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10 Equipment and Inventory Organization Tips

Posted 1 month ago - by Jessica Shawley

equipment storage roomI’ll admit it; I love the opportunity to organize and inventory the equipment room. I really do. I know an organized space helps set me up for success. Having an up-to-date inventory helps guide planning for the current year and beyond.

One does not need to stress about being an organization expert. I work to the best of my ability with what I have. I pick one area to improve upon, gather ideas for that area, and then make it happen. Do the best you can with what you have, and do not waste all your time trying to find and implement every idea. Of course, a big ‘thank you’ goes to the online community of Pinterest, Google, Twitter, and Voxer for sharing ideas. Here are my top ten tips for equipment and inventory organization. I’ve also included a free inventory template.  

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1. Organize by type:

I group most of my items by type. For example, the fitness equipment section is organized by type (bands, jump ropes, dumbbells, etc.) and goes in a particular area of storage. All general multi-use items are in the same area including cones, spots, pinnies, etc. We also have a “curriculum corner” where all task and fitness station signs, nutrition education materials, pencils, markers, etc. are all together.

CartGo mobile storage rack2. Organize by usage:

As in our own homes, frequently used items are easily accessible and infrequently used items are in the back corner and take a few moments more to find when you need them.

We use an in-season and out-of-season system. Items that are going to be used for the upcoming unit are placed up front and are typically in collapsible, wheeled storage carts, like CartGo. Equipment we just finished with is put away in the back or on shelves.

3. Take notes:

To go along with tip #2, it is important to reflect, not only upon the end of each unit with regard to the learning experience, but also in terms of equipment and materials.

When putting away equipment I may not use for a while, I make notes as to what may be needed next time and what needs fixing. With that said, have a note pad and pencil handy in the equipment room (thankfully Gopher includes a note pad with each order). Being able to take notes immediately is a huge help! I then take a picture of the note and bring it back to my office to transfer to my official to-do list.

4. Labeling:

I label EVERYTHING. I use 2-inch deluxe vinyl floor tape on all tubs, boxes, larger items, etc. Every piece of equipment is also labeled. With black permanent marker, I write, “MMS PE” along with the year I received it. The year helps me know how old something is and reminds me of when to add it to the replacement rotation list. It also lets me know if an item is holding up to my expectation of use. If I bought something last year and it looks as if I’ve been using it for 5 years, then I may try something longer lasting next time.

As a side note: Sometimes you really do get what you pay for, so consider how long you want something to last. Gopher did not tell me to write this, though, I feel like it needs to be said. Their warranty is the real deal. When Gopher says, “Unconditional 100% Satisfaction Guarantee,” they mean it. This gives me great peace of mind and helps stretch my budget. I find their equipment lasts longer and their customer service to be the best in the business.

mobile equipment storage rack5. Think Portability:

One of the biggest helps in my storage room is having the ability to wheel equipment around so that I can change between units quickly. Look for collapsible carts like the CartGo cart or Magnus wheeled carts for in-season items.

6. Color Coding:

Being able to purchase equipment in rainbow colors helps with organizing teams and stations. It has made my lessons run more smoothly. I recommend integrating more color-coding whenever possible.

7. Storage Options:

Most teachers are not provided with a complete storage system, so always be on the lookout for good deals on storage items such as tubs in a variety of sizes, cardboard boxes, collapsible carts, wheeled carts, milk crates, and utility hooks to hang things in storage.

ipad storage8. Electricity & Technology:

An important thing to keep in mind is where you will organize, secure, and charge all devices. This can be a challenge if your storage room is not set up with a charging area.

Having high quality multi-port power strips helps. We are lucky enough to have a secure storage space, so I use plastic file folder tubs with my iPads placed upside down and charge them in there. Electricity access and secure storage is an important conversation to have with administration as you add more technology. You don’t want to breach any safety inspection policies with charging cords running amuck.

storage closet repair area9. Junk Drawer and Repair Table:

My “junk drawer” contains zip ties, cords, carabiners, clips, and those random pieces. You never know what you will need and having a small utility drawer comes in handy. The repair table is where broken or damaged items reside or where new items go that need inflation or labeling before officially going into storage. The toolbox and inflator are both in this area.

