Balancing Act

I tried a new lesson last week with my 1st and 2nd graders.  I drew up  balancing tricks on cards to have them work on body control.   Easy stick figures that show arm and leg positioning will work fine.  I tried the lesson 2 different ways:

Day 1:

I held the cards up and explained the move.  We all did the tricks together.  Then I put on some music and had them move like the animal I called out (see previous post).  When the music stopped, they would freeze in the position on the card I was holding up.  They got bored of it pretty quick and I felt like they weren’t trying very hard on the balancing poses.  So, the next day I mixed things up a bit with much better results (different kids, same age group)

Day 2:

I taped the cards to cones and divided the class into 12 small groups (about 3 kids each group).  They then rotated around to each cone and tried the pictured balance.  I would walk quickly around the circle and check each group, making suggestions and challenges as needed.  They loved it!  This day they were really engaged in holding the poses and challenging themselves.  I was able to give help when needed and everyone stayed busy.  With about 5 minutes left at the end of class, I gave them each a beanbag and challenged them to try balancing the bag on their head while walking or trying some of the poses we had just learned.  It was great to seem them remember the poses and try them again with the added challenge of keeping a bean bag in place.

I did the lesson this way the rest of the week and it went great every time.  Here is a list of the poses we tried:

Kimbo Stand:  arms crossed at chest, cross one leg over the other and touch toe to the ground

Front Scale:  lean forward, arms out to the sides, raise one leg straight behind

Backward Balance:  lean back, arms out to sides, raise one leg straight in front

Sideways Balance:  lean to one side, arms out, lift one leg to the side

Knee Raise:  bend knee, raise and hold

Stork:  place foot on opposite thigh, arms straight out to side

Head Touch:  kneel on ground, touch forehead to ground and raise arms above back

Knee Balance:  kneel on both knees, arms out, lift toes off the ground

One-Knee Balance:  same as above on one knee

Shoulder Press:  shoulders and feet on ground, raise hips up

Knee Stand:  on hands and knees, raise one leg straight behind and one arm straight in front

Challenge:  balance on one body part (2 body parts,etc)