Chinese Jump Rope

Teaching Chinese Jump Rope to 1st graders has been so much fun! A lot of them have never even seen a Chinese Rope so they are so excited about it. I love teaching something that is raw to kids. Here is the sequence I take them thru:
*Show rope and how it is held around the ankles of 2 partners. I emphasize that it is important to be a good “holder” by keeping feet still and in the right position.
*First trick: side to side jumping with one foot in and one foot out of the rope chanting 2,4,6,8. Follow this with IN (both feet in rope) OUT (both feet out) ON (both feet on rope)
Let them practice this in groups of 4 for a few minutes. Then I blow my whistle and have them gather for the next trick
*I repeat the first sequence and add TWIST: both feet on outside of rope, bring ankles together then twist around 180. Jump out of twist and land with both feet out. Repeat and land with both feet in. Practice.
*Next I add the DIAMOND: bring one side of rope across and pull into diamond shape with feet. Jump out and land with both feet out & repeat landing with both feet in. Practice.
*Finally the BUNNY: Jump across the rope catching one side and bringing it across then jump out of it. Repeat going the other direction. Practice the entire sequence.

This is as far as I go with first grade. Some of my second graders have been ready to try it at knee length. 3rd and 4th graders come to class with some strong opinions and skills about how this should be done. I ask who has never done chinese jump rope and then pair those kids up with the experts and let them teach each other. They enjoy it a lot as well, but don’t need the teaching part. I used Chinese Ropes with my 5th and 6th graders as part of jump rope stations, letting them choose single rope, double dutch, or Chinese. The Chinese rope was still very popular with the older kids. A big plus with this style of rope is it can be done indoors and in smaller spaces so I point out to the students that it is a good way to exercise in the winter.

bean bags

Here is a progressive lesson plan idea I did with my 1st and 2nd graders this week.

10 minutes: fitness
5 minutes: Give them each a bean bag and have them practice tossing and catching (to themselves). I stressed that the goal was to catch the bag not how high they could throw it. They needed to do a medium-high toss so that it stayed straight and they could do a good catch. I also set some ground rules such as no throwing at the basketball hoop.
5 minutes: I had them try different locomotor skills with their bean bag on their head such as walking, skipping, and galloping. I beat a drum at different speeds and they were to move along with the drum and freeze when the beat stopped without losing their bean bag. We also did a few with the bag on the shoulder (sliding), back (walking), and back of hand.
5 minutes: I divided them up into groups of 5-6 and had them line up behind a cone. Each group had a hula hoop a few feet in front of them. In turn, each child tried to toss the bean bag into the hoop. When each group member had tossed, they counted how many were in the hoop. Repeat.
5 minutes: I added a circular, bowl type cone a few feet in front of the hoops that were already there. I used a little imagination telling them they were crabs under a spell and the only way to become human again was to find a bean bag treasure and place it in the magical underwater shell. The game went like this: each team member, in turn, had to crab walk to the hula hoop from the cone. All the bean bags were in the hula hoop. They used their crab pincher to pick up a bag and place it on their stomach, then crab walk to the round cone (magical shell) and place their bag in it. Once it was there, they were human again and they could run back to their group and tag the next person to go. Goal was to get the whole team human again.

This lesson went like clock-work. All the kids were engaged and active the whole time.

jump rope sequence

Today I began double jump rope with 1st and 2nd graders. I used the following sequence and it worked very well:
1. With students sitting, I demonstrated turning the rope. I used a student helper who I knew had some experience. I emphasized watching each other to make sure you were turning together and keeping the pace steady. Also, making sure the rope was just brushing the floor and not too high. They were to complete 10 good turns then trade (they were in groups of 4)
2. Once they seemed to have an overall grasp of turning together, I had them swing the rope back and forth while someone jumped over it side-to-side. This gave some confidence to some of the less-able jumpers and more practice of steady swinging and keeping the rope on the floor.
3. Finally, I let them do an overhead swing with someone jumping. They were excited to get to this point and most kids were successful.

The sequence went a lot faster with the second graders. They are so much more coordinated and able just a year later. The side to side swinging seemed to be good practice for both grades and I think they were surprised at the challenge of jumping over the rope on the ground.


