding, “I think that it is cool because it is both educational and fun for the kids. My favorite part of the day was listening to the different teams chant in their languages.”

Just like the Sochi Olympics, LAES Winter Olympics started with a torch ceremony, with teachers handing off the torch throughout the school. To see the video, check out the school’s Facebook page. Once the torch was lit, teams were established and the students watched a presentation on the winter Olympic sports, the history of Olympics and even those from the University of North Dakota who are in this year’s Sochi Olympics.

Danny Muhs, a sixth grader and member of team Chile said the best part was the opening ceremony, especially watching the video and playing for the entire school.

Danny, along with the rest of the 6th grade band opened the ceremony with the 5th grade band performing for the closing ceremonies.

Walking the halls the week of Feb. 10 you could hear the excitement of the students as they talked about the events, listened to the various phrases spoken between teammates and other competitors, and saw the team spirit as teams wore matching colors, flags and other identifying markers.

“It is pretty cool, we do fun stuff. The best part was playing hockey,” Edward Freer, 2nd grader and member of team Jamaica said.

Chloe Ottem, kindergartner and member of team Russia said, “I like throwing the ball in shot put. I liked spinning around and throwing it. “

And just like Sochi, 2014 LAES Winter Olympics had to come to end, but not before gold, silver and bronze medals were given out to the winning teams and small trinkets were given to the entire school.

“I liked the competitiveness of the games, how each day we could see how our team was doing,” Sid Ullyott, 6th grader and team member of South Korea said.

But regardless of what place a team ended with, the students and staff of LAES were given a week of cooperative learning, teamwork, cultural understanding and fun!