Golden Apple Award goes to Woodmoor teacher

Renee Colleran

proudly displays her Golden Apple Award.
Photo by Karen Diefendorf/Woodinville Weekly.

Golden Apple Award by Karen Diefendorf
   Someone forgot to tell Golden Apple Award winner Renee Colleran that physical education belongs in the gym and that music should stay in its own room.
   Music certainly had no place in the gym. It was the integration of these two subjects, however, that made Colleran an award winner this year.
   The Woodmoor P.E. teacher was one of 10 state recipients of the Golden Apple, which honors "exceptional and creative approaches" in the classroom. She was chosen from 175 finalists in Washington state by a panel of state teachers and administrators.
   For the past four years, students at Woodmoor have been learning music appreciation and physical fitness at the same time. And they're having fun doing it.
   With a big smile, lots of enthusiasm and a microphone headset, Colleran instructs and encourages as she dances her way among 50 children following her moves to the song "Y.M.C.A." by the Village People. On this day, the aerobics is followed by a ring and bean bag toss, badminton with a balloon, jump rope and a hula-hoop event. Still accompanied by music, the students rotate from game to game.
   Not only do both P.E. and music education at Woodmoor profit by the integration, but so do each of the students. The Woodmoor student population of 900 includes a wide diversity of programs. The gifted, alternative, general education and special education children are all active participants in Colleran's classes.
   "Appropriate inclusion is an important part of the program," Colleran explained. Everyone takes part at his or her own level of capability.
   One of Colleran's favorite programs this year has been the fairy tale project, with a climbing rope decorated like the one from "Jack and the Beanstalk" and hula hoops disguised as the wicked queen's mirror from "Snow White."
   Not only did the program successfully bring together physical education and music, but the school's academic classes also took an active role as well. "Nothing is isolated; everything is connected," Colleran said.
   She was thrilled to win the Golden Apple and keeps it displayed prominently in her office, but she shares the credit. "The kids are the program," she said. "This was a team effort; I was just the spokesman."
   Other members of the team are Patti Bagnall, Sharon Potts, and Flo Booth, all of whom accompany Colleran as she makes presentations for state and national educators.