It is time to introduce jump ropes to my little people (Kindergarten, first, second).  After 10 minutes of fitness, 25 minutes of jump rope was a little long so today I tried this:

We started on one side of the gym.  I told the children we were going to do an “all jumping” obstacle course.  I set up one row of jump ropes on the floor in a line.  Second row was hula hoops.  Third row was a line of cones.  Then I demonstrated the course:  jump side to side over the line of jump ropes.  The hula hoops were “lily pads”.  I told the students to frog jump from lily pad to lily pad.  This made for tired legs so I then told them to shake their legs out before starting the third row.  The final row was to jump high over each cone.  Then sit against the wall on the opposite wall.  Whenever we do obstacle courses, they get to start when I touch their head.  That way I can control the flow and keep things moving along.  It moves fairly quickly so there isn’t too much wait time.

After the obstacle course, I brought out the jump ropes.  I told them they had to try three things and pass them off . . . not to me, but to themselves in their head. 1. swing rope correctly over their head 2. swing rope, let it land, then jump over 3. swing and jump three times continuously.  Once they could do those three things, they could try a trick.  I demonstrated a “jumping jack” (feet in and out while jumping rope).  I passed out ropes and let them start working.  The sequence seemed to help those that haven’t jumped before while giving those experts something to work on.  Their is a huge variety of skill level at this age!  Every few minutes I stopped class and demonstrated a new trick (or let a student do it) for them to try.

Kicking Week 3

After 2 weeks of practicing different kinds of kicking, I wanted to give my 1st and 2nd graders some game action.  I didn’t think most of them were ready for a full game of kickball and I didn’t want most of the class standing in line waiting for their turn so this is what I came up with.  Half the class lined up as kickers.  I would pitch (roll) the ball and the first in line would run up and kick it as far as he/she could.  Then that child had to run around the bases and then get in the back of the line.  I had a tub full of balls and as soon as one child kicked I was pitching to the next in line.  My other half of the class were lined up as fielders.  I found it worked best to line these children up behind me then the front person went and retrieved the ball, put it in the tub, and got in the back of the line.  This kept the game running smoothly and quickly.  As soon as each kicker had had a turn to kick I yelled “switch” and the fielders became the kickers.  It moved along quickly and all the students got many turns to kick as well as field a ball.  I had to pause with the first graders a couple of times to remind them of their good kicking form we had practiced.  The game went perfectly with the 2nd graders.

*note:  When I first started the game I had the fielders spread out in the field with the idea that they would field balls that came in their area.  This didn’t work very well.  They ALL ran after EVERY ball and kept running in front of me as well.  When I lined them up behind a cone and had them take turns it went much better.  Since the kicks were coming so fast, this group stayed busy as well.


Kicking with 1st and 2nd graders!

I have been teaching my first and second graders correct kicking form.  It is a pretty easy concept for most of them and they have had a lot of fun with it the last 2 weeks.

Week 1:   I decided to use foam dodge balls because we have enough of them that they each could have a ball and they are soft enough that no one would get hurt should a stray ball whack someone in the head.  The first week I demonstrated kicking form. We were just doing stationary kicks and I stressed the concepts of placing your non-kicking foot next to the ball,  bringing your kicking leg back with a bent knee and then a big follow thru as the ball is kicked.  I coned off a kicking area on the play field with lots of room to kick.  I then instructed the children that when they had kicked the ball all the way through the kicking area, they were to pick up the ball, walk outside the cones, and bring it back to the starting line.  This kept kids from running into each other and all the kicking was the same direction.  After a practice session, we played a simple relay game (kick down to a cone, around, and back) with about 6 players on a team.

Week 2:  I began with a simple review of what they remembered about how to do a good kick and a short repeat of kicking straight down the field.  Our second activity varied just a bit.  They kicked down the field and into a goal then came back the opposite way zig zagging in and out of a row of cones.  For the third activity I demonstrated a running kick (some of them were starting to do this anyway) and had them repeat the activity but with a running kick.  They really loved getting way back and getting a big run in.  Next week I will use what we have learned and try a modified kick-ball game!