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Tips for Choosing the Perfect Coated-Foam Ball for PE Activities

Posted 11 hours ago - by Gopher Community

Choosing the perfect size coated-foam ball for your class can be a little overwhelming. It can be difficult selecting the right ball without the ability to pick it up and feel how small or large it is in your hands. Gopher put together a size comparison guide with videos to help you determine which ball is the best fit for your needs. The activities below are just a few ideas to get you started. There are a ton of different ways to use coated-foam balls – be creative! If you have a unique idea, please share it in the comment section.

2.75” Diameter Ball

 

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Specs: Circumference = 8.64”, 21.95 cm
Size Comparison = Baseball (2.86” Dia.), Tennis Ball (2.7”)

This ball is the perfect ball for throwing, catching and hitting! Gopher’s ClassicCoat™ Bounce™ can be used for racket sports, floor hockey, golf, cricket and lacrosse. They are also the perfect size to practice juggling. These smaller balls take up very little storage space, but can have a large impact on your class!

 

 

3.5” Diameter Ball

 

Specs: Circumference = 11”, 27.94 cm
Size Comparison = Softball (3.8” Dia.)

The 3.5” diameter ball is equivalent to the size of a softball. Students can practice hitting and catching with more success. This is also a great size for introductory tennis and pickle ball. Practice target throwing and add them to knockdown games for more fun!

 

 

5” Diameter Ball

 

Specs: Circumference = 15.71”, 39.90 cm
Size Comparison = Gym Ball (12” – 16” Dia.)

Equivalent to the size of a gym ball, this 5” diameter ClassicCoat™ ball is a great size for softball training. Bring your shot put indoors with a similar diameter ball that won’t damage your gym floor. Lastly, supplement your Spikeball™ unit or sets with an introductory version using a DuraHoop™ Flat Hula Hoop and a 5” diameter ClassicCoat™ Versa™ ball.

 

 

6.3” Diameter Ball

 

Specs: Circumference = 19.79”, 50.27 cm
Size Comparison = Handball Junior Size (6.3” – 6.5” Dia)

The 6.3” diameter ball can be used for a variety of games and activities. Easier to grip for elementary students, this ball can be great for handball and knockdown games.

 

 

7” Diameter Ball

 

Specs: Circumference = 22”, 55.88 cm
Size Comparison = Soccer Ball (Size 3), Handball (Men’s)

Slightly larger than our 6.3” dia ball, this ball is more comfortable to throw for secondary students. Play handball, knockdown, and target games with the 7” dia ball.

 

 

8.25” Diameter Ball

 

Specs: Circumference = 25.92”, 65.84 cm
Size Comparison = Volleyball, Soccer Ball (Size 4), Official Adult Dodgeball Size

The 8.25” diameter coated-foam ball is extremely versatile. Use this ball for volleyball, bowling, soccer, kickball, four square and table ball. Shoot, spike, kick and roll this ball with ease. Increase confidence in soccer and volleyball with a less intimidating ball. 

 

 

10” Diameter Ball

 

Specs: Circumference = 31.42”, 79.81 cm
Size Comparison = Official Size Basketball

Our largest coated-foam ball is equivalent to an official size basketball. Great for teaching beginning basketball, soccer and volleyball skills. Add this ball to other activities to add a variety of rolling, throwing and blocking fun!

 

We’d love to hear from you! Please comment below if you have any recommendations of your own! 

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Action Packed Coated-Foam Ball Activities for PE

Posted 12 hours ago - by Michael Beringer

Are you tired of playing the same activities with coated-foam ball year after year? If your answer is “YES!”, then this is the blog you want to read. Below, I compiled a list of top coated-foam ball activities that are sure to increase your students MVPA and have them begging you to play them over and over again.

Satellites

This is a great activity for throwing, rolling, offensive/defensive, and cooperation skills. The objective of the game is to get all Satellites down at the same time. Split your class into 2 teams and have a team on each side of the gym. Have the teams work together to make their Satellites. Making each Satellite take exactly 6 hoops. To start, place 1 hoop on the floor, then place 2on the inside and have them touch, place the other 2 on the other sides and have them touch, and place the last hoop on the top. I usually have each team make 5 Satellites. Depending on how many hoops you have and the size of your gym you can decide on how many Satellites you’d like to play with. Check out a video example by Craig Bleess!

