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Volleyball can be a hard unit to teach at the elementary level.  These games and activities have been successful with my students and have become some of their favorite activities. 

Big Ball Volleyball

Focus on skills like teamwork, catching, and throwing with this fun game! Place students into groups of four (2nd-5th grades) or groups of eight (Kindergarten-1st grade). Each group has a small parachute or a bed sheet. Groups must work together in order to get an Omnikin ball, lightweight oversized ball, or a beach ball over the net only using the parachute. The ball cannot touch the ground or it is a point for the other team. Groups must use teamwork to catch the ball and get the ball over the net.

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Get everything you need to play Big Ball Volleyball with this Team Launch Volleyball Set!

 

Volleyball Serving

Even though this activity is an easy setup, students enjoy it so much because they enjoy the challenge. I challenge the class to make a certain amount in the hoops, and I keep score.

There is a volleyball net set up in the gym to encourage the students to serve the volleyball high and over. Place students in lines along the baseline of the volleyball court. For younger students, you’ll want to start your lines within the volleyball court. Students serve the volleyball and try to make it into a hula-hoop on that is directly across from them on the other side of the net. On the count of three, the first person in each line servea. Students should serve quickly, but keep the students who waiting in line moving by doing various fitness or locomotor activities until it is their turn. Depending on their age or grade level, they can pass a ball to themselves in place or practice their serving form.

 

Newcomb

This game has been around since the early 1900’s and is great for 3rd-5th grade. Instead of bumping and setting, the students are learning rotation and focusing on three players playing or touching the ball after they receive a serve.

Two teams (12 players total) on the court at a time. Play begins with the student in the serving position serving the ball over the net to the other team. Students then catch and throw the ball back and forth over the net until it drops. Three players may play the ball before throwing it over the net. If it is more than three players or if the receiving team misses, the serving team scores a point. The serving team then rotates and the next play begins with a different server.  If the serving team does not get the ball over, it loses the serve and the opposing team scores a point. The next play begins with the opponents as the serving team. Each time a team wins a point, they rotate so a different player serves for the next play. This allows everybody to get a turn serving in the limited time. The first team scoring 11 points or the team with the most points after a set time limit wins the game.

 

Passing Challenge

Split players up into groups of five to eight and challenge each group of players to see how many times they can pass the volleyball to other players in the circle without letting it hit the ground.  Beach volleyballs, oversized volleyballs, or balloons can be substituted for a regular volleyball depending on the age and skill level of the players.  Older players can also do the same challenge but instead of passing they will set the volleyball to other players.

A variation of the passing challenge is to pair players up and see how many passes they can complete back and forth without the ball touching the ground. 

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3 Tactical Soccer Games for PE [Video]

Posted 1 week ago - by Gopher Community

Before starting a soccer unit, I find it beneficial for students to self-assess and think about whether they are a beginner, expert, or somewhere in between. This helps them make real-time decisions during the game based on their level of comfort.

I always start with more students on offense to increase scoring and skill practice. Once the students show me mastery of these skills, I make the teams even. I also focus on progressing from warm-ups to conditioning activities, and end each game with one or two focus skills. The focus skills of the games below are passing and possession.


Color Call Out

 

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The goal of a good warm-up is to get students ready for game play. Focus on a specific skill or activity such as passing, shooting, or keeping your head up.

Set-Up:

Teams begin by passing the ball with short passes. Start with stationary passing, and then progress to moving while passing. When either goalkeeper calls your team color, the player on the ball takes two touches and tries to score on that goalie. The keeper then throws the ball out to another team member in the same group and the passing continues. Teachers can use other skills to progress to, such as volleying to a partner, headers, or throw-ins.

Stop every few minutes to stretch dynamically, making sure all muscle groups are stretched.
 

Attackers vs. Defenders

 

Disguising conditioning during small-sided games keeps the game fast paced and keeps students actively engaged both physically and mentally.

Set-Up: I recommend setting this activity up in a small-sided games format with multiple fields and teams.

  • 1 large goal at end of field
  • 2 small goals on the sidelines, 1 on each side (use cones or pop-up goals)

The offense will stay in the shape of two forwards up front and five midfielders behind them. Encourage them to “play big” instead of grouping together to make more of a challenge for the defense.

