A Go-To Activity That’s Great for All Grade Levels | Ep. #10 PE Express Podcast

If you’re looking to add a go to activity to your teaching arsenal, you’ll definitely want to stay tuned into this podcast.

First things first, we have to identify some characteristics of a go to activity. For me a go to activity is quick to set up, has few rules, and is a fan favorite of your class.

Second, we have to identify those times when you need to rely on that go to activity. I used Ultimate Ball Passing Tag during shortened class periods, recess, intermural, field day and even those occasional sick days. This is an excellent activity for your sub plans.

Here’s a brief description of Ultimate Ball Passing Tag. It’s basically Blob tag with ultimate frisbee rules. In blob tag players add on to the tagging team when tagged and ultimate frisbee players may only pivot when holding the flying disc. Put those together and you have Ultimate Ball Passing Tag. In this activity a team of two begins as taggers with one ball. Together they pass back and forth trying to reach and take somebody with a ball in hand.

You’ll need jerseys, pennies or wristbands of the same color to identify teams. To save time I also like to use juggling scarves and have students tuck them into their waistband at the hip. You also need a ball that is age appropriate for your students to throw and catch with. If you’re playing in the gym, use the outer most perimeter lines is boundaries. If you choose to play outside, grab a couple of cones for your field. The rules for ultimate ball passing tag are few and simple. There’s three basic rules each for the tagger and non-taggers. So for the taggers, the first rule is taggers can move anywhere without the ball. The second rule, taggers may not take any steps with the ball, but they can pivot. The third rule, taggers must tag with the ball in hand. It means they can’t throw the ball at somebody to tag them.

Rules for the non-taggers. First rule, move anywhere inside the playing area. The second rule don’t interfere with passes. The third row, join the tagging team if tagged. I have never had a complaint about this activity. Participation rates are always off the charts and my kids leave my class smiling and sweaty. This activity can be modified several ways. For class size there really is no limit of players you can have for one game. I’ve done this activity with nearly a hundred fourth graders in my gym and every single fourth grader was participating.

If you have a big class, here’s a couple of modifications you can make. The first modification, add more different colored teams. For example, you can have a blue and green team. Preferably I like to incorporate one set of tagging partners for every 10 or so students in class. I often had 60 students in my classroom so I had six different colored taking teams to start this activity.

A second modification for this activity. Give taking teams additional taking balls the larger their team gets. I usually give teams another ball when they reach five or six on their team. Doing this ensures participation rates stay high and makes the non taggers really work to avoid being tagged. Ultimate ball passing take can be modified for several grade levels. I’ve taught this activity as low as second grade and as high as you and your peers teaching physical education. For any grade level, think about the expected skill level outcomes and adjust accordingly. For second grade, I used a larger easy to catch ball and I allowed students to take up to three steps with the ball for middle and high school grades. I incorporate Footballs and Frisbees to pass with instead of a ball. I also incorporated pedometers where students were given the goal to achieve as much moderate to vigorous physical activity they could within the activity. This meant they basically had to stay moving at a pace faster than speed walking. Go forth and inspire your students today.

Derek is a Washington State-based NBCT Physical Educator looking to leave a lasting impression in the Physical Education community through meaningful collaboration, advocacy, and teamwork. He taught elementary PE for more than a decade and now currently serves all 32 schools in the Highline School District as the PreK-12 Health and Physical Education Coordinator. A Seattle native, Derek’s credentials include a bachelors and masters in Physical Education from Western Washington University and Central Washington University, respectively. He serves alongside other physical educators on his state’s Health and PE cadre. Derek shows his growing passion for teaching leadership and advocacy in Physical Education as a workshop presenter for SHAPE Washington and SHAPE America. He also shares his PE philosophy with educators across the globe as a monthly blogger through the Puget Sound Educational Service District and Ready Washington. Outside of PE, Derek enjoys spending time with his family of 3, running outdoors, and swinging the golf clubs searching for that illusive hole-in-one. See what Derek is doing on Twitter: @PhysEdDerek

Derek is a Washington State-based NBCT Physical Educator looking to leave a lasting impression in the Physical Education community through meaningful collaboration, advocacy, and teamwork. He taught elementary PE for more than a decade and now currently serves all 32 schools in the Highline School District as the PreK-12 Health and Physical Education Coordinator. A Seattle native, Derek’s credentials include a bachelors and masters in Physical Education from Western Washington University and Central Washington University, respectively. He serves alongside other physical educators on his state’s Health and PE cadre. Derek shows his growing passion for teaching leadership and advocacy in Physical Education as a workshop presenter for SHAPE Washington and SHAPE America. He also shares his PE philosophy with educators across the globe as a monthly blogger through the Puget Sound Educational Service District and Ready Washington. Outside of PE, Derek enjoys spending time with his family of 3, running outdoors, and swinging the golf clubs searching for that illusive hole-in-one. See what Derek is doing on Twitter: @PhysEdDerek

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