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.


This game was a favorite this fall with my 3rd and 4th graders.  I also played it with 5th & 6th.  Class is divided up into two teams.  They each form a line on opposite sides of the field.  The offensive team has small token (I used a bottle cap).  Each team member holds their hands together as if holding the token and runs to cross the line of the defensive team.  The defensive team starts tagging members of the offensive team.  When tagged, they must stop and show what is in their hands.  If they don’t have the token they just move on.  If the person with the token is tagged then the defense becomes offense.  If the token makes it across the line, it is a point for that team and they retain possession.  Leadership ability really comes out during this game.  I saw teams work together doing things such as blocking for the person with the token or faking who had it while someone casually crossed the line.  Teams with out a clear leader struggled to be successful in scoring a point.  As the game ended, I pointed out the need for strategy and teamwork and we talked about why or why not a team was successful.

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!



I tried another couple of basketball-based games with 3rd and 4th graders this week.  These focus on dribbling skills.  I divided my class of 35 into 3 groups.  One group had shooting practice while the other two played dribbling games.

Dribblerama:  everyone has a ball.  I used a big circle painted on the black top as boundaries.  They must stay in the circle and dribble their ball.  While dribbling they try and knock another players ball, causing them to lose control.  If you lose control of your ball you are out.  They played until their were 2-3 players left and those were declared winners.  I had the “out” players dribble on the line around the edge to practice while they waited.

Stealer Ball:  1/2 the players have a ball.  They must dribble continuously.  Other players try and steal a ball.  If stolen, then the stealer gets that ball and begins t0 dribble.  The person who lost their ball must then try and steal from a different player.  I used a half court as their boundaries.

Before these games I taught basketball standards of traveling, double dribble, etc.  They could not stop and hold the ball or dribble with both hands.

PROS:  Good dribbling practice with everyone engaged.  More fun than just dribbling up and down and also gave them practice of staying in control in a game-like situation.

CONS:  For dribblerama, you need a lot of balls (luckily my school has a good supply of equipment).  Kids wore out quickly, don’t do for too long (5-7 minutes)

Basketball Passing Game

Circle Guard and Pass is a fun basketball game that practices the skills of bounce passes and chest passes as well as defending those passes. My 3rd and 4th graders really had fun with this game.

My 3rd and 4th graders have been working on a basketball unit.  It is a challenge to find games that challenge those who are more skilled and experienced and give the others the practice they need.  This game worked really well as a follow-up to our work practicing bounce and chest passes:

Circle Guard and Pass

Form 2 teams:  offense and defense.  Offense team makes a large circle with one team member in the center.  Defense team makes a smaller circle inside the offense circle.  It works best if you have actual circles drawn for them to stand on. (Our school has 2 large circles like this painted on the black top outside — perfect!)  The offensive team tries to get the ball into the person in the center with a bounce pass or a chest pass.  The defensive team tries to swat or steal the ball as it passes through.  All team members must stay on their designated lines, but can slide along them.  I really worked with the offensive to move the ball quickly and look for holes in the defense to pass through.  It took some time for them to quite throwing the ball overhead and look for ways to bounce pass instead.  After about 5 minutes I would rotate the teams.  We played this two weeks in a row because they were just catching on at the end of the first session.  The second week they really had a good time with it.  They all love being the person in the middle.

PROS:  Only need one ball to play, if played right all children can be involved and active, great way to show the correct way to use a bounce pass and its potential effectivness

CONS:  Tendency to just chuck the ball overhead must be overcome, some kids can get ignored and never touch the ball.  I solved both these by playing the game along with them.  I had to play it inside one day due to bad weather and without the drawn lines it didn’t work as well.  They really need a line they have to stay on.

Indoor Games

lthough I generally speak extensively about getting your kids outdoors, even in the winter, I live in the real world, and sometimes it’s just too stinkin cold, or dark, to be outside!  So here are a few indoor games that might get your kids (and you) off the couch.

  1. Paper Plate Frisbee:  We love Frisbee, but I would never let my kids do that inside.  I would with paper plates though! Let your kids decorate a paper plate, and then play a fun game of Frisbee.  Even if it hits a lamp, the lamp usually won’t tip over ( I know because it’s happened!)  Another twist is to hang target circles with construction paper from the ceiling and have them try to get their paper plate frisbee through the hole (kind of like Quidditch)
  2. Treasure Map:  Make a map of your house.  Label landmarks with silly names like “The Fridge to Tarabitha”. Send them all over the house until the find the treasure.
  3. Falling Statues:  Have two pieces of cardboard a few feet apart.  Have a child stand on each piece of cardboard each holding the end of a rope.  They have to pull on the rope, and try to get their sibling to fall off of their piece of cardboard.
  4. Blindfolded obstacle course: Set up a fun obstacle course that they must navigate with a blindfold on.  Time each other using the same course so they can get better and better at it, beating their own time each time.  If your children don’t like to be blindfolded, instead set up the obstacle course where the ground is “hot lava” and they have to climb across the obstacles to get to the other side, without touching the hot lava.
  5. Four Square: Set up a four square game using masking tape.  Play with a soft ball.

Other indoor ideas:DSC_1901

Better Breakfasts

The month of October we are dedicating to ‘better breakfasts’.  Starting your day off with a good breakfast can make the difference between a good day and a bad one. Breakfast restores your blood sugar to normal levels, gives you energy, and helps you put that focus into your day.

Better Breakfasts is possible by providing teachers with healthy breakfast recipe ideas, and quick recipe ideas for those days when they don’t feel like they have time for breakfast.  Some quick breakfast ideas for those busy days are:

  • Whole wheat toast and piece of fruit.
  • Quick Oats, cooked with berries and coconut milk in the microwave.
  • cereal topped with yogurt and fruit
  • Muffins, pre-made and stored in the freezer.
  • Scrambled eggs with whole wheat toast.
  • Half a grapefruit and hard boiled egg.
  • Smoothies, made with fruit and spinach with some orange juice.