10. Electronic Inventory Record:

I use an electronic inventory sheet to keep a detailed record of everything we have. This is updated at the end of each year and turned in to the office before I leave for summer (both as a hand-delivered hard copy and as a soft copy delivered via email). Feel free to download the template and adapt it to meet your needs. You’ll also find my previous organization blogs here on my P.E. Champs webpage.

Continue the conversation: What are your favorite equipment organization tips, tricks and #pehacks? Please share them in this thread. I’ll start the conversation on Twitter as well. Follow me @JessicaShawley

 



How to Hit a Home Run Teaching Softball

Posted 4 months 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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Continue reading the Gopher PE Blog for more ideas, tips, and trends!

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Curriculum Organization Tips for Physical Education

Posted 5 months ago - by Jessica Shawley

Purposeful planning, organizing, and reflection are key components to quality teaching. I’m always asking myself: How can I be more mindful in enhancing the learning experience for my students? The answers to this question help refine my curriculum organization practices. It is important for teachers to develop an organized and dynamic curriculum, one that can be modified and grow with time. Teachers must have a plan for implementing and assessing curriculum progressions to help students achieve learning outcomes. So how do I keep it all organized? Here’s a look into a few of my curriculum organization practices.

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1. Develop a purposeful plan

Identify the key standards and grade-level outcomes you will be addressing or measuring. Determine how you will measure this. Develop learning activities to help students achieve these outcomes. My department has created a curriculum map. It’s a large document that has all the nitty-gritty details of everything we want to do including learning targets, essential questions, learning activities, assessments, and a timeline. From this larger curriculum map, I created an “at-a-glance” chart that acts like my Cliff Notes. This helps me see overall progressions quickly to assist my lesson planning. All documents are in a shared Google Drive folder (there is a Team Drive option if you collaborate with others or a department). This allows our department to collaborate easily. There are a lot of resources available on how to map out a curriculum and design-standards-based lessons. Here are just a few:

 

2. Develop a lesson plan library 

Now that I have a curriculum map and “at-a-glance” chart in hand, I need to organize all my ideas, lessons, and activities and link them together for easy access. Everything is saved in the shared Google Drive folder mentioned earlier. The warm-ups are in a “warm-ups library” folder, fitness activities are in the “fitness library” folder and these are linked to the headers in my “at-a-glance” chart so I can easily access them from one main planning document. Check out the screenshot below to help clarify. Physical Education Specialist, Kevin Tiller, has a YouTube video explaining his Google Drive Lesson Plan Library organization here. It is similar to how I organize my folders that I link to my overall planning documents – the curriculum map and “at-a-glance” chart. Terri Drain has an excellent video on “Planning a Standards Based Lesson” on YouTube if you’d like more on that topic as well.

 

 

3. Post essential questions and learning targets

What does it mean to be fit? Why should I be fit? How will I know if I am fit? These are important essential questions for students to think about in physical education. Fitness is a year-round focus in my physical education program. It manifests itself through a variety of activities. Some activities may or may not look like “traditional fitness” yet all activities are designed to help students achieve the goal of lifelong fitness. My learning activities help students reflect upon their interests, strengths, and weaknesses and help them develop a lifelong fitness plan.

Having essential questions and learning targets in view helps communicate what students need to know and be able to do. This information also guides my opening and closing class discussions. Utilizing essential questions and learning targets are an important component to your teaching. Use them! I have fallen in love with the ClassCue Sign Holder to post my learning targets, essential questions, and station signs. It is the feature image for this blog.

 

4. Reflect and Record

Reflect upon your planning and implementation and record it so you can enhance the learning experience next time. I use Google Drive to develop and organize my lesson content. I write lesson Cliff Notes and reflections in a small notebook that accompanies me wherever I go along with my iPad open to my Google Drive app lesson content. I write follow-up notes and reflections in my small notebook. I then transfer the notes to my Google Drive lesson plan library. When I go to teach this content again, I know how to make it better.

