Kingsley students wrap up TV-Turnoff Week with rally

Rick Wagner • May 1, 2009 at 12:00 AM

KINGSPORT — Some Kingsley Elementary School students went cold turkey and viewed no television and played no video games this week.

They participated in the TV-Turnoff Week, April 27-May 1.

“I rode my four-wheeler and helped my neighbor build a deck,” said second-grader Kevin Horne, who also said he helped his family carry items for a yard sale instead of watching TV.

Second-grader Choi Frye said he “played with my friends, rode my bike (and) went out to find my friends.”

The Sullivan County school serving the Bloomingdale community just northeast of Kingsport participated in and celebrated TV-Turnoff Week, culminating in a Friday rally where the winners of the TV-Turnoff poster contest were announced and the final Mathathon competition of the school year was held amid cheering students.

“Almost all the students signed pledges and participated,” said reading teacher Evelyn Edwards, who helped organize the week for the K-4 school of 284 students.

Students made posters, wrote compositions and read, and students who did not watch television got daily rewards Monday through Friday.

“Research shows that the average American home has the television on for well over eight hours each day, and children increased their television viewing by 3 percent (in a year),” Edwards said, citing 2006 Nielsen data.

The event was designed to encourage children the other 51 weeks of the year to watch less, watch smarter, read more and get outside and be active, Edwards said.

Students could pledge to watch no TV or play no video games during the week, while the others pledged to watch only a “tiny bit” during the week.

Principal Sandra Ramsey said the school has participated in the program at least eight years.

Winners of the poster contest, who will go on to compete nationally, were fourth-grader Erin Schwartz, second-grader Josh Strong and second-grader Briana Johnson.

Judging from a Mathathon competition at the school Friday afternoon, some may have spent their former TV viewing time practicing their math.

Winners of the Mathathon were first-grader Sierra Hood, second-grader Haynes Gibson, third-grader Laken Mooney and fourth-grader Devan Price.

Students at each grade level first had to answer flash card problems in five seconds or be disqualified, then three seconds, and finally had to pair up, with the first to give the correct answer staying in the rotation and the other disqualified.

The first two grades did addition and subtraction, the third grade multiplication, and the fourth grade division.

At the end, Devan and the other finalist had to answer a word problem from Edwards instead of a flash card: Spiders have eight legs, so how many spiders are in a nest with 16 legs? He answered “two” before his opponent.

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