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Catapult

The objective of the game is to be the first to knock down all the other team’s pins. This activity works on students’ throwing, offense, defense, and teamwork skills. To start, divide the class into 2 teams and place a team on each side of the gymnasium. Place 10 or more pins down the midline of the gym. Then have each team pair up with their teammates along their baselines. One partner will lay down facing the pins in the sit-up position. The other partner will be the ball retrievers who will collect the coated-foam balls for their sit-up partners. The sit-up partner will then do sit-ups while throwing the foam ball at the pins down the middle of the gym. Throughout the game have the partners switch roles so that they both get frequent turns participating in each role. The team that collects the most pin wins. Alternatively, have the team that knocks down the last pin win. Check out this video example provided by @MrSpringPE and @WHS44_PE!

Smash

The objective of this game is to advance beach balls over to the other team's side and get them to cross over the other team’s baseline using the coated-foam balls. This activity works on teamwork, cooperation, overhand throwing skills, and rolling skills. To begin, separate your class into two groups. Have each group spread out on the boundary line using the whole length of the gymnasium. Then place as many beach balls as you want down the midline. The number of beach balls you want to use is up to you. I like to use 5 to 10. Scatter the coated-foam balls all around the middle of the gymnasium.

Moveover (Baton)

The purpose of this activity is be the first group to move the baton over to the other side past the designated finish line. This activity is fantastic for the skill of overhand throwing and throwing for accuracy. First, tape a beach ball on the bottom of a baton. Then take a string and feed it through the baton. Make sure the string is long enough so that you can attach it to both basketball hoops on each side of the gym. Divide the class into two teams. Add some coated-foam balls and have the students overhand throw the foam balls at the beach ball. The baton will then glide across the gym depending on which side makes contact more. Check out these examples by @NorthPolkWestPE and @AAHemi!

Pop It

The objective of this activity is to pop the critter’s on the wall and move up to the next level. This game is awesome for the skill of overhand throwing. It may also be used as an instant activity. This activity requires that you have a projector, either a tablet, laptop, or phone, and internet access. Just download the app called Jitterbug by Friskies® and project it on a white screen or the gym wall. Roll out a bunch of coated-foam balls and let the students overhand throw at the bugs projected. You then control when the bugs pop from your electronic device allowing them to move up to the next level. This activity is definitely one that students love! Check out a video example! (@jcarder87 and @physedreview)

Holes

The objective of this game is to get a coated-foam ball into a hoop. The game works on the skills of throwing and/or striking. First, set up volleyball nets across the entire gym. Place 20 hoops on the floor on each side of the gym. Create 2 teams and place them on each side of the gym. The students will then strike the coated-foam balls with either the underhand or overhand serve or throw the balls overhand/underhand over the net to the other side. If the ball lands inside the hoop, the other team then takes that hula hoop out and places it in a designated area. The first team to remove all the hoops wins. You may also have the team place the hoops that they win on their side of the floor and the team with the most hula hoops after a certain amount of time wins. See a video example! Check out more from Benjamin Pirillo on his YouTube channel, TeachPhysEd!

Go Fish

The objective of this game is to collect as many hoops as you can. This game works on underhand throwing and rolling for accuracy. To begin, have the students get into partners and stand behind a cone. You can either use the width or the length of the gymnasium. It depends on how many students you have. Take hoops and scatter them all over the gym floor. On the signal, have the students take turns rolling the coated-foam balls at the hula hoops. If the ball goes into a hula hoop and stays, that group gets to keep the hula hoop. Play for a certain amount of time or until all the hula hoops are gone.

I hope your students enjoy these activities as much as my students do. These activities were found via searching and collaborating with P.E. professionals from all over the country either by google searches, social media sites, books, P.E. conventions, and more.

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3 Coated-Foam Ball Activities for Elementary PE (Video)

Posted 6 days ago - by Shannon Jarvis

As a presenter and mentor to other Physical Educators, I am often asked about equipment and what my favorites are. While I have many, coated-foam balls are, without a doubt, first on my list. I’m often surprised by the resistance I get back to that answer…  

“I don’t like dodgeball!” 

“We don’t play dodgeball at our school!”

“I can’t believe you play dodgeball!”