The attacking group tries to score on the big goal, while the goalkeeper and defenders try to win the ball and score by shooting into the two smaller goals down the sidelines. Adding these sideline goals helps eliminate defenders simply clearing the ball into the middle and encourages them to start their attack down the sideline. This also helps the defensive team to stay compact and communicate to help defined as a unit.

Play for about five to six minutes and then switch up defensive and offensive players, so each student gets the opportunity to play both positions.

 

Soccer Match-Up

 

This is a possession game where each player picks a partner on the other team. Players are only allowed to defend the person they are matched-up with. I start with a simple scoring system where four consecutive passes earns a team one point. You can adjust the number of passes to increase or decrease difficulty. The goal is to encourage students to dribble the ball and create passing opportunities to their teammates.

This game meets SHAPE America National Physical Education Standards 1 and 2.

Standard 1 - The physically literate individual demonstrates competency in a variety of motor skills and movement patterns.

Standard 2 - The physically literate individual applies knowledge of concepts, principles, strategies and tactics related to movement and performance.

 

Game and activity ideas provided by Michael Cummings.

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Five Passes: One Game, Endless Possibilities [Video]

Posted 1 week ago - by Aaron Beighle

Although the origin is unknown, the game “Five Passes” has been in the Dynamic Physical Education for Elementary School Children textbook and lesson plans since 1972. In other words, it’s an “oldie but a goodie”. One beauty of this game is that it offers a plethora of variations to integrate many skills, concepts, and sports. Further, it allows for various curriculum and instructional models. As a qualifier, as with most things in life, Five Passes is not inherently good or bad. It has to be taught using effective teaching practices. Thus, simply using the information presented below alone for an entire lesson without the use of progression, skill instruction, questioning, scaffolding, differentiation, and/or an instructional model is not advocated. If you want to learn more about these, I encourage you to look into them as this blog does not allow space to delve into them in detail.

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The basic purpose of the game is for a team (preferably small-sided) to get five passes in a row to score a point. Typically, the game is played with a 5” dia coated-foam ball with throwing, passing, and catching as the primary manipulative skills used to achieve five passes. Using this as the foundation is where the fun starts. The remainder of this blog will outline various modifications to rules, scoring, and equipment that allow one game to turn into infinite possibilities for learning experiences.

 

Rules

Typically when taught, the first “challenge” is simply for the offensive team to get five passes in a row without the ball being knocked away or dropped. The defense works to prevent five passes. From there rules and tactics can be added one or two at a time. Adding them all at once is not advised as this takes extended time for instruction, and students are not able to absorb and apply all of the rules/tactics. Additional basic rules are provided below. Keep in mind, depending on the variation, other rules may be necessary.

  • The player with the ball can hold the ball for only three seconds.
  • The player with the ball can take only three steps.
  • The player with the ball can dribble three times.
  • The defense has to be arm’s length away from the player with the ball. The ball can be contacted/caught only by the defense while it’s in the air.
  • No pass backs for 4 vs 4 or greater.
  • At least three team members must catch one of the five passes if greater than 4 vs 4.
  • If the ball goes to the ground, that last team to possess the ball must give the ball to the other team. This prevents diving and scrums on the floor for the ball.
     

Game Progression

  • The first time teaching this game it is advantageous to do so in scattered formation. That is, one team is not going in one direction or the other. This allows students to get the hang of the concepts and strategy without confounding the process with directions.
  • Once the rules have been added and students are grasping the concepts, then directions can be added. This can be accomplished with a rule such as “if the blue team catches their fifth pass in the coned off area on the north side of the gym, they get two points. Red team, your coned off area is on the south side.”
  • One final step for a basic game designed to lead-up to a game such as Team Handball is to add a scoring mechanism. For instance, after the fifth pass, if a team can throw the ball into their goal, they receive two points. The variations discussed below have countless modifications that may require unique progressions.
     

Variations

The obvious variations for the basic Five Passes game are for any invasion game such as basketball, soccer, hockey, tchoukball, and ultimate. The most prominent change will be the equipment used, the skills needed, and scoring. However, the foundational information provided above remains.

 

Slam Ball

 

This version is a derivation of a version created by students at the STEAM Academy in Lexington, KY, and involves several levels of play (three will be described here). In addition to Five Passes, elements of volleyball and Saucer Slam are added. It was created as part of a “Game Tester” unit in which students created innovative, inexpensive, and inclusive games.