 

Bonus Tip: Relationships. In all things, it always comes back to relationships. It starts with us. The teacher is the catalyst for the positive learning environment. Regardless of learning outcome, the curriculum content, or the weather, the teacher’s mindset lays the foundation for success. Build relationships with your students. Be positive and have fun teaching!

 

If you need new curriculum ideas, here are two great places to start:

  • SHAPE America offers awesome webinars, trainings, and their Exchange forum allows you to post questions where you receive supporting answers and ideas from other professional members.
  • The Voxer Physical Education community is very supportive, and you can join in discussion groups to gain new ideas. You can also check out a previous post “My Web-Based Toolbox for Professional Development” for more ideas on how to keep learning. 

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10 Favorite Coated-Foam Ball Ideas and Activities

Posted 7 months 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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Enhance PE Best Practices with Pedometers

Posted 8 months 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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Enriching Participation in P.E. with Progressions & Equipment

Posted 8 months ago - by Jessica Shawley

Though fitness is a primary focus of my middle school physical education program, I also teach a lot of skill development through sports-based (team and dual) activities. A foundation of my program includes a large selection of versatile equipment. I wish I would have known earlier in my career how to identify and purchase the right equipment to adapt and use in a variety of ways to meet the needs of my students; in other words, how equipment could be used in multiple areas and not just for its original purpose. Below I provide some insight.

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The equipment selection I inherited was very traditional even though my student’s ability levels were extremely diverse. Through ongoing experimentation, including many trips to the local “dollar” store, tracking the superstore sales racks, and gathering ideas at conferences and via social media, I have compiled a large variety. Having diverse options, choices, or levels of equipment helps keep activities interesting, provides differentiation, and challenges students in a fun way. 

Activity and Equipment Examples:

  1. When teaching softball, my progression starts with large cones (Oversized Cones) as batting tees and a safety bat and ball (Rainbow® UltraGrip™ Foam Baseball Bats). What’s nice about the tall cones is their versatility; they can be used throughout the year for stations, goal posts, agility course markers, and a million other things! Students hit off the tall cone for batting practice warm-ups and in small-sided game play before playing the larger game. I also use hoops (an equipment staple for most) as an on-deck batting circle and larger bases in modified games that sometimes allow multiple people on a base or can be used as the pitcher’s circle. 
     
  2. A specific small-sided game example is “Cricket-style softball,” where students hit off the cone and run back and forth between two cones to score points while the defense fields the ball and makes a specific number of throws before running in to touch the home plate cone to stop the play. 
     
  3. Another idea to include once you work into the larger softball game format is to allow “Freebies to first base.” The batter becomes a live runner at first, even if they get out. This allows the batter to do more than just go back to the end of the line after getting out and challenges the defense with runners on base. If first base was already occupied during the out, you can bump up the runners to the next base. The possibilities are endless and having progressions keep things engaging and fun within the spirit of the game. 
     
  4. In target games, one of my go-to choices is the Elite Hoop Disc Target Set. It provides a variety of target heights and works for multiple activities including Disc Golf and Disc Lacrosse, as well as modified Handball goals or small-sided Speedball hoops. The targets also work for general throwing games, yard game targets, and for “Creation Stations” where students design the activities. Students think they are very “Harry Potter-like” and ask if they are playing Quidditch! 
     
  5. Along the lines of disc/Frisbee® activities, offering large or soft discs is important and helps when you need an indoor option. If you have never played Speedball, check out Joey Feith’s breakdown via www.thephysicaleducator.com.

As you can see, a few pieces of select equipment (tall cones, targets, and hoops) have become critical in enhancing several activities in my curriculum. The versatility of equipment also helps stretch my budget. I enjoy perusing through equipment catalogs for new ideas and more efficient choices.

Finally, there are a few questions I use to prioritize my purchases. When planning lessons and progressions, I now think about...

  • How can I change the size, speed, color, and feel of the object, goal, or target?
  • How can I modify the game so everyone will be successful and be able to choose their level of challenge while maintaining the spirit of the game?

This thought process is not just for my special needs students with physical limitations, it’s for all students. I’ve seen a greater return on student participation levels and overall enjoyment of trying a new activity.

I look forward to sharing more ideas on adaptations and progressions in upcoming blogs. Thanks for reading!   

