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Physical Education's Flip Side

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In California, where Frisbee tossing has developed from a backyard pastime into a professional sport, the D.D. Johnston Elementary School in Norwalk brings in a Frisbee consultant to teach students the fine art of flips and spins.

Students in the 4th, 5th, and 6th grades take four weeks of Frisbee training as part of their regular physical-education course, accord4ing to Christine Roubidoux, the school's principal.

John Geza, an independent Frisbee consultant, comes to the school in the final week of the unit to help students perfect the basic moves. Then he shows them some flashier techniques, such as the under-the-leg throw and the fingertip spin.

Mr. Geza, who was recommended to the school by Wham-O, the manu-facturer of the discs, charges $75 for a teaching and demonstration session.

The Frisbee unit is designed to get youngsters interested in exercise as well as to help them with coordination and self-esteem, Ms. Roubidoux said. "It's fun to see kids who hate physical education really go for it with the Frisbees," she said.

The Frisbee unit was introduced this year after the school's annual needs assessment called for an updated physical-fitness program, according to Ms. Roubidoux.

She said parents, teachers, and especially students are pleased with the new class. "The Frisbee unit helps kids learn balance and locomotion. And we've even had less trouble during recess," said Ms. Roubidoux.

The consultant's $75 fee doesn't seem like much, said Ms. Roubidoux, when all of the benefits are taken into consideration, including the bonus of an introductory lesson in aerodynamics.

The local school board apparently agrees; it voted unanimously to pay the Frisbee consultant's fees.

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