I have to laugh when this happens because I didn’t say anything about the game of dodgeball. Yes, coated-foam balls are often used in dodgeball, but there are so many other styles and types of games you can play that don’t involve students targeting other students. Best of all, these balls come in a variety of sizes, densities, and colors, so the gaming options are truly limitless!

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Here are 3 of my students’ favorite games using coated-foam balls (non-dodgeball, of course):

1. Knock Off

 

 

2. Backyard Bash

 

 

3. King Pin

 

 

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Recess: Observations, Considerations, and Lessons Learned

Posted 1 week ago - by Aaron Beighle

From legislatures considering state level laws, to schools examining recess policy, to the release of the CDC documents and suggestions for Strategies for Recess in Schools, recess has received a considerable amount of attention in recent months. Throughout my career I have had the chance to be involved in many facets of recess. They range from implementing strategies as a teacher, to conducting research, writing papers, helping develop policies, and discussing the use of recess as punishment with my daughters’ teachers. On this latter point I would love to be able to report that the teachers were thoroughly impressed with my expertise, data, and suggestions. Well...not so much. Based on my experience, my intent here is to provide my observations, considerations, and lessons learned to help physical education teachers and other school physical activity champions.

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Define recess

When creating laws and policies it is essential that within this process recess be defined. Further, the definition must include language to ensure students are allowed to engage in physical activity of their choosing. Without this language loopholes will be found. For instance, I have heard, “Yes they have to sit out but it’s still ‘recess’ from learning” or “I’m not taking activity time at recess away, they are walking laps because they forgot homework.” Anyone’s blood boiling yet? One definition that helps specify what recess is and avoid loopholes is provided by the Active Living Research Brief. It defines recess this way: “Recess is scheduled outside of class time and allows students to engage in physical and social activities of their choice.” This can be better worded to meet your needs. However, the key is to ensure students have the chance to engage in physical activity that they choose, obviously with parameters, and minimize the chance for less than desirable loopholes.
 

Change the recess environment

Take a look at the recess environment at your school. Would you want to go there to be active? If there were 400 of my peers with one supervisor and I wasn’t confident or was afraid of being picked on, I wouldn’t venture out into that abyss. If there were two basketballs, a jump rope, and a bunch of dead grass, that’s not the active environment I would choose. We have to consider this. The research is pretty clear that zoning the recess environment off, providing inexpensive recreational equipment (not playground sets), training staff, and painting the space to be more appealing, all increase activity levels. The research and summary of these can be found in the ALR brief mentioned above. Also, Gopher has an excellent program called Active and Healthy Schools that can assist you in making your recess environment more appealing.
 

Teach recess activities in physical education

Almost 15 years ago I stumbled onto this phenomenon. I was doing research on recess and I noticed that the students were playing Four Ball Soccer (or how many ever soccer balls they had that day). This seemed very odd because most students would not think of this. If there aren’t uniforms, lines, and adults there to ruin it, they don’t know how to play soccer. I asked the physical education teacher about it and he said, “Oh we teach a bunch of recess activities at the beginning of the year so they know some options.” GENIUS. Of course, he had been doing this for 20 years and I was late to the dance. This strategy does not take away from physical education time; in fact it lends itself to what we are supposed to be doing, promoting physical activity. This strategy also allows students to see the link between physical education lessons and physical activity beyond the gymnasium. Some examples of activities that can be taught in physical education and then used at recess are:

  • Four Ball Soccer – Played like normal soccer except there are four balls used rather than one. Also, the player who kicks the ball out of bounds has to chase it. This tends to cut down on players kicking as hard as they can.

  • Dance Party – Teach some dances during a physical education lesson. At recess, turn on the songs and let them dance. They can do the dances taught or make up their own… as long as they are appropriate.

  • Walking interview – Designate a walking trail on the playground and provide students with cards with questions. This will help get the conversation started.


Equipment checkout

When I was teaching, equipment loss at recess was always a challenge and costly. I believe there are still missing playground balls on the Dallas Tollway, which was just a fence and tiny road away from the playground. On a trip to England several years ago I was shown yet another GENIUS idea. The school had a small shed that housed the recess equipment. At the beginning of the year each student was given a small token. A piece of wood they can decorate and put their name on works perfectly. Each week a different class served in the shed as the equipment managers during recess. Typically, only one or two students were needed per day. Students then gave the managers their token in exchange for a piece of equipment. When the equipment was returned, so was the token. If equipment was not accounted for, the last user was known. This process virtually eliminated equipment loss and put ownership/responsibility on the students.

