A Culminating Event During COVID: Sport Education With a Twist

Wow, did COVID-19 ever change PE this year! Our school was lucky, though.

We have been face-to-face since early October. Unfortunately, due to covid restrictions, it looked like our 5th graders were going to miss out on two of their favorite culminating events: The Fifth Grade Gymnastics Show, and The Basketball Sport Education Tournament. We just could not let this happen, and so we put on our creative thinking caps, and came up with the “Performance Choice” unit instead!

This unit followed the Sport Education model, with modifications. Instead of participating in a tournament, the students created and performed performances. Two birds with one stone: Sport Ed., and a show!

As in a traditional Sport Education unit, each team member has an assigned job. The children, once their teams were formed, were tasked with picking a team name and mascot, and assigning roles to each team member. This was a collaborative activity. Here are the jobs, and a brief description of each:

Owner: Responsible for making sure the group ran smoothly.

Trainer: Responsible for designing the warm-up activity.

Media Specialist: Responsible for submitting daily articles, pictures, videos, or reports describing what the group was doing.

Equipment Manager: Responsible for ensuring the students had the equipment they needed.

Security: Responsible for making sure the practice area was safe, and students were following covid protocols.

Participant: The students who were performing. The only member of the team who is not required to perform is the Media Specialist.

We deliberately did not have a coach (who, in this case, would have been a director), because we wanted this to be a collaborative activity.

Next, we needed to figure out how to structure the unit. This is what we came up with:

  • Groups were formed based on students’ interests.
  • Groups had anywhere from 2-6 members.
  • Each class session followed this routine:
    • Students enter and sit with team
    • Students show their mascot
    • Media specialist reports
    • Warm-up
    • Create and practice routines
  • Each class period had at least 20 minutes for students to practice and perform their routines.
  • The teacher was available to help the groups, and to offer feedback.

The children spent 2 weeks of daily PE in this unit. The last 2 days were dedicated to their performance presentation, whether it was digital or live.

At the end of the unit, we surveyed the students, and the response to the unit was overwhelmingly positive. The main suggestion from the students was to increase the practice time.

As a school, we were excited to be able to find a way for our students to enjoy some of their favorite activities and showcase their skills. We had unicyclists, tumblers, soccer players, ball handling specialists, stilt walkers, dancers, acrobats, and more! Our media specialists did a fantastic job of filming, interviewing, and writing about their group. We were grateful to find a way to make this work, while keeping everyone safe and healthy.

Related Articles:
Engaging Students with a School-Wide Social-Emotional Learning Event in PE by
Melissa Tank

– The FUN Factor: Culminating Events in Physical Education by Jessica Shawley
The Perfect PE Activity for Family Night by Jason Gemberling

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