By: Mark Banasiak @MoreThanGym
I am big on routines. They make my day go better, and I truly believe the students participate better when they know what is coming next.
I have the privilege of team teaching at a K-5 school with about 600 students. We see our children every other day for 40 minutes (in previous years it has been for 45 or 50 minutes). Since there are two physical educators in the gym, we team teach and see two or more homerooms during each PE class (40-60 students).
Entering the Gym (1-2 minutes)
The classes literally enter the gym skipping. From here, we move into the fitness section of our class. The purpose of starting each class in this manner is to allow for immediate movement (especially if the second class is late). I once attended a session at a conference where the presenter said he never sat his students down unless they were huffing and puffing. I have since adopted that methodology.
Fitness Section (13-16 minutes)
The classes complete about 4-5 minutes of interval walking and jogging (i.e., the boys walk around the perimeter of the gym while the girls jog around the “track” and then vice versa). The purpose of completing the intervals in this manner is to allow for easier identification of a child who may be “slacking.” I have also found that most children love the opportunity to instantly move and jog. The format of these first few minutes allows for each child to exercise as well as to socialize with their peers.
The students then participate in a variety of instant fitness activities (a different one each day) which are designed to increase their heart rate while engaging the major muscle groups. This may include student or teacher-led activities, partner activities, and/or large group/instant activities. At this point, the students should have been moving for the first 12+ minutes of class.
We then gather and sit near the stage to have a 2-3 minute health/fitness tip. I typically share a brief tip (e.g., going on an evening walk with your loved ones is a good opportunity to exercise and chat). I then ask the students to share with the person sitting beside them their favorite place to go on a walk. I usually call on 4-5 students to share their partner’s response. Interestingly, I receive more feedback from parents about the health/fitness tip than I do about the skills/activities we are currently working on in class.
Lesson (25-30 minutes)
At the conclusion of the health/fitness tip, the focus of the day is then conveyed. We will spend the next 25 minutes on the daily lesson, which may be working through a skills progression or a large group activity (depending on what unit we are currently working on).
Clean-Up & Exiting the Gym (1-2 minutes)
After the day’s activity, I provide instructions for the students to assist with cleaning up the equipment and then send them to their assigned spots on the floor. At this point, I lead the students through the line up procedure, provide a lesson closure, and encourage outside play as the students exit!
This format helps vary the flow of the day. That is, each class participates in a 40 or so minute PE class; however, the first 15 minutes focus on fitness and the remaining 25 minutes focus on skill instruction/application. This pattern prevents the students from doing the same skill for the entire class and keeps the teacher from doing the same skill (e.g., dribbling) all day long. When the classes were 45 or 50 minutes, each of the two sections (fitness and PE) were increased by a few minutes.
This routine works at my school.
What routines help the flow of your instruction?
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