Our luck held out and we had a beautiful April. The students learned how to use the app Sworkit Kids to create their own workouts or to follow a pre-made workout. We discussed how the Sworkit Kids categories were similar to and different from our components of fitness as well as how some exercises might be the same as what we’ve done before but have a different name.
Both outside and in the gym, we worked on different types of frisbee throws. We learned the backhand, forehand (or sidearm), and hammer throws. We worked on throwing in place, passing and moving, and then the older students took those skill and put them into a game of Ultimate frisbee. Ahead of the game, teams were given a chance to practice passing and moving around the field. Most students wanted to work on throwing far, but quickly found that the throws were not always successful. We discussed the rule in ultimate of a turnover when the frisbee hits the ground and how we could prevent that from happening. That, along with trying to use the “alligator” catch, teams practiced again to see if they could move from one end of the field to the other with fewer drops.
Another important factor for the students to remember is how to treat someone else on the team if he/she drops the frisbee. Often, students want to yell at the person who “messed up”. We discuss how it might be the fault of the thrower or the catcher and how it makes one feel to be yelled at for making a mistake. If my team yells at me, I become more nervous and less likely to participate. If my team encourages me, I’m more likely to try again. Is it more fun to watch a game, or to participate? How can we make sure that everyone on our team gets a chance to be a part of the activity and enjoy the activity? While many sports focus on competition (which is just fine), my job is to show kids a variety of activities in the hopes that they have the knowledge and skill to engage in an activity if they encounter it outside of school. The more opportunities students have to play, the more competent and confident they will become.
May is here and we are headed back into the gym. We will work on cardio drumming. This is an activity where students use a ball and drum sticks while moving to music. It will challenge their cardiovascular endurance while having fun. Once we’ve had a few cardio drumming sessions, we’ll make time for some kickball, an activity that can be enjoyed at almost any age.
In February, most of my classes took place out in the Fit Lab. We worked on flexibility and balance. There were a few nice days, so some of the classes were able to head outside and work on soccer skills: striking the ball with the foot, dribbling and passing without defense, and dribbling and passing with defense.
This month in the gym we have worked on striking using long implements (hockey sticks). The students worked on passing in place before passing and moving around the room. The idea is to get the students used to moving after a pass rather than standing still watching what happens next. One of the classes had time to move on to cooperative games and the others will follow in April. These are games in which students work closely together in order to accomplish a goal. All classes have been learning about the four components of fitness: cardiovascular endurance, muscular endurance, muscular strength, and flexibility. The younger students are becoming familiar with the terms and the older students are challenged to give examples of exercises that fit into each category.
Once Spring Break is over, we will continue this focus and hope to enjoy being active outside as much as possible. I hope that everyone has a safe and active Spring Break!
The students have done a great job getting back into their routines since returning from winter break. We’ve tried out some new fitness equipment in stations, learned a few dances, and had a little free-choice time (their reward for getting the dances down). All of my second through fifth grade classes have worked with me to learn new dances. The fourth and fifth graders have moved on to creating their own dances. The expectation is that each dance contains four different parts with sixteen beats per section and they must repeat the sequence throughout the song. The dances can be as simple or complex as each group likes. The students are off to a great start on their choreography. They will have a chance to record their dances, and then I will edit the video and place it on Seesaw. This may take a while as the file is a bit large once I’ve done the editing. I love teaching dance in physical education. Not only is it a physical activity that can be done at any age, but it allows for a bit of creativity that can’t always be found in other activities.
While the older students complete their dances, the second and third graders will focus on their striking skills within the game of volleyball. We’ll use a game called “4-square volleyball” to give the students as much practice as possible in small groups. The game is similar to 4-square, but the students will use volleyball hits (bump and set). They will advance from
Aside from teaching this month, it has been a very busy time for Marathon Kids. Maria Andrade continues to run the club on Tuesdays and we’ve had nearly 20 student complete their first marathon since coming back earlier this month. I attended a Marathon Kids leadership training on Jan 19th. We worked with other schools to teach them about how clubs work and how they can be started at other schools. There were even a few teachers from middle schools looking to start programs. It is exciting to see Marathon Kids grow in the district.
The first of February, my groups will return to the fit lab. If the weather continues to soak the ground, we’ll work on our flexibility and balancing skills. If it is somewhat dry, we will shorten the amount of time spent on flexibility and balance while we add in offensive and defensive soccer skills. Where should a player move when he/she doesn’t have the ball? What are a few different was to defend a space? When is a good time to pass the ball?
It can be difficult to get outside when it gets dark so early, but luckily our days are getting longer. Try to get out with your family and go for a walk if you can. If during the week doesn’t work, then try a family walk during the weekend.
Every time December rolls around, I’m quickly reminded by students to bump up my patience level by a few notches. The holiday season can be stressful for many (myself included) and managing the controlled chaos of movement can become particularly challenging. How do I keep the students moving, engaged, and productive without becoming over-stimulated? How do I wind them down before sending them back to the classroom? These are the questions I ask myself in order to adjust my winter unit to continue student engagement without losing students’ attention to the excitement and stress that surrounds them.