  • This version is played 2 v 2 and final pass must be hit (slammed) into the goal. The goal can be a cone, a cone with a ball on top, a clothes basket, Saucer Slam goal etc.
  • Next, four teams of 3 play on four small courts in a grid like space. One player from each team guards their goal in their grid. Teams can score on any of the other three goals and 2 to 3 balls are used.
  • Finally, to add an element of volleying in the game, the fifth pass must be set to a teammate who then spikes into the goal. This version may require a larger goal.

 

Speed Football

 

This adaptation was created by 3rd grade students of mine while teaching at the Episcopal School of Dallas. The small twist on the kick-off added an element of excitement and energy for them. This change also prevented the “losers walk” and game stoppage of a traditional kick off.

  • The game is played with a Fun Gripper Football rather than a traditional ball.
  • No steps are allowed and no dribbling. Older students may be able to dribble the football with their feet or hands but the elementary students could not.
  • Once a team scores, the person who catches the pass immediately throws the ball to the other end of the field. This serves as the kick-off and the ball has to go beyond the center line.
  • The team who catches the kick-off is immediately on offense. The only rule I added is a team could not score more than two touchdowns in a row.

 

Speed-A-Way

 

This game is another oldie but goodie created by Marjorie Larsen in the 50’s. It combines soccer, football, team handball, and many other skills. It is included here because teachers can build on Five Passes to teach this game. Below are some additional rules.

  • Players wear flags. If a player in possession of the ball has his/her flag pulled, the ball changes possession.
  • The ball can be advanced either by dribbling with hands, running (no more than three steps before a hand dribble), or dribbling with the feet.
  • If the ball is on the ground and in play, it cannot be picked up with the hands. It has to be transferred from the feet to the hands. Players can do this by lifting it to themselves, or a teammate can lift it to another teammate. Advanced students may be able to pass with their foot, ala a soccer pass, to a teammate down field.
  • Running the ball into the endzone is worth one point. Throwing to a teammate in the endzone is two points. Kicking to a teammate in the endzone is worth three points.
  • As with most games, rules, such as how many players must touch the ball, how many touchdowns a player can have, etc. should be added as needed to avoid one or two players dominating a game.

I will force myself to stop here. I am sure most of you kept thinking, “or you could do this” to each of the ideas presented above. And there are so many more variations that could be taught, all building on the foundational concept taught with Five Passes. I encourage you to try some of these or variations or your own ideas. Change things up. It might work or it might not. That’s okay. Ask students how to improve the game. Have them add rules or suggest equipment changes. Empower students to make the game their own. tHRIVE!

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How to Hit a Home Run Teaching Softball

Posted 2 weeks ago - by Jessica Shawley

THIS OR THAT? Which game will students get the most out of?

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As a former collegiate softball athlete and head high school coach you would think teaching the game is one of my favorite times of year. Well, to be honest, it wasn’t when I first started teaching but it definitely is now! It all started to really come together when I approached it from a small-sided games perspective and helped students focus on skill building and enjoyment of the game. Small-sided game play is one of the most game-changing best practices in physical education I have implemented to help students feel successful and build their skills. The visuals here are from my Small-Sided Games webinar  from the Gopher Solutions Webinar Series. Visit my website for the slides if you want to dive into this topic a bit further.

Softball is a great lifetime/recreational physical activity that students can enjoy outside of school. Issues arise when teaching this sport though with ill-informed lesson design and poor implementation of activities. Here are 5 keys to hitting a home run the next time you teach softball.

1. Use a progression of small-sided games.

The image below from my Gopher small-sided games webinar provides an example of game progressions from simple to more complex. In any of the activities, the success is in the smaller field and focusing on one or two key aspects of the game as a challenge so that students can get better. It allows you to layer in the rules and progress to the larger game context near the end of the unit. I am able to walk around and help students more. The students also get in a lot more repetitions.

  • Game #1 - 2 vs. 2 Hit for Points: The focus is for students to hit for points and for the defense to field the ball cleanly.

    • Basic rules – Offense: Track your points. Whichever cone you hit it past, you get those points. Hit twice and then rotate offense/defense. Defense: Track your points. Field it cleanly to get points. 1 point for a grounder. 3 points for a fly ball.
       
  • Game #2 - Back & Forth for Points: Everyone is against each other for points. The runner/batter gets 1-point for each touch of a cone. They run “cricket” style back and forth after hitting off the tee (large cone). Defenders field the ball and then make a throw to each person on defense. The last person to catch a throw runs it to the big cone to stop the play.
     