These are just a few ideas. I ran out of space and didn’t get to address more ideas like indoor recess, intramurals, and teacher engagement. All great ideas that I have stolen over time. Give the ideas here a shot and see if it helps maximize recess time. Thrive! 

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10 Favorite Coated-Foam Ball Ideas and Activities

Posted 3 weeks ago - by Jessica Shawley

Just picture it... you receive an equipment order and go to open the box. In it is a package of shiny, new Rainbow® Set of foam balls. Ah, the coveted coated-foam ball! No, it’s not a dodge ball. It’s a coated-foam ball that is used in boundless ways in a quality physical education program. A variety of quality foam balls are an important staple in any physical education teacher’s equipment room. You can use them for just about anything!

Attending professional development opportunities and participating in social media has allowed me the opportunity to grow my repertoire of foam-ball based usage and games to expand beyond the traditional “dodgeball-esque” games. There are so many wonderful activities and games using foam balls. Here are my top 10 favorite uses and some “go-to” games:

 

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1. Foam ball as a medicine ball

I don’t have enough medicine balls for each student to have one so I turn to the foam ball where everyone can learn the exercises correctly before using the medicine ball for resistance. A new favorite has been the “plank tunnel” where teams of students line up in plank position and race against each other to the be first team to pass a foam ball through its “tunnel” and back to the start while maintaining the plank hold.

 

 

2. Foam ball partner activities

Students are highly social and our classroom is an important setting to allow for social interaction. I use foam balls for wacky relays (think “under-over-under-over” races), partner passing for throwing and catching development, and curl-ups with chest pass. I like to even extend the partner chest pass to one done while balancing on a BOSU® Trainer. This one gets a real smile out of students!

 

3. Target practice

Whether rolling or throwing, using foam balls to knock down pins or cones, hit targets on the walls, and throw through hula-hoops are essential to target games. The foam ball is a safe way to allow for high repetition practice for throwing development.

 

 

4. Racquet sports or striking development

Use high-bounce, small foam balls for indoor tennis, pickleball, table ball, or handball.

 

 

 

5. Beginner basketball skills

Try a high-bounce, larger foam ball for dribbling and shooting.

 

 


 

6. Indoor soccer and hockey

Foam balls for indoor soccer or floor hockey also work well.

 

 

7. Softball skill development

Place a small foam ball on a tall cone for indoor batting practice, or baseball/cricket-style games such as womba-ball and bonkerball (bonus: softer to catch).

 

 

8. Nutrition themes

Use Rainbow® colored foam balls for nutrition-themed integration games. Reinforce the food groups while also playing a coated foam ball game. Gopher has a ton of nutrition-themed games to check out!

 

 

9. Spikeball™

Grab a hoop and a high-bounce foam ball and you’ve got yourself a makeshift Spikeball™ game. Before I had multiple sets of the original Spikeball™ game I supplemented my unit with skinny hula-hoops and a high-bounce foam ball. It is an excellent progression for younger students and Jo Dixon has a nice Spikeball™ blog to get you started.

 

 

10. Invasion games

Invasion style games such as SturTee™ and Coneball using a coated foam ball are an important part of my physical education program. Check out my previous blog on these two games. Using a foam ball is less intimidating for students while still maintaining the spirit of the game. These Ultimate Frisbee style games are a favorite with my students.

 

Continue the conversation: What are your favorite ways to use coated foam balls? #PEblog #physed @gophersport @JessicaShawley

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Screamin' Games Your Students Will Love

Posted 3 weeks ago - by Gopher Community

Team games are meant to be fun, active and a little out of control. We used Gopher’s Screamin’ activity balls, hoops, cones, and bowling sets to put together a list of activity ideas that are sure to make your kids scream with excitement! 

Pass, Protect and Score!

 

Split students up into three teams. Students are assigned to be either a thrower, blocker (3 students) or receiver (3 students). Receivers hold a hula hoop above their head and are limited to a designated area. In order to score for their team, throwers must throw their team’s colored ball to score in their colored hoop. Blockers attempt to block the other team’s ball from scoring. The first team to score all of their colored balls is the winner. For a larger class, play on both ends of the gym!

