Crazy Ball

This is a great go-to game for big classes!  I like it because it keeps all the kids involved in the game and moves quickly.  It’s a good way to practice throwing and kicking skills as well.

Equipment:  kickball, football, frisbee, reaction ball, pinnies to divide teams, cones to mark bases, bucket or container big enough to hold a four tossables

Set-up:  divide the class into two equal teams; one team will start as defense and the other offense; field should be set-up similar to kick-ball with 3 bases and a home base

The offensive team starts with four players up at “bat”.  One player kicks a rolled kickball, next throws or punts a football, 3rd player throws a frisbee, and fourth throws the reaction ball.  This should happen quickly, one right after the other.  Once a player has thrown/kicked his or her tossable he begins running bases.  Do not stop running.  Each time a player passes home plate, a point is scored.  The 4 players continue running until all 4 tossables are returned to the container (kept at the pitcher’s mound).  At that point, 4 new players come up and repeat.  There are no outs.  The offensive team plays until each player has had a turn to throw/kick.

Defensive team cannot walk once they have a tossable in their hand.  They must use teamwork to throw and catch and get all items back in the bucket.  One player will serve as pitcher.  The pitcher will roll the kickball, and serve as the final catcher  placing the items in the bucket.  Players yell “stop”  once all items are in the bucket.  Then offensive players stop running and scoring stops.  Once all of the offensive players have had a turn at bat, the teams switch places.

I love this game because once the kids know the rules, it is easy to start and stop.  Watch time and make sure both teams get equal team as offensive team!  This game works well for field day!

Scooter Cage Ball

Equipment:

1 large ball such as a cage ball, omnikin ball, yoga ball

pinnies to separate teams

6-8 scooters

Divide class into 2 equal teams.  Assign each team member a number, stressing that it is important for them to remember their number.  Teams stand against the wall on opposite sides of the gym with scooters turned upside down in front of them.  Each team will have an equal number of scooters.  (For my classes of about 28, I used 8 scooters total, 4 per team).  The teacher randomly calls out 4 numbers (match number of scooters) and rolls the yoga ball out into the middle.  The students who are assigned those numbers, run out grab a scooter and try to get the yoga ball to hit the wall on the opposite end of the gym.  When the ball hits the wall, that team scores a point, everyone lines back up, scooters are back upside down and 4 new numbers are called.

A few rules:

players can ride scooters any way:  sitting, tummies, kneeling

ball can be kicked, batted, hit, etc. but not caught and thrown

players must remain on their scooters to be legal

team members not on the scooters may not interfere with the ball in any way

I played this game with 3rd thru 6th grades.  They had a blast playing!  It was fast-paced and easy with almost no set-up.  It does take some careful explanations the first time through.  With 8 players on the floor at a time everyone was actively involved and the rounds went fast so no one was waiting long.  My kids came back begging to play it again the next week (especially 6th grade).

Halloween scooter game

ghost

Halloween is just around the corner and we like to celebrate a bit in PE.  My younger classes absolutely love this scooter game we call “ghosts in the graveyard”.  They are already asking if we will be playing it for Halloween this year!

Equipment:  about 6 tall cones to mark teams, 1 scooter per team, 20+ small or rounded cones, 12 “ghosts” (I just copied and laminated a clip art), spooky music

Divide your class into small teams of 4-6 players.  Teams should line up on one side of the play area.  On the opposite side, scatter the round cones.  This is your “graveyard”.  Hide ghosts randomly under the cones or “tombstones”.  On signal (music starting), one person from each team will ride the scooter down and check under ONE cone.  If they find a ghost they bring it back with them.  Otherwise, they just scooter back.  Hand the scooter to the next person and repeat.  I play the length of one song or you can count ghosts as they are found and quit when they have all been collected.  Count up the ghosts, then have a few students help hide them again.  After they have been hidden, I have all my students close their eyes while I mix things up so no one knows where they are.  Repeat and repeat.  You could keep score but I just let them count and declare a winner each round.

Have a fun and active Halloween!

Hopscotch and Making Recess Better!