  • Game #3 – Hit & Run Through First: Focus on grounders and running through first base. Defense fields ball and throw to first for a point. The batter must hit a grounder for a point and then complete the run through first base. Rotate hitters.
     
  • Game #4 – Around the Bases for Points: The batter hits and then runs around the bases (scoring 1 point for each base touched) and keeps running until the defense has fielded the ball and thrown it to each person before running it home to stop the runner. Some students may get in two rounds around the bases (8 points)! This focuses on all aspects of the game.
     
  • Games #5 – 4 vs. 4 Softball: Put it all together and play on a smaller field. You can also see Figure 2 for a 7-person softball game with a rotation explanation.

 

 

Figure 1. Small-sided softball setup examples.

 

 

  

Figure 2.  Rotation for 7-person Softball

C=Catcher, B=Batter, P=Pitcher,
I=Infield, O=Outfield


2. Have a plan for indoor lessons when the weather doesn’t cooperate

The spring brings a mix of rain and sun. This year has been historically rainy, testing my ability to bring traditionally outdoor activities inside for longer periods of time. I appreciate how this challenge brings out the extra creativity in me. Here are a few favorite games and adaptions for indoor play, which can obviously still be used outside as well.

  • Play backyard baseball/wiffle ball (No peg outs, please. No one likes to get hit with a ball). Foam balls/wiffle balls and foam bats are essential for success here. Having a “double field” game such as Gopher’s DiamondDash would fit well here for indoor play.
  • Under “Activity Session Documents” on my small-sided game info webpage, there are a few more modified softball games you can use for indoors. Gopher has a great video demonstration of this concept in their Team Home Run Derby Set. I’d recommend this for anyone getting started with small-sided games in softball.
  • Use innovative indoor equipment and/or rules:
    • My students love the Big Hitter Game when inside because of the BIG bat!
    • “Wombat” uses a softball/kickball format where you pitch a light rubber ball underhand and it must bounce first before the batter hits the ball with a large bat. We use the bouncy SoffPlay Balls to add an element of bounce inside so we can play off the walls. For my older students, we combined this wombat game with the ramp from the ACTION! RampedUp game and the BigHitter Bat mentioned above to hit a SoffPlay ball!
    • Allow two runners on base. Use a large base system or a large cone as a base works well. Students learn by getting experience and having more than one runner on when indoors can add an element of complexity to situations.
    • “Freebies to first” is something novel to try out in certain contexts. Though the out is recorded for the defense (you can play 3 to 5 outs), the runner is safe at first so they can experience base running. This gives the defense some more action as well.

Simple field setup for small-sided games.

Hit off 3 pitches and/or hit off the cone as a tee.

 

3. Have an organized framework.

I now use Rainbow color-coded equipment for six teams throughout the unit and this has made a huge impact upon the flow of the lesson. Each team has a bucket of equipment they are responsible for. This makes setup and clean up super easy! I find the students take care of “their color” and there is no mistaking whose equipment it is. See images below.

 

Rainbow® Color-coded Equipment Team Buckets.

Yellow bag with lefty-throw gloves & extra gloves.

Teams of 4: 4 Gloves, 1 Foam Bat & Ball, 3 Softballs, 4 mini-cones, 1 large cone as a tee.

 

4. Use a sport education model when possible.

I like using a modified sport education model that emphasizes team roles so all students have a responsibility and a role to fulfill to help the lessons run more smoothly and give students the opportunity to learn responsibility and to be on a team. With small teams, this makes it easy. Here is a sample team form with the information.

 

5. Emphasize teamwork and teach empathy.

This is a highly skilled team sport that involves a lot of different rules and positions. For quite a few students, this is their first introduction to the game, making it a challenge to design a quality experience for all skill levels. Again, I focus on skill development and layer in progressions, emphasizing fun and personal challenge.  I remind students to have empathy for others as everyone comes in with different levels of experience in any activity we learn and that we are here to help make each other better so that when we want to play it outside of school there are others willing to play with us because they had a positive experience learning it in physical education. I think it is important to remind students that we are here to have an enjoyable experience, to improve our skills personally (and not at the cost of others), and to learn lifelong activities. So, let’s have fun and get better together!

 

I hope these tips help you hit a home run the next time you teach softball!

