How Do Your Students Exit the Gym?

By: Mark Banasiak @MoreThanGym

I have previously shared that our students literally enter the gym skipping. Our typical class routine calls for the students to immediately participate in a few minutes of instant fitness activities and then gather for a daily health tip.

We then guide the students through a balance of skill-based instruction and large group activities. We are fortunate to see our students every other day for 40 minutes. Since we have a limited number of minutes with the students, we want to maximize our instructional time and minimize our transition time.

At the conclusion of each lesson, we have to clean up our equipment, have closure, line up, and leave the gym. We have an established routine for this process that allows us to do this in 90 seconds or less on most days.

Like any routine, it must be practiced so we begin on the first day of each school year. Students are assigned paw prints (i.e., floor markings that are their assigned seats in class). We practice finding those spots as well as the line up procedure. Thankfully, our school is not very transient. The high percentage of returning students makes this process fairly easy, with the exception of those kindergarteners. They are a different story. With practice, they eventually learn the routine.

I then put the ball in their court. I remind them that they can have more movement time if they follow the set procedures. However, if they choose to talk, touch, or goof off, we then must stop class early to practice. This means they will lose movement time. It is their choice.

At the end of class, I ask the students to clean up and move to their assigned paw prints. Since I use a microphone, I can usually give this command while they are still actually participating in the day’s activity. I only stop the activity to give the clean up instructions if needed. Most activities can smoothly transition from movement to clean up with a simple voice command.

The students and I have an agreement that they can have the choice to talk as they clean up and move to their paw prints. After sitting, they can also move over and talk to a neighbor as long as one body part remains on their paw print. Their freedom to talk is paired with one expectation: As soon as I say, “Quietly stand,” they need to stand and cease talking. If they work within the established parameters, they can then socialize. However, if they choose to not comply with the expectation, their freedom to chat is then revoked.

Here is our line up routine:

“Quietly stand!” – At this point, all talking ceases, and the students stand on their paw prints.

Line Up #1

 “Walk to your leaders.” – As they walk forward, I remind them that if they choose to talk, touch, or goof off, they will go sit against the wall. Each class will end up with 4 lines of about 5-6 students.

LIne Up #2

 “Leaders, bring them to the door.” – The leader of line #1 from each class will begin to lead their line to the door. There are small marks on the floor to help guide them as they line up. The leaders of lines #2, #3, and #4 wait to follow the end of the previous line. All three classes do this simultaneously.

Line Up #3

As they walk to the door, I have just enough time to provide closure and give them a recap of the lesson. It typically sounds like this, “Today, we did our walking and jogging, we participated in _______ fitness activity, your health tip was about ________, and then we participated in or practiced _________. Next time, we will work on _______.”

ine Up #4

After checking to make sure the classroom teacher is in the hall, I remind the students to get outside and play later that day as they begin to walk out the door.

Sometimes I get so engrossed in the lesson that I lose track of time. In those instances, the students clean up, go straight to the door, and sit down in their class lines. This is the same process we follow for our fire drills.

I have them sit down so I can still go through a modified version of the above process. That is, they can talk until I ask them to stand quietly.

This process works for us.

Does your line up procedure encourage chaos or provide a smooth closure to your lesson?


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