One of my goals this year is to improve recess time at my school.  The students are all expected to be outside during recess, but otherwise, they can do whatever they want.  Unfortunately, some do not choose to be active during that time.  So, from my corner of the world as PE teacher I am trying to help encourage activity.  Here are some things I have done:

First, I put together this awesome recess cart!

img_6419

The school paid for the cart, and I had enough excess equipment to stock it.  I presented it to all my classes during the first week of school and talked about care and expectations with the equipment.  Now it is watched over by an aide at recess and students can check out any equipment.  I told my students it is like a “recess library”.

Next, after any activity we do at PE, I try and point out to them that this is something they could do at recess if they enjoyed it.  I want to expand their thinking on ways to be active.  Even if you don’t want to join in the soccer game, you can still be moving.

And, this week I have been teaching old-fashioned classic games that seem to have died off a bit.  I taught them 4 square.  This one is always popular, I just needed to clarify basic rules.  Then, I taught tetherball.  Our tether balls had been removed because the kids were sitting on them and snapped all the ropes.  Our custodian fixed them for me and I am trying to teach the kids how to play the game properly.  They are very excited about the tether balls joining the recess cart soon.

Finally, I taught them the real rules of hopscotch.  I attended a conference last fall and learned the “big kid” rules.  I couldn’t believe how fun and challenging it was!  I’ve gotten eye rolls from my 5th and 6th graders when I told them we were going to play hopscotch.  Once I teach them the kick-out method, they have loved the challenge and had a blast with it.  And, some of my more difficult, hard-to-move kids have found something they like!  I highly recommend this classic, fun, and challenging game.  You can watch a video of the kick-out method here

Hoppy taws are also available for purchase on the hoppy taws site.

Give it a try!  I bet your students will love these classic games too!

 

UNO movement

IMG_6385My youngest classes love dancing and moving to music.  I use music on a daily basis to add energy and enthusiasm.  Here is a fun and easy game that is great for a quick warm-up, time filler, or even a small space activity.

I use UNO cards, but any type of cards would do.  Assign each color a movement.  We did:

red=squats

yellow=jump

blue=swim

green=slither like a snake

wild=free choice

Pass each student a card and have them move into their own space.  When the music starts they do the movement assigned to their card color.  When the music stops, they freeze.  I then call out “trade” and they trade cards for a new color.  Repeat.

I used this during the first week of school to practice freezing on signal.  I made sure they were quiet and looking at me before we traded again. This made it a fun way to practice my rule of freezing when the music stops.  My 1st and 2nd graders loved it!

 

Mixing math and movement

Math and movement are easily combined to make cross-curricular games that reinforce principles learned and give skill practice in a fun way.  A math movement game works best when a math concept has been taught, is mainly understood, and just needs some more practice time.  I sometimes reinforce what is being learned in the classroom by adding some math to PE class.  These types of games also work well in the classroom.

My 3rd graders have been learning about comparing fractions in class.  I used this game to reinforce the learning.

I made about 40 cards with numbers on them, including fractions.  I made sure to include equivalent numbers and fractions and have a good variety applicable to the skill level.  My cards went from 1-10 with numbers such as 1/2, 2/1, 3/4, 3/3, 3/1, 5 5/5, 6, 6 1/2, etc.  I spread the cards upside down all over the gym floor.  I told the students we were going to make a human number line.  They were to choose a card and then find their place on the line.  I designated one side of our center line as zero and one side as 10.  I gave some instruction as to moving if someone joined the line that was less than your card.  If they had a card that was equivalent to another card, they were to give that card to the first person and either find another card or help someone else.  There was lots of thinking and discussion as the students arranged their human number line.

Here are some points that make this work well:

*If a student is not sure where their number goes, pre-instruct them that they can work together and ask a friend.  I also tell them they can ask me.  That gives me a chance to do a little teaching if a child is not sure about their number.  I carried a whiteboard so I could draw a visual to help students understand a number.

*Leftover students who have given their card to an equivalent partner, helped me check the number line to see if it was correct.  We ended up with a little group checking the line and discussing problems.

*Your brightest students are going to naturally take on a leadership role, telling others where to fit in.  Let them do this to an extent.  They are learning from each other.  Step in and pause the situation if you want another student to stop and think about where he/she fits in the line.