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Refine Sport Skills with Tchoukball & Sabakiball

Posted 2 weeks ago - by Jason Gemberling

Speed, agility, strategy, teamwork, and hand-eye coordination are all keep skills for almost all traditional American sports, such as basketball, football, and baseball, and all of these skills are brought into play in Tchoukball and Sabakiball. 

Tchoukball and Sabakiball are 2 of the more popular units in our high school physical education classes.  And as teachers, we love both of these games as well because of all of the skills mentioned PLUS the tremendous amount of cardio our students get while playing. 

Tchoukball

Tchoukball is a game that reminds me of basketball, but more intense!  This game is extremely fast and goes end to end in the blink of an eye.  Another great aspect of Tchoukball is that there is NO defending, which allows students to feel more comfortable playing the game.  Teams are throwing at a target, which is a rebounder that kicks the ball back into play for the opposing team to try and catch before it contacts the floor. 

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This game requires teams to work on spacing on the floor to cover more area, communication on who is going for the ball, and speed and agility to react to the ball as it comes off of the rebounder.  And that is just the team on defense!  Offensively, the idea is to trick your opponent and shoot at the rebounder using angles avoid giving the opposing team the opportunity to catch the ball before it hits the floor.  One very unique piece to the game is that teams can shoot at either end of the floor, so again it requires excellent communication and floor spacing. 

As a former basketball coach, I would love my players to play Tchoukball while working on spacing and communication!  As a PE teacher, I encourage you to put pedometers or heart rate monitors on your students while they play Tchoukball, you will be amazed at the results!

Want to add Tchoukball to your classes? Get the complete pack or a rebounder here!

 

Sabakiball

Sabakiball is a game similar to basketball again with a little soccer thrown in if needed.  Two teams defend a pin at their ends of the court.  Players must move the ball down the court, passing with their hands or feet. But before they shoot at the baki-pin, they must complete at least three consecutive passes using only their hands.  Again, floor spacing is a crucial element to this game and translates very well to basketball or soccer.  Teams may play defense in Sabakiball and as soon as a steal is made, just like in basketball or soccer, teams must transition to offense.  Defensively, teams have a goalie, who just like in soccer will try to defend the baki-pin by any means.  Sabakiball is another fast-paced game designed to increase students’ heart rate and get students working on game strategy and communication. 

For both Tchoukball and Sabakiball, my students have created plays and set themselves up in different formations to be as effective as possible.  This is another beautiful piece to these games, because I do not give them the answers to strategy.  We go over the rules to the games and talk about teamwork and communication, but after that they play and slowly learn the nuances to the game as a team and as a class.  It is amazing to watch as students form the plays and positioning and work together to fine tune their plans!

I encourage you all to jump onto YouTube and search for videos on Tchoukball and Sabakiball.  It is amazing to watch videos of these games being played at extremely high levels, some internationally!  I have taken time to show my students some of these videos at the beginning of these units in an effort to generate some excitement!  My students can’t believe the athleticism of these players! 

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P.E. Activities with Cones, Hoops, and Poly Spots

Posted 1 month ago - by Michael Beringer

Every Physical Education teacher has equipment that they use on a daily basis. Whether they are teaching indoors, outdoors, or in an alternative space or location, these must-have pieces of equipment are always within reach. You know, those items you replenish every year because you use them ALL of the time? However, not every P.E. teacher’s list of essential equipment is going to look the same. Here our my most commonly used pieces of equipment (in no particular order) and 5 fun P.E. activities using them:

  • Poly Spots
  • Cones
  • Hula Hoops

Maze – Cooperative Activity

My favorite poly spot activity is a cooperative activity called Maze. You will need 30 poly spots and several already made maze cards for each group. Divide your class into 6 groups with about 5 students in each.

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How to Play:
The students set the 30 poly spots into a 6 x 5 grid. One student in each group holds the pre-made maze cards on one side of the poly spot grid and the other 4 students stand on the opposite side. One student at a time picks a poly spot that they think will get them through the maze. If correct, they can keep picking. If they are wrong, they go back to the end of the line and the next person goes. This keeps going until all the team members get out of the maze.

 

Musical Fitness

My second favorite activity that includes poly spots is Musical Fitness. All you need to play this activity is 30-40 poly spots and 30-40 fitness exercise cards. Place the exercise cards in a circle around the perimeter of the gym. Then place the ploy spots on top of the exercise cards. 