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Circle Pin Protector

 

Students are split into three different teams and assigned to a Screamin' color. They must roll or throw the balls to knock down their opponent’s pins while trying to protect their own. Students must throw the ball within their team’s circle, but are able to leave the circle to retrieve balls.
 

Team Pin Knockdown

 

Place Screamin’ Cones along the center line and Screamin’ Pins on each side of the gym. Kids must use the Screamin’ Balls to either roll or throw to knock down all of their opponent’s pins. The team with pins still standing at the end of the game, wins!

 

Pin Defender

 

Students form a circle around a Screamin’ Hoop with a Screamin’ Bowling Pin in the middle. Students pass the ball around the circle while one student tries to prevent the pin from getting knocked over. If a player knocks a pin over, they earn a point for the offensive team. If a player attempts to knock a pin over and misses, the student must switch places with the student guarding the pin. If a player is the pin guard and the pin gets knocked over, they must subtract a point from their individual score. The first person to 10 points is the winner! This game is an adaptation from thePhysicalEducator.com, check out Joey Feith’s “Guard the Pin” skill progression here.
 

Pin Protector

 

Screamin’ Yellow, Orange, and Green pins are placed on the opposite side of the gym. Students must roll or throw to knock down their opponent’s pins. Once all of your pins have been knocked down, your team is eliminated from the game. The last team standing is the winner!

View Gopher's entire selection of Screamin’ equipment.

Do you have a game that your students love? Share them with the Gopher Community by commenting below!

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5 Tips for Increasing MVPA Time in PE (Video)

Posted 1 month ago - by Gopher Community

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that children between the ages of 6-17 participate in at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Physical Education is the main source of activity for many students. It’s extremely important to make sure that your curriculum is providing students with sufficient MVPA time. Here are five tips to increase MVPA time during your class:

1. Instant Activity

Create an activity for students to participate in as soon as they enter the gym! Have every student grab a basketball and make a hoop on every basket before class starts, Everybody’s It Tag or a quick game with Topple Tubes.  The video above asks students to perform today’s date by completing different exercises!


2. Active Roll Call

 

Tired of squads? Liven up your roll call by making it active! In the video above, students draw cards and perform a different activity based on the suit and number on the card. Every student must come to you to get a new card. This is a great way to see who is absent! Other easy ways to perform roll call is having every student grab a pedometer, if you don’t have data from the pedometer, then the student was not present in class. Establish pairs or teams for an entire quarter to be used for instant activities. You’ll know a student is absent if a partner is missing or a team is incomplete.
 

3. Smaller Games = More Participation

 

As Chad Triolet states in an earlier blog, group games can lead to a few players dominating the action. Increase activity time for all students by splitting a large group game into several smaller ones. Extra students can practice skills and rotate in once a mini game is over.

 

4. Circuit Stations

 

Tabata is a great way to increase MVPA time in PE! Check out Pete Driscoll’s webinar, “Introducing Tabata Workouts for PE.” He has some great ideas to get students moving. The video above is a non-stop circuit. Students complete one exercise and hustle over to the next piece of equipment for the next exercise. Perform 10 minutes of non-stop circuit action!


5. Active Time Fillers

 

Shannon Jarvis wrote a great blog featuring quick activity ideas for when there’s 5-10 minutes left in class. The video above is a variation of Shipwreck, but with a Basketball theme.

 

Bonus: Additional Ideas

  • Limit Transitions: Limit the amount of transitions in your class! Continue a lesson plan with the same groups of three or create easy commands for finding new partners.
  • Shorten Directions: Keep your directions short! Less directions = more activity.
  • Be Passionate! Your enthusiasm rubs off on your students. Students will want to be more active if they are inspired by their teacher. Be a great role model and your students will benefit from it!

 

Resources: Physical Activity Facts

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Step Count vs. Activity Time in PE

Posted 1 month ago - by Robert Pangrazi

Are you tracking step count or activity time in your physical education classes? Dr. Robert Pangrazi explains why activity time is a more fair and accurate measure for students. 