Problems:

*Even though I tried to talk through it as I checked the number line for accuracy, not all students can see the final result.  In a classroom, I would solve this by having them line the numbers up on a board and then sit back down so all could see and participate at the end.

Adaptability:

This game can easily be adapted to fit any grade level.  Upper grades can include cards that have both fractions, decimals, negative numbers, etc.  Younger grades could have just whole numbers.  Fit your curriculum.

Dodge ball alternative

IMG_4630

I never play dodgeball in my PE classes.  I see no point in it as it doesn’t teach any skill or get all the kids moving.  It is also dangerous and can promote bullying behaviors.  However, my students still ask to play it on a regular basis so I like this fun and engaging alternative that I call Hula Ball.

Equipment needed:  18 hula hoops per team; about 12 foam balls; cones, multi-goals, and or buckets,  about 3 per team

Goal of the game is to have 3 “hula huts” standing

Divide the students into 2 teams.  Each team must stay on their side of the gym.  On the dividing line place foam balls.  A few feet behind the dividing line each team should have a few cones, buckets, or goals; or a mixture of these.  On my go signal teams start by aiming foam balls at the opposite teams’ cones and buckets.  Each cone hit equals one hula hoop.  If you have something like a bucket that they can make a basket in, it is worth 2 hula hoops.  Once the team has 6 hula hoops they can begin building a hula hut.  Hula huts are built by placing one hoop on the ground, balancing four hoops leaning in the center, and one hoop on the top holding it all together.  Opposite teams can also aim at the hula huts to keep them from getting three huts standing and winning the game.

What I like:   It is a crazy fun, face paced, and engaging game.  Balls are being thrown at objects not people so I had no injuries occur.  It requires teamwork and strategy.  There are multiple things going on:  earning hula hoops, building the huts (this is not easy), guarding the built huts, knocking down the opposite team’s huts.  Every person had a job and was involved.

What I didn’t like:  Not much, but it is tricky to keep the huts standing and I worried about the kids getting frustrated.  We played for a solid 30 minutes with no winner, though, and I received no negative feedback from my students.

All in all this game is a definite keeper.  My students had a great time and left sweating!

Fire and Ice Tag game

My first and second graders love tag games.  This is a fun spin on frozen tag.

4-5 blue yarn balls

3 red yarn balls

The blue yarn balls represent “ice”.  Students with ice are “it” and try and tag others.  If you are tagged by ice you must freeze.  I have them put their arms up so everyone can tell they are frozen.  The red balls represent “fire”.  Students with fire try and save frozen students by unthawing the ice (tagging with red ball).  Stop the game every 3-4 minutes and trade out who is playing fire and ice.

How was your summer?

School is back in session and at my school PE specialty starts the very first day.  I like to get the kids moving in between some talking about rules and expectations.  This is a game I played on the first day, very first thing as the students walk in my door.

I spread poly spots randomly around the gym.  1 poly spot per student, no extras.

As the students arrive, I instruct them to stand on a spot and freeze.

I start the game by saying something I did during the summer.  For example, “this summer I went swimming”, “this summer I ate a popsicle”.  Then everyone who also did that thing has to move off their spot and quickly find another spot.  The person left without a spot gives the next summer activity and everyone moves again.  I encourage them to use broad statements so that lots of people have to move.

It is a fun, simple game with no “outs”.  The students like sharing their summer activities.  We played for about 5 minutes to get things going this year.

Pass the Pig

I like games that disguise that we are working on fitness.  In other words, I like to get them moving in a fun way so that they don’t realize they are working out.  This is a fun and easy game that targets core fitness.

Divide class up into teams of about 5.  Teams lie down on their backs in a line with shoulders touching.  I use a rubber pig or chicken (1 per team).  My students love any game where they get to use these — they are just fun!  Beginning player puts the pig in between his/her feet and passes it to the next person.  No hands are allowed!  If the pig gets dropped, it must be picked up with feet.  Once a player has passed the pig, they get up and run to the end of the line so that the line keeps rotating centipede style.  I play music and see how far down the gym each team can get their pig before the music stops.  If they get to the end, they must start the pig coming back.

It is a quick 5-minute game that my students really like.