How to Play:
On the signal, have the students jog around the poly spots until the music tops. Whatever poly spot they stopped by is the exercise they need to perform. After 30-60 seconds, play the music again and have the students jog or perform a different movement activity around the ploy spots. Continue for 5-10 minutes. This activity is great for an instant activity/warm-up/ASAP to start class. 
 

Flip It Fitness

My favorite activity to play with my students involving cones is Flip It Fitness. Kevin Tiller created this idea and the overall objective of the game is modeled after the bottle flip craze. As your students enter the gym, have them pair up and go to a set of cones.

How to Play:
At the signal, each pair of students starts to flip their cones. The first one to flip their cone and land it wins. The student that wins does a victory push-up and the other person does jumping jacks until a new challenger arrives.  You can also do this activity in partner relay lines. In addition, you can write exercises on the cones themselves and have them perform the exercises when a cone flips and lands.

 

Target Holders

Another favorite use for cones is as target holders. Cones are great for all target games. You can use many skills including rolling, overhand throwing, and underhand throwing in order to get the students to hit the targets. You can also use a variety of equipment including throwing discs, foam dice, foam balls, etc.

 

Fitness Timer

My favorite hula-hoop activity is Hula Hoop Timer. Hand each student a hoop as they enter the gymnasium. You should have a series of exercises written on a whiteboard, a sheet of paper, or just have the students pick their own exercise.

How to Play:
At the signal, the students spin their hoop. While the hula hoops spins, the students perform the exercise until the hoop completely stops. You can also have them do this activity in pairs and you can specify what component of fitness they must perform. Look at a great video of this activity by Justin Cahill. 

For additional P.E. activities featuring hoops and poly spots, check out these blogs:

* Disclaimer: The activities described above are common P.E. Activities and are not my own creations.

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Superhero PE Games to Get Students Moving [Video]

Posted 2 months ago - by Gopher Community

In honor of National Superhero Day (April 28), we have compiled 5 fun superhero-themed games that your students will love! These games use Rainbow Sets of equipment to distinguish different superhero teams. Every color represents a different superhero!

  • Red = Ironman
  • Orange = The Human Torch
  • Yellow = Wolverine
  • Green = The Incredible Hulk
  • Blue = Superman / Superwoman
  • Purple = Batman, The Phantom, or Psylocke (Batman doesn’t have any superpowers so his character might be difficult to use in these games)

 

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Superpower Shakedown

 

Similar to Everybody’s It Tag, students run around the gym trying to collect super powers (flags) from other students while protecting their own! We used Infinite Flag Belts to divide the players into 6 different superhero teams. Students will have a blast making up names for the new powers they acquire. The person with the largest arsenal of powers at the end of a designated time is the winner!

 

Super Power Pile-Up

 

Help! All of our superheroes have lost their powers! Place six hula hoops around the outside of the play area. Students must run around the gym, collect their super powers (ClassicCoat Balls) and return them to their base. Once a team has collected all of its super powers, they can steal powers from other teams. The team with the most super powers/balls at the end of a designated time is the winner!

 

Superhero Battle Royale

 

This game is a battle between all six superhero teams!  Players collect their colored superpowers (ClassicCoat Balls) scattered around the gym floor and work to score on the other team’s AllAround Jr. Goal - weakening them with every ball scored. The team with the least amount of balls in their team’s goal is the winner!

 

Superhero Revival

 

Teams designate a player to tag other superheroes with their team’s colored ClassicCoat Balls! If tagged with the ball, the player is drained of all of their powers and must go back to their base to revive. In order to revive, the player must perform 10 burpees to be allowed back into the game! Nobody is safe! Even taggers can still be tagged by other teams.

 

ACTION! Super Shielders

 

Students will love this unique superhero-themed game available only from Gopher. The goal of Super Shielders is to protect your city while the other team tries to knock over your team’s buildings. Superheroes will love the cape and shield that comes with the set. Add a unique twist to the game with archenemies that can tag anybody and make them perform an exercise before returning to the game. The first team to knock over their opponent’s buildings is the winner. This game includes activity instructions with even more game ideas and variations! Shop or learn more about Super Shielders!

 

Your students will have a blast saving the world with these fun superhero games for physical education!

