Hanby Elementary launches school-wide Shoe Tying Challenge

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The first-graders at Hanby Elementary walked into the gym Tuesday morning where Alisa Franklin prepared a lesson in a topic she has never before covered since becoming a physical education teacher more than a dozen years ago.

“We’re going to figure out how to tie some shoes,” she told students.

She introduced the class to Hanby’s Shoe Tying Challenge, where students across the school would learn how to tie shoes or if they already can do it, help those who don’t. As part of the challenge, students will take a test with Franklin starting Sept. 13, demonstrating their shoe-tying skills. 

“It’s a fine motor skill and it’s something that takes practice so why not make it fun?” Franklin said. 

The goal of the challenge is for all students to be able to tie their shoes by winter break. The first class who completes the challenge will be rewarded with a visit to a nearby park with Principal MeganRose Forman. If the entire school meets its goal, students will receive cookies and cocoa when they return from winter break.

Franklin developed the challenge after Forman and teachers noticed how students were struggling with the task. 

As part of Tuesday’s lesson, she polled the first-graders on whether they couldn’t tie their shoes. A majority of the students raised their hands.

“That’s OK,” she told them. “That’s why we’re going to practice.”

She showed them a paper cut-out of a shoe with laces threaded through the eyelets, which students could take to practice at home. Three sets of shoes were lined up on tables along the gym walls where any student could practice tying shoes while in her class. 

As Franklin prepares to show the first-graders a tutorial video to help kids tie their shoes, a student raises his hand.

“I need help,” she said, pointing to his untied laces.

Franklin kneels to the student and helps him with his shoe.