 

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MVPA Hops to New Heights with Jump Rope Program (Video)

Posted 1 month ago - by Gopher Community
 

Jumping rope is an excellent exercise for increasing activity time, coordination and confidence. While jumping rope is often used as a warm-up activity, one professor studied the health and social benefits of an after school jump rope program.

Minnesota State University Physiology professor, Dr. Jessica Albers, studied students as they spent 2 hours after school learning how to jump rope.

“It’s one of the more high-intensity activities that you can participate in,” Dr. Albers said. “You wouldn’t think that jumping this high over and over again would get your heart rate up that fast, but it does.”

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Students between the ages of 8-12 learned and mastered different jump rope skills throughout the 12-week program. At the end, students performed a group routine at the local high school.
 

Increasing MVPA through Jumping Rope:

Jumping ropeWhile Dr. Albers used a more scientific approach to determine MVPA (Accelerometer counts and intensity cut points developed by Freedson et al), Gopher’s FITstep™ Pedometers track step count, total activity time, and total time within the moderate to very vigorous activity zone. With the FITstep™ Pro Pedometer, teachers are able to upload data into the FITstep™ software to organize into printable reports.

“What it’s looking at are the intensity levels of your activity,” Dr. Albers said, “If you want to actually see changes in the cardiovascular system within the respiratory system and even musculatory system, depending on the type of activity you’re doing, you need to be at these higher intensities.”

She tested students three times throughout the 12-week, 90-minute program and concluded the following activity results:

  • 9.7 minutes (10.8%) in very vigorous activity
  • 7.6 minutes (8.4%) in vigorous activity
  • 28 minutes (31.2%) in moderate activity
  • 8.0 minutes (8.9%) in light activity
  • 36.7 minutes (40.7%) in sedentary

Dr. Albers admits that most of the sedentary time was spent learning new skills and the group routine.  

“When we broke down, just for sense of time, MVPA specifically - moderate, vigorous and very vigorous - they were meeting their recommendations.” Dr. Albers said.

Albers was surprised with how much very vigorous activity time students were getting and thinks jumping rope is a great way to keep students motived throughout the entire class period. 

“We could just make kids run for 30 minutes a day. PE - go run for 30 minutes a day! But that’s no fun.” Dr. Albers said, “With jump rope, hopefully you keep it interesting enough that they continue to be active enough during that period of time.”

 

Other Benefits of Jumping Rope

Beyond physical fitness, Dr. Albers explained that there may be other benefits to jumping rope.

“Jump roping is so unique, you learn skills every single day.” Dr. Albers said. “If you have success in something, it overall increases your self-competence, and then with that, you are more likely to try something multiple times.”

Dr. Albers uses Harter’s Competence Motivation Theory as a large motivation for her reasoning. According to Oxford Reference, Harter’s Competence Theory explains that a person’s confidence increases after they master a task, encouraging them to take on more challenges in the future.

“You master so many things [in jumping rope], as opposed to some sports, you might take longer to see those mastery attempts be successful.” Dr. Albers said.

 

Getting Started with your Jump Rope Program

Dr. Albers currently teaches a jump rope class at Minnesota State University – Mankato and has worked with multiple schools to expand their PE curriculum or add an after-school jump rope program.

 “I encourage you to just go try it and be out there with your students.” Dr. Albers said, “Kids figure out things faster than you would think. Even showing them a video, they can kind of figure out some things on their own pretty fast, which is always fun.”

Dr. Albers recommends using the photos and videos at Jump Rope for Heart to learn different skills and techniques. You can also use Gopher’s JumpSkillz™ Mountain, a 6’L x 4’W banner that offers step-by-step instruction for 20 progressive drills and is a great resource for increasing jump rope instruction into your program. Need to replace broken jump ropes or add more to your storage room? Check out these Jump Ropes all backed by an Unconditional 100% Satisfaction Guarantee! 

How do you use jumping rope in your PE curriculum? Share your ideas for increasing activity time by commenting below!

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Enhance PE Best Practices with Pedometers

Posted 1 month ago - by Jessica Shawley

If you ever have the chance to attend a workshop featuring high school physical education teacher Maria Corte, you need to do so. She is one of the most highly respected workshop presenters I’ve ever met. She teaches physical education best practices through her “M’s” of quality physical education: Manage, Move, and Motivate. We’ve got to be able to manage, move, and motivate our students. I would also add to this list: Measure. How do we measure student progress or program impact? There’s one measurement tool that has been a game-changer for my program when it comes to achieving the “M’s” of quality physical education, and that’s the FITstep™ Pro Uploadable Pedometer.