So, how do I answer myself? Well, the first thing I do is bump up my patience meter A LOT. I can handle any question I just finished explaining and demonstrating the answer to! I can become the master at re-direction, short transitions, and maximizing activity time. Flexibility is one of the components of health-related fitness that we focus on in Physical Education. This is a great time of year to employ a series of quiet stretches at the end of each class to help the students calm their bodies and ready themselves for the next content area.
The 5th Grade students are currently working on target activities. They are practicing striking bowling pins with various objects. We’ve started with a bean bag and will move on to a bowling ball. “Step with the opposite foot, point at your target, follow through with your hand pointing towards your target” are a few words you’ll hear me repeat over and over. Bowling can be much more active than one might think and is a great activity to try when you don’t really feel like heading outdoors in the winter.
2nd-3rd graders are working on striking with an implement. Second graders are beginning with their hands and will quickly move on to using paddles. The students are using a paddle to strike a ball while it is in the air, then they try passing back and forth with a partner, and we will work towards playing modified pickle ball games. Pickle ball is a net game with two players on each side. It is played with a short-handled paddle (larger than a ping pong paddle, but smaller than a tennis racket) and a wiffle ball. One team strikes the ball over the net, it bounces once and is returned by the other team.
January is just around the corner and all of my classes will be back in the gym. We’ve acquired some new fitness equipment which we will try out in stations. We will also begin our rhythms unit. I’m excited to see the creations the students come up with. I will teach them a few dance steps and dances in general. I will assist 2nd-3rd grade in creating their own dance routines and challenge my 4th and 5th grade students to create their own. Last, but not least, I will use Seesaw to post examples of students’ work and create fun activities so students can showcase how they are active outside of school.
This month in physical education, students will focus on skills related to the invasion game of basketball. What is an invasion game? It is any game in which one team tries to invade the space of another in order to score points. The younger students are working on dribbling, shooting at the basket, and passing. The older students will do this as well as work on more complex aspects of the game such as off-the-ball movement. Does each student know where to go when he/she doesn’t have possession of the ball and his/her team is on offense? The older students will also work on cooperating with each other by passing the ball frequently within a game setting.
In the fitness arena, students are taking responsibility for their own work in Scavenger Hunt Fitness. Students are working in groups with a scavenger hunt card. On the card are various instructions on what exercises to do and where to do them in the gym space. Students are then asked how to categorize the various exercises they performed. The card contains muscular endurance, cardiovascular endurance, and flexibility exercises. I try to make sure student understand the importance of engaging in the various components of fitness each time they come to physical education and how understanding these components can aide them in being physically active for life.
Wow! I have so many wonderful storiest to share from the last two months. First, I will start off with the dates I can be out at recess. I will cover as many classes as I can, but there are days when I can't quite make it out for 2nd grade or 5th grade. Here are the days in general and I will do my best to cover as many classes as I can:
5/2 and 5/6
If it has rained considerably the day of or the day before, I will not be able to host Recess Running due to a soggy field.
The students have done a tremendous job running at recess and I have given away many toe tokens and a few five mile prizes. Here is a breakdown of the prizes
Mile 1: A chain and a toe token
One toe token after that per completed mile
Mile 5: A reaction ball
Mile 10: A koosh ball
Mile 15: A giant Frisbee
Mile 20: A pedometer
Mile 26.2: A Barnes Marathoner water bottle
The students in Marathon Kids have run well over 1,000 miles all together. Rain or shine, they are out there pounding out the miles.
In PE news, we spent just a few days back in the fit lab in March, where we worked on our flexibility and when the weather turned out to be nice enough that we could get out for a little Ultimate Frisbee. The younger students practiced throwing and catching the discs while the older students played competitive games. The gym started with a week of volleyball, a little kick ball, and then we had a visit from Stew Magorian of Rugby Oregon. He came out to teach a few classes some rugby skills. I've continued the unit with my own classes. If you'd like more information on how your student can play rugby, you can go to rugbyoregon.com. There are many youth camps available as well as competitive teams. It is pretty incredible to see many of the students quickly catch on to how to use an underhand pass.
When we head back to the fit lab, we may spend another lesson on rugby just to get a feel for how a touch game (no we are not tackling) is outside. Weather permitting we will work on some disc golf and four square badminton.
It has been a busy, but wonderful year and I'm so proud of all the running our students have done. They are incredible.
January was a fast and furious month. We missed a day and a little due to snow and ice and then it was time to get everything ready for Marathon Kids. Now, we have over fifty 3rd-5th grade runners meeting every Tuesday and Thursday after school to run laps. Their goal is to add up all of their miles in the hope of reaching 104.8 by the end of the school year. It will be tough, but hopefully it will get done.
All of that is possible because of a grant through Let's Move Active Schools, a parent who wanted to volunteer, and a few Nike employees who wanted to volunteer. Without them we never would have been able to get off the ground. I hope that I can continue the program each year. This year Marathon Kids is free for the students via a grant from Let's Move Active Schools and I hope to apply again next year. If we can get more volunteers we'll be able to support more runners.