Considerations for progressions:

  • Provide various levels of challenge in the activity while still maintaining the spirit of the game.
  • Vary the speed of game (fast, slow), and intensity level of defense (hot, cold). Provide scoring variations.
  • Vary the size of space and teams (small, large). Develop small-sided progressions: 1 vs. 1, 2 vs. 1, 2 vs. 2, 3 vs. 3 and so on.
  • Versatility: Equipment may be used in several situations.
  • Have choices in overall size (small, big), height (short, tall), color, feel, or size of objects and types of goals or targets.

 

Continue the conversation: There are many creative equipment hacks that help teachers utilize equipment in a variety of ways. What are your favorites? #PEblog #physed #PEhacks #physedhacks @gophersport @JessicaShawley

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Teaching Skill-Related Fitness Concepts in All Spaces

Posted 11 months ago - by Jessica Shawley

There are two areas of fitness that must co-exists within physical education—health-related and skill-related. My students enjoy activities that challenge any of the six skill-related fitness components: Balance, Agility, Speed, Power, Coordination, and Reaction Time.

During an extended period of construction in our district, I taught without a gym or cafeteria and provided physical education from a traditional classroom space for a year. Things got interesting when we were inside for the winter, and I had to get extra creative. This is when I had fun with skill-related fitness challenges that could be performed in small spaces.

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Teaching skill-related fitness is an important part of physical education and just plain fun. Developing skill-related fitness increases student success in the activities they enjoy, or may come to enjoy later in life. When a student feels successful in an activity, he/she will most likely continue to participate in it. This can then increase his/her overall health-related fitness level and continue to enhance his/her ability to participate in activities.

At the middle school level, the SHAPE America Grade Level Outcomes state students should be able to identify the components of skill-related fitness (S3.M7.6) and distinguish between health-related and skill-related fitness (S3.M7.7); thus, I design and incorporate a variety of skill-related and health-related fitness-based lessons where students reflect upon both areas of fitness and apply them to their lives. In my end of lesson debrief, I ask students to choose one activity they currently enjoy (or would like to learn) outside of school and identify the skill-related and health-related components it addresses. Allowing students to listen to their peers’ activity interests and tying in the learning targets is very effective.

Here are some ideas for teaching skill-related fitness and lesson breakdowns. These can be adapted for use inside or outside of the traditional physical education setting or can be used as part of warm-ups, in circuits or stations or as a full lesson.

Option 1: Four corner stations.

  • Set up stations in each corner of your space and use station task cards or a PowerPoint slide of the four stations (see blog image above).
  • Mix in two or three skills at a time with or without previously learned content. I like to mix in cardiorespiratory endurance exercises to further enhance student fitness levels.
  • Here is a breakdown for introducing skill-related fitness in a 4-corner circuit over two lessons:

 

Skill-Related Fitness 4-Corner Circuit

Lesson #1 Stations

Concept:

Activity:

Station 1: Skill-themed

Agility

Footwork Drills

Station 2: Skill-themed

Balance

Balance Disc

Station 3: Skill-themed

Reaction Time

Reaction Ball Drop

Station 4: Cardio-themed

Cardio Exercise

Jumping Jacks

 

Skill-Related Fitness 4-Corner Circuit

Lesson #2 Stations

Concept:

Activity:

Station 1: Skill-themed

Power

Squat Jumps

Station 2: Skill-themed

Coordination

Juggle

Station 3: Skill-themed

Speed

Speed Jump Rope

Station 4: Cardio-themed

Cardio Exercise

Jog in Place/High Knees

 

Option 2: Introduce skill-related fitness as a single focus topically.

  • It can be as part of a larger lesson, circuit, or as the lesson itself depending upon your program needs and learning targets.
  • You should loop back to skill-related fitness often as it is a natural fit in most aspects of the overall physical education curriculum.
  • The following table provides ideas to help guide your skill-related fitness activities.

 

Skill-Related Fitness Activity Ideas:

Concept:

Activity Ideas:

Equipment Ideas:

Agility: Your ability to move quickly, easily, and change directions.