I classify the FITstep™ Pro Uploadable Pedometer as one of the most applicable and affordable teaching tools available today. It was specifically designed for physical education. I recommend it to anyone wanting to add meaningful technology to their program, especially one that measures student progress and can easily report this data to students, parents, and administrators. Data is a powerful tool.

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A few of my favorite FITstep™ Pro Pedometer features include:

  • In less than 2 minutes, an entire class of 30+ can download their data.
  • The software program is free. No annual fees.
  • Students get immediate feedback: How active was I today? How do I feel?
  • I get immediate feedback: Did my lesson go as planned? How active was it?
  • I can print customized reports for each student, class or both.
  • I can use them in PE, for take-home projects, or staff wellness challenges.

I’m now expanding the use of pedometers to outside the general physical education classroom. Last spring my classes cycled through wearing a pedometer home for the week. Students filled in an activity log and analyzed their data in a Physical Activity Reflection assignment. This helped them develop a plan toward achieving the “60 Minutes a Day of Play” recommendation. Some of my special education students now wear the pedometers all day to measure daily physical activity levels at school. They enjoy the privilege of having their own pedometers. The purpose of expanding pedometer use outside of physical education is to help students begin to connect what they are learning in class to their personal lives. I want them to develop a physical activity plan that supports health-related fitness and achieves moderate-to-vigorous intensity levels in activities. The pedometers help teach these concepts. I want students to identify what they enjoy, the health benefits of these choices, and where they can access it outside of school.

The research shows active students are better learners. Elementary classrooms now have students wear pedometers all day to motivate students to be more active, help them reflect upon their activity choices in school, and help teachers integrate more movement-based teaching practices and activity breaks. Integrating movement in the classroom is now a respected best practice.

The opportunities pedometers can provide school systems are many. What an amazing time in our profession! Check out my website’s pedometer resource section for more ideas.

The FITstep™ Pro with the "M's" of Quality Physical Education:

MEASUREMENT

  • Simultaneously captures THREE Modes: Steps, MVPA, and Activity Time.
  • Achieve national and state standards to measure 50% or more MVPA time in class.
  • The free customized tracking software comes with free upgrades. No annual fees.
  • Data downloads in less than 2 seconds, maximizing class physical activity time.
  • Customizable reports for parents, students and administration are easy to create.
 

MOVEMENT

  • Analyze student and class activity time immediately. Are students really moving?
  • Concrete data. No more guessing.
  • Reflect upon MVPA & activity time. Did I implement an effective lesson?
  • Helps students understand what intensity levels they are moving at.
  • Helps students set movement goals and can challenge them to keep moving!


     

MOTIVATION

  • Students are empowered with the instant feedback from the pedometer.
  • Students can set goals, see if they are achieved and reflect upon the results.
  • These pedometers are very accurate. Reliable data helps motivate students.
  • The pedometer can be personalized to a child’s MVPA threshold each class, allowing for more success other single-mode pedometer.


MANAGEMENT

  • Attendance is quickly taken with the pedometers, helping lessons begin faster and reducing discipline issues.
  • Students put the pedometer on and can begin moving instantly.
  • The pedometers can be used each class period for different students.  
  • Students of all abilities can use this pedometer easily.

 

*Table information adapted from Gopher website

 

Today’s physical education programs must know how to effectively “Manage, Move, and Motivate” students. Programs must also be able to Measure student progress. The FITstep™ Pro Uploadable Pedometer supports all of these areas.

  • What is your current system for achieving the “M’s” of quality physical education? How might pedometers help you advance your teaching? 
  • Looking to purchase pedometers? Check out local grant opportunities through your hospitals and insurance agencies. Look into Donors Choose, Fuel Up to Play 60, and become a Let’s Move Active Schools champion. Many grant opportunities are available here and can include pedometer technology.
  • There is a Voxer group for physical education teachers using FITstep™ Pro pedometers or wanting to learn more about pedometers in physical education. Check out the FITstep™ Pro Pedometer group on Voxer

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Continue reading the Gopher PE Blog for more ideas, tips, and trends!

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