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5 Unique Game Ideas with Block 'Em [Video]

Posted 2 months ago - by Gopher Community

In ACTION! Block ‘Em, students use foam blocks to build a 6 x 6 block tower while preventing the opposing team from knocking it over. Students love this fun twist to a knockdown-style game, but the best news is that these blocks can be used for so much more!

Check out 5 unique PE activity ideas to use with ACTION! Block ‘Em:

 

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Spelling Bee Block ‘Em:

 

The foam blocks can be used to spell out words in a team relay! Encourage students to come up with and spell out the most creative word or have each team spell out the same word in a timed relay. Correct spelling and legibility count!

 

Block ‘Em Breakdown:

 

Each team has 4 - 6 stacks of blocks on opposing ends of the play area. Teams must protect their stacks of blocks while trying to knock over the opposing team’s stacks.  The team to completely demolish the other team’s stacks first, wins!

 

Building Block ‘Em:

 

Instead of destroying towers, this game focuses on building them. Teams work together in a relay-style game to try and build the fastest pyramid. Students can be creative in how their pyramid is built! For a fun addition to the game, create a knockdown component. The first team to build its pyramid and knock it down is the winner! Students can either build a really tall and slim tower that’s riskier to build, but easier to knock over or a really sturdy structure that’s harder to knock down.

 

Block ‘Em Bowling:

 

Stack the foam blocks as a pyramid and have kids bowl to knock them all down. Blocks can also be scattered around the play area to be knocked over individually in a knockdown game!

 

ACTION! Block 'Em: 

 

In the classic game of ACTION! Block ‘Em, students try to build a 6 x 6 block wall while the other team tries to knock it over. Students can either work to build the wall, protect it, or knock down the other team’s wall. Every block that gets knocked over by the other team must be returned to the center play area. The first team to build their wall is the winner!

 

ACTION! Block ‘Em is an extremely versatile game and makes for a great addition to your physical education supplies. Each pack comes with activity instructions with even more game ideas and variations – check it out here!

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The PE Game Your Equipment Room Needs [Video]

Posted 2 months ago - by Gopher Community

As a physical educator, purchasing equipment that can be used for multiple activities and units is like hitting the jackpot! One of our favorite items that’s big on versatility is ToppleTubes. ToppleTubes are unique 2-color tubes with endless uses in physical education. They’re great for PE games and activities like stacking, relays, and knockdown, but their versatility also makes them a great addition for sport-skill units and fitness activities.

We’ve put together 10 game and activity ideas that will make ToppleTubes your favorite piece of equipment!

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Football Skills

ToppleTubes can be a great addition to any agility drill. Use them in your football unit for the 3-cone drill or quarterback movement drills. Practice juking by having students juke left if yellow is facing up and right if blue is facing up. Lastly, use ToppleTubes as catching boundaries or targets!

 

 

Basketball Skills

Use ToppleTubes during your basketball unit by having students dribble from tube to tube and flip them over to their team’s color. This activity is great for practicing control and maintaining space. 

 

 

 

Topple Balance

Place a ToppleTube on each end of a balance beam. Students must walk to one end, bend down, flip the ToppleTube over, and then repeat the same steps on the other side. Have students flip each ToppleTube over 5 times for ultimate practice!

 

 

ToppleTube Tip Over

Two teams each have a designated number of ToppleTubes that they must protect. Defenders try to defend their ToppleTube, while offenders try to knock over the other team’s ToppleTube. If an opponent knocks over a ToppleTube, he/she flips the tube over and possession changes. The team with the most ToppleTubes with their team’s color facing up at end of a designated time is the winner!

 

 

Indoor Baseball of Softball

Refine aim and control during indoor baseball or softball units by using ToppleTubes as targets for grounders! ToppleTubes can also be used for a variety of strength and conditioning exercises or activities for baseball or softball teams.

 

 

 

ToppleTube Cardio

Space the ToppleTubes around the gym for teams to compete against each other by flipping the ToppleTube over to their team’s color. Switch up the movement for a great warm-up activity!

 

 

 

Fitness Games & Activities

Instead of completing 10 reps of lunges or push-ups, have students alternate with a partner! Whenever they complete a rep, flip the ToppleTube over to their color. When the music stops, whoever’s color is facing up earns a point! Another fitness activity is to practice Russian Twists in a circle and use the ToppleTubes to pass around the circle.

 

 

Tennis Targets

ToppleTubes are great for tennis targets! Place the ToppleTubes a few feet in front of your students and have them aim to knock them over with the tennis ball. This will help your students to practice rallying and control.

