This year I grouped my fifth and sixth grade classes into squads and it has been a great management, motivational, and learning tool.
Each class (about 36 students) is divided into 4 squads of 8-10 students. Each squad has a team captain, a warm-up captain, and as-needed, another sport-specialist captain. When they arrive at class they immediately put on a jersey in their assigned color. The warm-up captain leads the small group in stretches and other exercises for about 8-10 minutes. They remain in their squad the entire class period, usually participating as a team in the activity.
What I love about this:
-The teams are already divided so no class time is used to organize.
-I give points everyday for students being dressed to move, listening to directions, following warm-up leaders, good sportsmanship, etc. Every 6 weeks the winning team gets a prize so they are motivated in any area I emphasize by giving out points.
-Leadership training: The team captains have been amazing and really watch out for their teammates. The love having jobs to do and responsibilities. I change the captains every trimester.
-Sports captains: I have assigned each captain a sport-specific captain as needed. For example, when we did a soccer unit, each team had a soccer captain. The soccer captain moved his/her team thru drills and helped teach. They did a great job and it is a fantastic outlet for the athletically advanced students.
-Set-up and clean-up: I can set-up while the groups are warming up on their own. Each group is assigned a clean-up job and they get points for doing a good job so clean-up has become fast and easy.
-Sportsmanship: I give out points for sportsmanship and they are also given the opportunity to give points to each other as they play games if their opponent demonstrates good sportsmanship. I hear a lot more compliments and positive feedback as they try to earn those points.
I could go on and on because this system has made my life so much easier and I am so impressed with the students’ abilities to lead and work together. It took a little training, but has definitely been worth the effort.