  • Footwork Drills

  • Dot Drills

  • Line Hops

Tip: With agility ladders, have students follow footwork pattern station cards. No ladders? Create your own using floor tape, floor spots or small cones for your own agility course.

Balance: Your ability to maintain body control in any position or when moving.

  • Balance Discs

  • Balance Boards

  • Yoga Balance Poses

 

Tip: Use balance discs with task card challenges for students to try out. Work up in complexity, including having students toss a ball back and forth while balancing.

Reaction Time: Your ability to quickly recognize the situation and move accordingly.

  • Reaction Ball Drop

  • The Classic Ruler Drop

  • Agility Dot Drill Mats

Tip: The reaction ball game is played in groups of any size. Catch the ball off the bounce in a sequential order of bounces without losing control. How many bounces in a row can you go?

Power: Your ability to combine strength and speed quickly, creating force.

  • Medicine Ball Smash

  • Box Jumps

  • Standing Long Jump

Tip: – Have students perform a standing long jump and then measure their personal progress to incorporate personal goal setting and measurement skills.

Coordination: Your ability to perform complex movements, often doing two things at once.

  • Chinese Jump Rope

  • Juggling

  • Jump Rope

Tip: The “Chinese jump rope” challenge was a huge hit! I used Chad Triolet’s YouTube videos and skills cards via www.perocks.com and let students design their own jumps.

Speed: Your ability to move fast or perform a movement in a short period of time.

  • Agility Course

  • Speed Jump Rope

  • Relays

Tip: Students create an “agility course” and time themselves. Trying to beat their best times. This incorporates creativity, goal setting, measurement, and combines speed with agility.

Continue the conversation! What are some of your favorite skill-related fitness activities, especially those that can be done in circuits or a small space? Tweet me @JessicaShawley with #physed #PEblog @GopherSport to share your ideas!

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One of the biggest concerns any teacher has is class size. We know class size impacts many aspects of teaching from management and safety within a crowded space to having sufficient supplies/equipment, to individual feedback opportunities.1  Regardless of our situation, we must remain positive among our students and provide them with the best learning environment possible while also continuing to advocate for improved class sizes with our administration.

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There is no magic formula for teaching large class sizes, but there are resources you can access on best practices for teaching large class sizes in physical education.1 Here are four of my ‘go-to’ strategies for keeping large class sizes moving and learning:

1. The On-Off Rotation Rhyme:

Here is my rhyme: “If you win, you stay IN. When it’s two-in-a-row, you GO.” Two teams are on the court or field playing and a third is off. After a short amount of time (e.g., a 3-4 minute round) the winning team stays in to play the waiting team. However, a team can win and stay two in a row only. This keeps things moving and reduces student wait time. Once a team wins two in a row, it rotates off giving the other two teams a fresh start. I enjoy the rhyme because it’s something students remember and allows them to rotate quickly on their own. The waiting teams complete a strategy session or a task.

2. The Sidelines:

When it comes to playing games indoors with limited space, especially certain invasion-style games such as basketball, ultimate Frisbee®, soccer, and modified handball where you may only want a specified amount of players on the field to reinforce certain concepts, you will have teams waiting to play. Here are two types of sidelines you can use:

  • The "Live" Sidelines: : Inactive team(s) along the sideline. They must actively move or side-shuffle along the sidelines with the game being played. They can receive and/or pass the ball down the court, but they may not score directly. They can only assist from the sideline. 
  • Fitness or Health Center Sidelines: Sideline teams work on personal fitness at stations. Have the sideline teams complete a mini-circuit for a set amount of time. You can also use this time for academic knowledge tasks using things such as Skillastics® Nutrition quiz cards, reflection journaling, or Plickers card questions.

3. The Strategy Session:

Any team waiting to play should be working together to strategize for its next game. For example, during Omnikin® where there are three teams of four players on the court at once, I create three teams of eight and divide them in two shifts for an on/off rotation. The waiting team records its “ON” team’s play (on our school iPads® and/or with a video delay app). When it is time, all teams switch from “on” to “off” and those teams who were playing now get to watch the video feedback. They identify something the teams did well and something to improve upon when they go back in. The team also records more live game-play footage for the next switch. If you are just using the camera app video function on a device and not a specific video delay app, I recommend a four-minute game where teams can watch themselves for two minutes and then record for two minutes. 

