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Award-winning P.E. teacher and BHSU alum shares online workouts for high school students

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Boone Bowker BHSU

Black Hills State University alum Boone Bowker was named the Gordon-Rushville School District Teacher of the Year in 2017 and helped his school earn recognition as a Nebraska Healthy School this year. Bowker shares online workouts he is using to keep his physical education students in shape during the COVID-19 pandemic.

SPEARFISH, S.D. – Like many high school teachers across the country, Black Hills State University alum Boone Bowker of Gordon, Neb., is now teaching online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But what does a physical education class look like online? We asked this award-winning teacher for insight into his online P.E. classroom.

“I look at the COVID-19 situation as an opportunity to reinforce lifetime wellness with my high school students. When they graduate, I’m not going to be there to make them workout. I assigned a very simple workout they can do now at home, but take with them for years to come,” says Bowker.

First, Bowker says he assigns workouts that his students are capable of doing safely at home. The first week of quarantine, he challenged one of his classes to learn a line dance. While he hoped the students would be able to show off their moves during Prom, he says the students (and several parents) still had fun submitting videos of their new skills.

Another of Bowker’s assignments is the “Spell Your Name Workout” with exercises such as squat jumps, burpees, and sit-ups assigned to each letter of the alphabet.

“I’m encouraging my students to keep a fitness journal with how long they’re exercising, and indicating whether their heart rate indicates mild, moderate, or vigorous exercise,” says Bowker. “The kids are finding it fun and it’s a good way for them to break up the day in isolation, especially if they can’t get outside because of weather.”

Bowker was scheduled to travel to Lincoln, Neb., last week to accept an award from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Nebraska Department of Education. The event was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Gordon-Rushville High School, where Bowker teaches, was recognized as a Nebraska Healthy School, thanks to Bowker’s efforts in revitalizing the P.E. program and exceeding federal recommendations to increase health and wellness in his community.

Bowker was also named the Gordon-Rushville School District Teacher of the Year in 2017, just two years after graduating from BHSU. He boosted enrollment in P.E. to 90 percent of the student population at Gordon-Rushville High School.

Growing up in Big Piney, Wyo., Bowker says he had a tough upbringing.

“As soon as I got to Black Hills State and my advisor asked me what I wanted to study, I said ‘I want to be a teacher.’ Teachers throughout my youth cared so much and had a passion to push me to work harder. I wanted to be that representation to a kid.”

Bowker received a football scholarship to play at BHSU and graduated in 2015 with his education degree. He says Dr. James Hesson, professor of exercise science, inspired him with his passion for the science behind the movements of the body. Bowker still keeps in touch with Dr. Betsy Silva, associate professor of physical education/pedagogy at BHSU. The two professionals discuss resources and ideas, and support one another.

Silva says Bowker exemplifies the professional goals of the BHSU Physical Education program.

“Boone transformed the Physical Education program at his first teaching position through his personal passion and implementation of what he learned at BHSU,” says Silva. “PE faculty at BHSU love continuing to learn from our graduates and I have implemented teaching strategies that he shared with me, which then transfers to all future graduates. Personally, Boone has the innate relationship-building ability to help his students achieve.”

Spell Your Name Workout

A. 15 Squat Jumps

B. 30 Crunches

C. 10 Burpees

D. 1-Minute Plank

E. 25 Push-Ups

F. 20 Jumping Jacks

G. 20 Lunges (10 Each Leg)

H. 20 Sit-Ups

I. 1-Minute Wall Sits

J. 30 Second Bicycles

K. 15 I’m a Star Jumps

L. 20 Lateral Lunges (10 Each Leg)

M. 15 Prisoner Dips

N. 30 Crunches

O. 1-Minute Planks

P. 10 I’m A Star Jumps

Q. 30 Burpees

R. 30 Second R/L Side Planks

S. 20 High Knees (10 each)

T. 30 Lunges (15 Each Leg)

U. 20 Squat Jumps

V. 30 Second Bicycles

W. 30 Second Wall Sits

X. 20 Squats

Y. 25 Push-Ups

Z. 20 Prisoner Dips

Boone Bowker’s Strength Training Workout

Day 1 Reps Sets

Backpack Squat 25 4

Backpack Front Deft Raise 8 4

Backpack Lunges 12 each leg 3

Backpack Lateral Walks 12 each leg 3

Backpack Curls Fail 3

Any Cardio Work

Day 2 Reps Sets

Overhead Squat 12 4

Overhead Backpack Tricep 10 4

Backpack Swings 8 3

Oblique Pushups 1 minute 3

Bicycle Crunch 1 minute 3

Any Cardio Work

Day 3 Reps Sets

Push Up To failure 3

Pike Press-Up 10 3

Prisoner Dips To failure 3

Pistol Dips 15 3

Stair Calf Raises 10 each 4

V-Up 1 minute 2

Flutter Kicks 1 minute 2

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