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My Name Is ... Cheryl Wickoren

Physical education teacher at Copper Mesa Elementary


About me

I am originally from Minnesota. I got my teaching degree from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. I then moved to California, where I taught for 17 years. I moved to Highlands Ranch and taught sixth grade at Copper Mesa Elementary for 11 years. I switched to the physical education position this year and I love it.

I have three girls. My oldest is 22 and a graduate of Metropolitan State University of Denver. My middle daughter is 20 and goes to North Dakota University. My 18-year-old is a senior at Mountain Vista High School. My husband, Brian, is an adaptive physical education teacher at Jeffco Schools. I've enjoyed watching his career path. I got excited about teaching physical education, so I applied for the position at Copper Mesa.

Helping kids through movement

I chose physical education because I love the fact that I can encourage kids to be physically active for their whole lives.

I can't even think of my favorite thing because there are so many. One of the things I love is that physical education is the key — all the research says physical education is the key to being a good learner. If you have a healthy lifestyle, you're a better thinker in the classroom. I love that I can provide that movement that helps kids be creative in the classroom.

I also love the fact that I can really help kids learn through sports. I can help them be respectful and cooperative and develop self-confidence. I love that I can help them find their strengths. I try and really focus on what they are able to do rather than what they are not able to do.

My advice for parents

I would recommend that parents focus on limiting screen time by setting parameters. Limiting of screen time in our society is a great way to say, 'Hey what do you want to do today?' Give them time for free play and failure. Let them problem-solve. Let them be bored.

In my classroom, we use 5210: five fruits and vegetables a day, two hours — preferably less — of screen time, one hour of play and zero sugary drinks. Eat, reduce, play and limit.

Fun fact

I took a trip to Ireland this summer. It was my first time traveling to another country. Navigating the culture with my best friend, Amy, whom I've known since elementary school, was a really great adventure.


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