In PE we were in our Fit Lab this month where we played "activity pictionary", practiced juggling, and learned about a million dances. The forth and fifth grade students are now creating their own dance routines in the gym and will then get to play basketball. The younger students are already working on various basketball skills (dribbling, passing, and shooting). All classes have done race track fitness. This is an activity where students work on muscular endurance and balance in the center of the "track" and cardiovascular endurance around the "track".
I have been very impressed with the choreography of the older students. They have done really well in the short amount of time we've had. I was out a few days being sick myself and with a sick 2 year old. I am VERY glad to be back.
As the weather gets nicer I will start a recess running club. I'm just waiting for the field to be dry enough to run on. If we run the entire perimeter, it is a quarter mile. I have different prizes based on the number of miles the students complete. This will be for all students when I have time during their recess. For each mile, students receive a toe token. The five mile prize is a koosh ball, the 10 mile prize is a reaction ball, and the 15 mile prize is a giant frisbee. I'm still working on a 20 mile prize, but the final prize is a water bottle with Barnes Marathoner printed on it. These prizes are all possible from a grant via the Northwest Health Organization and Oregon Active Schools. Happy Valentine's Day to all and here's hoping for a dry field soon!
Well, there went November. I'm sorry for not getting a post up. I was out for a short while when I lost my voice. In general it was a great month. My classes were out in our Fit Lab working on flexibility, balance, and hand eye coordination. We used paddles to strike yarn balls and played a modified version of badminton using pool noodles and beach balls.
I also spent the month getting our Le'ts Move Active School's going a bit more. As a part of the program, Barnes is eligible for various grants. I submitted one that was accepted and have received money to get my recess running program off the ground. As soon as I receive the check, I will order the prizes and various other things I will need to help kids track their laps. I hope to get started in January. We will be running on the grass as long as it isn't too wet or muddy. I'm still waiting to hear back about another grant that would fund an after school running program. I have volunteers ready to go to help run the program, but I want to make sure we can fund all of those who want to participate before going ahead. It will be available for 3rd-5th grade students. I will send out more information when I hear back about funding.
This month we are working on muscular endurance and cardiovascular endurance in the gym. We are doing a crazy fitness challenge with pushups, lunges, burpies, butterfly sit ups, jumping jacks, and squats. The kids are doing well with everything and each exercise is modified based on the grade/skill level of the students. Throughout the rest of the class we are working on a variety of jump rope tricks and then playing a different tag game at the end. Both of these activities are designed to help students increase their heart rates, breathing rates, and to hopefully work up a little sweat.
The week before Winter Break, we will be conducting the PACER run, curl up, and pushup tests with 4th and 5th grade students. These are just a pre-test to evaluate the current fitness level of the students and help them come up with strategies of how to improve in the areas they want to work on. We will then continue working on the strategies throughout our units in January and February and test the students again in March.
Don't forget to stay active over the break. I know it can be hard when it is cold out. Here is a winter challenge for you. Over the 10 school days that the students are off, try to get them to do 3 sets of the following each day:
Grades K-2 Grades 3-5 (2nd graders can try this challenge)
5 Pushups 10 Pushups
10 Lunges 10 Lunges
5 Burpies 5 Burpies (with the pushup)
10 Crunches 10 Butterfly Sit ups
10 Jumping Jacks 10 Jumping Jacks
10 Squats 10 Squats
Well, it looks as though I have fallen a bit behind on blog posting. We had a great time learning a few cooperatives game outside in September and then playing "Ultimate" football ( a version of ultimate frisbee, but using a football instead). The lower grades worked more on throwing, catching, kicking, and tag games. I was able to get a few action shots to post in the gym along with students demonstrating how to use the "conflict corner". This is a space where students can go to discuss small problems they might have during an activity.
Now we are off to a great start in October. We are back in the gym and working on soccer skills. I know, soccer in the gym seems strange, but just think of it as indoor style soccer. I'm working with the upper grade students on understanding the similarities between invasion games (games where you invade the opposing space in order to score). We are also learning to move to open space in support of the player who has the ball. This "off the ball movement" is quite useful in many other invasion games as well (basketball, water polo). We will have four teams playing at a time with two teams observing the games. The students watching will pick one player to watch and record the number of times said player moves to open space in order to help the ball carrier. When the game is over, we will rotate players and observers. The lower grades are working in kicking and passing and will play a few mini games of soccer. Our last week in the gym we'll learn a couple of fun dances (The Monster Mash and Thriller).
What is there to look forward to in November? My group will be back in the portable. If it is possible to spend any time outside, I will give the students one more day where they can choose between playing a game of "ultimate" football or soccer. If we are inside, we will spend the time working on flexibility and learning about the various aspects of general fitness as well as the importance of working on your personal fitness.
Ask your student about "Fit-Tac-Toe". It is a fun game that you can play at home any time.