Ready, Skills, ACTION: Incorporating Skill Into PE

I started teaching in the days of dial up internet before social media was invented. (In fact, Mark Zuckerburg was still in elementary school!) We based our lessons on district curriculum, state and national standards, and new learning gained from attending professional conventions. With the technology world we live in today and the immediate access to pe games on various platforms, are we losing focus on skills?

Let me start by saying, I’m not averse to all social media options we use today. When linked to required standards, they provide us with an easy avenue to expand the learning opportunities for our classrooms. But I believe that we must address the skills first before we jump on the bandwagon of the latest and greatest pe games we see shared, liked, and linked.

Incorporating Skill Into PE Games

A manipulative skill is one in which a child handles an object with hands, feet, or other body parts. Let’s focus on the skills of throwing and catching and then introduce the game. Below are the outcomes we want to achieve for a 4th grade student based on the SHAPE National Standards.

Throwing:

  • Throws overhand to a partner or at a target with accuracy at a reasonable distance. (S1.E14.4b)
  • Throws overhand using a mature pattern in nondynamic environments (closed skills). (S1.E14.4a)

Catching:

  • Catches a thrown ball above the head, at chest or waist level, and below the waist using a mature pattern in a nondynamic environment (closed skills). (S1.E16.4)

We all have creative ways of teaching throwing and catching that are unique to each of us as physical education teachers. I recently saw a teacher using snap bands placed on the wrists and ankles of students to help them identify the correct foot to step with when throwing an object. It’s important to provide a variety of objects for students to practice with while learning, but the most important thing is that the student has that skill before we introduce the game.

After I introduce and teach the skills, I then introduce the game. A favorite game that I’m currently using to reinforce the skills of throwing and catching is ACTION Drive ‘N Dunk.

The set offers a unique concept with easy assembly and break down. This is important for storage and for teachers that travel to various schools, such as adapted physical education teachers.

Team Passing Game:

The objective is to score the most goals by passing or throwing the balls to your next teammate. You can have the students in a line or scatter formation depending on the skill set of the students. The game begins when the player closest to the balls grabs a ball to start the game. The passes continue until each student has received the ball and the player closet to the goal dunks the ball. Since the emphasis is on the skills, if the ball is dropped and can’t be reached that ball is out of play. The team that scores the most points in a predetermined amount of time wins.

My favorite part of the Drive ‘N Dunk set is that the pack is so versatile. I can use the balls for other tossing, catching, and rolling activities. I also use the goals all year round as well! I use these goals during my basketball unit, and for invasion and small-sided games.

Teaching skills does not have to be complicated. There are many ways to introduce a new skill to students. The internet and social media are great resources for adding to your repertoire of games but remember to scaffold and link lessons to skills and standards FIRST. Not only will students benefit but your game play will be full of ACTION!

Related Posts:
Fundamental Tips for Teaching Throwing and Catching!By: Robert Pangrazi
Champions & Challengers: One PE Game, Several Variations By: Mike Graham
PINdemonium & Flyer Bowl Disc Games for PE [Video] By: Shannon Jarvis Irwin

Chris has been a Physical Educator for 22 years in Texas. He has been recognized as a district finalist for Teacher of the Year and formerly served as the Early Childhood Chair Elect for the Texas Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (TAHPERD). Chris has presented at state and national conferences and spent two years writing curriculum, creating and delivering professional development, and supporting physical education teachers as a Health and Physical Education Specialist in a large urban district. Now an elementary Physical Education teacher in Garland ISD, Chris strives to promote a healthy and physically active lifestyle in both his personal and professional life.

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