4. Small-Sided Games:

Small-sided game play is a key best practice that allows all students to be active and participate in game play. Teachers must learn how to break down larger games into smaller contexts or mini-challenges with smaller teams in smaller playing areas. Check out my Gopher blog: 5 Ways Small-Sided Games Make a Big Impact and my free Gopher webinar Enhance PE Participation with Small-Sided Games for more information. It is a real game-changer if you are not already utilizing this best practice. 

 

1 National Association for Sport and Physical Education. (2006).Teaching large class sizes in physical education: guidelines and strategies [Guidance document]. Reston, VA: Author.

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Back to School P.E. Teacher Checklist

Posted 1 year ago - by Jessica Shawley

 

The start of the school year brings excitement for the year ahead and the opportunity to help students build healthy minds and bodies, but then there’s that familiar feeling of, oh boy, I’m not organized yet! It can be so overwhelming. Where should I begin? How did I get ready last year? Where’s my checklist?

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I’ve yet to meet a teacher who didn’t fret over getting organized for the upcoming school year. Teachers love being ready when the students arrive, and we want to provide the best year and experience possible. My organization practices are ever evolving, and I absolutely love hearing about other teachers’ organization tips, tricks, and hacks.

Here is my “Beginning of the Year Checklist” that helps my department organize our start of year process. Our checklist helps guide our efforts and delegate responsibilities so we are ready for our students on day one. This checklist came about because of the many post-it notes and notepad lists I repeatedly found myself making each year. I eventually began typing up the basic, recurring tasks we did each year and developed a comprehensive checklist to guide our beginning of the year workdays. It’s nice to have a starting point versus starting over from scratch each year. I simply print off a copy, add or remove to-do items, and assign tasks. Here’s access to an electronic copy of the template you see below: Checklist Template.

General recommendations for Back-to-School Organizational Processes:

  1. Start an electronic “to-do” list in addition to the written ones so you have a starting point each year.
     
  2. Be flexible. You may not get to it all but identify the MUST DO items and get to those first.
     
  3. Have organizational support materials on hand: file folders, highlighters, note pads, file trays, etc. so you are ready and able to quickly organize your material.
     
  4. Scan documents into PDFs and file electronically. Thankfully, our office printer has this option. I scan and save work orders, purchase orders, equipment wish lists, inventory lists, and syllabi to a department-wide shared folder. Being able to search for things electronically versus losing them in the many piles of papers that build up in the office helps maintain some sanity.
     
  5. Delegate. Don’t do it all yourself if you work in a department. We’re all in this together.
     
  6. Make a “Start of the Year” folder where you save the beginning of the year checklist and templates for your class syllabi and policies. Share this folder with your colleagues if you work in a department.
     
  7. Ask others how they organize their start-of-the-year process. This is a great topic to search for on Twitter or ask others about on Voxer. See my previous blog (Web-Based Toolbox for Professional Development) on how to get connected via these social media options.

Sample Checklist for Start of the Year:
 

Rosters, Forms, Signs & Copies

Locker Room, Office & Presentations

  1. Class Rosters
    1. Balance roster numbers with colleagues of similar classes, if needed.
    2. Export & Print rosters for first week
    3. Update roster template from last year
    4. Make rosters available for ONLINE attendance & grading via Google drive
       
  2. Class Syllabus
    1. Update last year’s template
    2. Email PDF copy to Principals
    3. Make copies for students to take home to parents for signature
    4. Post copy on class website
    5. E-syllabus form option (Google drive)
       
  3. Absence Make-up forms
    1. Update form template
    2. Make copies, put in locker room
    3. Make online form available on web
       
  4. Laundry Day signs
    1. Check schedule with laundry room
    2. Print & Post updated signs.
       
  5. Homeroom sign-out sheet: update/copy
  1. Discipline Plan to Assistant Principal
    1. See Page 8 of Student Handbook
       
