Here is an integrated warm-up activity that ties in with computer coding. I made a poster that assigned an activity to a color spot. The color spots on the poster coordinated with small poly-spots that the students could place on the ground. We use these colored poly-spots for many activities. I had my students in small groups of 3-4. Each group designed a warm-up sequence by choosing 5-6 color spots and laying them in a row. They then went through the room completing the activities in each groups “code”. They really enjoyed figuring out the codes and were also very active.
As a follow-up, I have made smaller “code” cards for each student. I plan to lay out a big code in the gym and then let the students follow the code as they walk through they gym.
My 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:
green=slither like a snake
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!
I usually lead my 1st – 4th grades in a warm-up routine. This week I wanted to see what my 3rd and 4th graders had learned; so I gave them more independence allowing me to observe and assess.
Before starting I set out 4 cones. As the class arrived, I instructed them to go sit by a cone with no more than 7 people at a cone (adjust numbers as needed for class size). I use this method a lot when I want to start them out in groups so this is easy and quick for my classes. Here is the warm-up activity:
Make a big circle with each small group.
Decide who will go first. That person demonstrates a stretch or muscle movement that can be done in place. Everyone joins in on the stretch and the group members count out loud slowly to 15.
Move around the circle giving everyone a turn to be the leader. Be thinking about what your stretch will be so no time is wasted. No repeats allowed.
When you are finished, send a representative from your group to me for your next instruction. I gave them a sequence of 3 cardio activities to finish up.
This gave me an opportunity to watch and see what stretches they used and even circle around and ask what muscle they were stretching. Great for assessment and the students enjoyed the independence. I had zero discipline issues and they worked hard.
For more ideas for using students as leaders, check out this post: Team captains
Add some fun and creativity to your warm-ups with this animal warm-up. It is perfect for your youngest students!
Set up 4 or more cones around the perimeter of your space. As children enter, instruct them to choose a cone and sit next to it. Choose an animal for the students to imitate. For example, I started with a seal. I had the students lay on their bellies and stretch their “flippers” behind their back. Then they seal-walked by pulling themselves with their flippers to the next closest cone. We repeated with a new animal. “Stand up and stretch your quadricep. Now use your quadriceps to jump like a frog to the next cone.” Once we had done 4 animals (or as many as you have cones set up) as a group, I placed a label on each cone that matched the animals we had just practiced. One cone was labeled “seal”, one was “frog”, “bear”, and “crab”. I played music and starting at their current cone the students would move like that animal until they got to the next cone. They then read the label and switched their movement to a different animal. We continued for about 3 minutes in this fashion. Total time equals about 8 minutes and the students were warmed up and ready to go. My students love to use their imagination with movement!