 

 

 

ToppleTube Target Knockdown

Players aim to knock down their opponent’s ToppleTubes. If it is knocked over, the student must run over and flip the ToppleTube to their team’s color. The team with the most colors facing up, wins!

 

 

 

Building/Stacking Relay

 In a relay style game, students race to the other end of the gym to build a pyramid using all of their ToppleTubes. Once their pyramid is complete, they must use their three foam balls to knock down all of their ToppleTubes. The first team to knock all of them over, wins!

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Physical Education Games [Middle School]

Posted 2 months ago - by Peter Boucher

Teaching any subject,including physical education, in middle school can be challenging, but it can also be exciting!  During my teaching years, I found middle school students to be incredibly energetic and enthusiastic. They're willing to try just about any activity at least once, as long as you as the teacher, are energized and passionate about your teaching. 

Designing lesson plans full of movement and fun are paramount at every level and this is certainly true for middle school students. It's essential to engage them with all sorts of perpetual motion and a healthy dose of fun, and I always like to add a smidgeon of competition to keep it a little more exciting.  Here's my list of fun physical education games and activities for middle school students:

Super Fruithead  

I love to take games and change their names so that it is catchy and sometimes silly. This is a version of "Fishy, Fishy Cross my Ocean" and Fruit Salad. I have used this game with my PE classes and after-school teams for conditioning. It is a tag game where students need to run from one end of a field or gymnasium to the other when called by the "Super Fruithead".

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How to Play:

  • Assign all students a fruit (we always change up the fruits and use exotic fruits to make it more fun)
  • The Super Fruithead calls out a fruit, "Avocados!", then all of the avocados must run from one end of the field to the other without being tagged by Super Fruithead
  • If a student is tagged, they become a "Fruit Minion" and help the Super Fruithead tag from then on
  • The last student tagged becomes the Super Fruithead for the next game

 

Fitness Tic Tac Toe

This is a newer game that the kids love!  You can set up as many games as you want with as many kids on a team as you want, too. 

How to Play:

  • Set up a tic-tac-toe grid (or preferably more so the kids are more active)
  • Have the two teams start about 20 yards from the grid
  • Each team has a specific color of bean bags (4-5 per team)  
  • Teams line up and when the teacher says "GO!", one member of each team runs down to the tic tac toe board and places a bean bag on the board
  • The student then runs back to their team and the next team member goes
  • Team members continue to run back and forth because they can change/swap their bean bags to adjust to their opponents' moves
  • The running and game continues until a team wins

 

March Madness 3 vs 3

This is a more traditional game, but the kids look forward to it year after year.  We wait until March to coincide with the NCAA tournament to create more energy. I particularly like this unit because it teaches the kids how to play 3 vs. 3 basketball, which is a transferable skill throughout life – in their neighborhood with friends, after work in the gym, or later in life in an adult league, etc.

How to Play:

  • Each class works on 3 vs. 3 basketball skills leading up to the tournament
    • Students are taught all of the fundamental basketball skills along with how to play a 3 vs. 3 game on one net. 
  • Each class is divided into co-ed 3 vs. 3 basketball teams and they choose their own team names (they love this!)
  • Use a round-robin tournament in each class
  • The teams that win their class can play after school at the end of the tournament for fun and for the “school championship”. The students LOVE this unit and tournament!

 

NitroBall™

Being completely transparent, I might be a little bit skewed here as I helped invent NitroBall with Gopher. With that being said, my teaching colleagues insisted that I include it, as they say that their students love this game. 

NitroBall™ is a version of "inverted volleyball" that can completely amplify the ability to utilize your tennis courts for something besides tennis.  This fun physical education game can also be set up inside and coincide with your badminton, pickelball, or other net games units.  The Basic NitroBall™ Set includes 2 balls, 1 net, a storage bag, and instructions. The only adjustment I would recommend for younger grade levels is to add a few more players to the court to maximize participation and the fun factor.  NitroBall™ is typically played with 4 players per team but you can definitely move that number to 5 or even 6 players at the younger levels. Learn more about NitroBall!

 

So there you have it, my top 5 physical education games and activities compiled from my years of teaching and a host of teaching colleagues.  I'd recommend giving all of them a try and see what you think.  Check back in and let us know how your students liked the games. Don’t forget to share your favorite physical education games and activities!

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