  2. Get all “first day” handouts from office
     
  3. Agendas ready to be passed out
     
  4. Professional Growth Plans Updated
     
  5. Fun Run
    1. Set fun-run date,
    2. Put on master school calendar.
    3. Email staff “Save the Date”
       
  6. Start of Year Student PowerPoint update
     
  7. Start of Year PE Promo iMovie update
     
  8. Parent Night PowerPoint update
     
  9. Locker room check-out sheets ready
    1. Old Excel sheet cleared
    2. Copy over student names into excel from rosters for male/female split and assign lockers
    3. Combination tags
       
  10. Check special education caseload and meet case manager on student needs.
    1. Paraprofessional assignments
    2. Paraprofessional duties outlined
       
  11. Update Program Website

 

 

Curriculum & Department Planning

Technology Ready

  1. Curriculum Map check-in
     
  2. Scope & sequence, print copies
     
  3. Lesson Planning Workbook ready
     
  4. Posting Learning Targets: How/Where
     
  5. Warm-up progressions & calendar
    1. Electronic folder
    2. Print signs and ready to post
    3. Seconds Pro Timer setup
       
  6. Fitness workout progression sequences
    1. Electronic folder
    2. Print and ready to use
       
  7.  Pedometer Take-Home Project
     
  8. Student interest surveys
     
  9. Start purchasing list: Needs & Wants
     
  10. Check work orders submitted in summer
     
  11. Re-submit those unfulfilled
  1. iPads charged & software updates
     
  2. Speakers & iPods charged
     
  3. iTunes playlists & Seconds Pro Timers
     
  4. Tech carts set-up, computers charged
     
  5. Welnet Set-up – email tech support
     
  6. Shared Folders updated/synced, if needed
     
  7. Pedometers: Set-up holders/hooks
    1. Check numbers, hinges, batteries
    2. Upload rosters into computer software
       
  8. Plickers cards & insert rosters online
     
  9. iPad apps updated with rosters, etc.
    1. Team Shake, Plickers
    2. Others: ______________

 

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Super-Size Your Target Games with SturTee!

Posted 1 year ago - by Jessica Shawley

Let’s face it; students like to be challenged, yet also need to be set up for success.

Students enjoy when teachers change things up, they live for the experience of “the next great challenge” in their learning and relish it when we can provide a mixture of activities that give them this feeling of challenge and self-accomplishment. The SturTee™ Game Set helps me accomplish all of these things.

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I really enjoy target games and invasion games and value the importance of throwing and catching development in an appropriate manner. My middle school students love invasion games and I try to offer a wide array of options when it comes to the student learning outcomes invasion games deliver with the goal that all students will feel challenged and enjoy the creative variety of activities I can provide.

Thankfully, the SturTee™ Game Set helped me to change up the height and size of the target/goal during specific target and invasion-based games so students had a new challenge to face for both scoring and defensive sides of the game. I enjoyed watching students discuss their strategies when using the SturTee™ and we were able to compare and contrast these strategies in our lesson closure so we could all learn from one another. 

One of my favorite uses is during 3 vs. 3 “cone ball” where the target in the invasion game is a simple cone. If you hit the cone your team gets a point. If you knock it over your team gets two points. No goalie needed, just create your playing space and use Ultimate Frisbee-style rules to make it happen. It is a simple game that involves teamwork, strategy, invasion skills, catching, throwing and many other concepts such as ‘finding an open space’ to receive the pass. It can also be modified in a zillion different ways to accommodate for all levels of learners. This seemingly very non-traditional game reinforces many skills and anyone can be successful at playing it. Once students have used the cone as the target for scoring on, we progress to using the SturTee™ as the target. The students love the big, colorful target and how the beach ball pops off the stand.

The even better news, from my viewpoint, was the framework of the game can be used in a multitude of ways, year round, whether it be practicing your throws to a target or playing grid-style defender games. I really get my ‘bang for my buck’ out of this game set because it comes with 24 foam balls that are the perfect size for any throwing, catching, or hitting activity and everyone in the class can have their own or at least share with a partner. Stretching my budget as far as possible is an important factor in my purchases of game sets and SturTee™ meets those requirements.

Refresh the fun in your throwing target games today with the super-sized power of SturTee™! Get a SturTee™ Game Set for your classroom today!

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