Have You Tried These #PhysEdHacks?

By: Mark Banasiak @MoreThanGym

Being a PE teacher is like being an orchestra conductor. You need to be able to distribute equipment, teach, monitor, assess, tie shoes, read doctor notes, take attendance, and collect equipment.   These are just some of the tasks you are expected to complete while trying to manage a classroom full of students who need to be moving at least 50% of the time!

Efficiency and organization is therefore a must! Here are a few #PhysEdHacks that make life in our gym easier.

Inflating Balloons – When inflating balloons, I use an air pump (one used to inflate pool toys and air mattresses). You may have to stretch some of the balloons to get them to inflate.


Deflating Beach Balls – When deflating beach balls, simply insert a pen cap into the valve and then hug or squeeze the beach ball. The pen cap will hold the valve open and allow the air to exit.


If you are really talented, you can lean on one against the wall while deflating a second one in your arms.

Hanging Volleyball Nets – We tie clips onto the ends of our volleyball nets. This allows us to easily set the nets up and take them down throughout the day.

net clip

Portable Basketball Goals – We have 6 basketball goals that hang from the ceiling. Because of our large class numbers, we reached out to a local organization who in turn donated 6 additional portable basketball goals. They are weighted down with milk crates from the cafeteria and 5 gallon buckets from the custodian. The buckets are filled with sand that was donated from a local building supply company. We now have 12 goals for the students to shoot on!


Labeling Basketball Goals – Each of our goals are numbered 1-12. We have 6 permanent goals and have added 6 portable goals. These numbers allow you to call out a certain group (e.g., Goal 6 is on task and following the rules) or assign different skills to each goal (e.g., Even goals can work on short shots while odd goals can work on long shots).   Having the goals numbered also allows us to do an activity called Dice Basketball.


Dice Basketball (Grades K-5)

Equipment: dice (1per pair), basketball, basketball goals

Organization: The students will sit with a partner around the perimeter of the gym. Each basketball goal should be numbered 1-6.

Procedure: Partner #1 will roll the dice. Partner #1 then dribbles to whichever goal corresponds to the number they rolled. They take one shot. If they make it, they retrieve their ball, go to the middle of the gym, get a half-cone or bagel (sliced pool noodle), and return to their partner. If they miss it, they simply retrieve their ball and return to their partner. Partner #2 then takes a turn.

NOTE: With 12 goals we can use two dice so that the students can add them together to determine which goal they are to use to take a shot.

Wall #’s/Names – Labeling your walls helps to get everyone facing the same direction. Our four walls are labeled 1-4 as well as North, South, East, & West. We use the numbers with the younger students and occasionally use the cardinal directions with the older students. This comes in handy when telling students to go sit at a certain wall or face a certain direction. For example, “Please sit on your spot and face wall #3,”; “Mr. Roboto’s class can sit at wall #3, and Mrs. Jackson’s class can sit at wall #1,”; or “One partner should face wall #2 and the other face wall #4.”


Pool Noodle Bats – We have used various types of bats over the years. Foam noodle bats do not break! They may come apart if a child swings super hard, but they can be easily put back together. These are great for K-2nd grade.

Spots on Gym Mats – When teaching educational gymnastics, it is always hard to get the students to sit in the correct spot for a roll. Floor tape on the mats can be a great way to help them get their bottom or body in the correct starting position. For instance, we have a long green piece of tape for them to lay on when starting the log roll. We also have small red/orange pieces of tape on the mats for them to sit on when rolling to their back and then sitting back up.


Individual Jump Ropes (IJR) – When I distribute IJRs, I hang them over a divider (we use these to help block the stage). The students walk up, grab a handle, and slowly walk away. As they move away, the rope easily comes with them.

irj on divider

The student will either carry or drag their jump rope to their spot. Once there, they can make a circle or a heart and sit in it and wait for further instructions.

When I collect IJRs, the students drag their IJR by one handle and hand that single handle to me. I collect them and hold them all just below the handle and let the other end dangle. Once I have them all, I can lay one side over the divider. All I then have to do is spread them out so that they are ready for the next class. I can also grab them in the middle and hang them back in the equipment room on their hook.

Soccer Dribbling – Do you have playground (or other) balls that will not hold air? If so, you may consider keeping them for the younger students to dribble indoors with. A partially deflated ball does not roll as much and is easier for some younger students to manipulate.

deflated ball

Here are some links to previous articles where I shared some other #PhysEdHacks:

Cleaning Up Half Noodles & Stacking Scooters

Slow Motion Buttons

Tennis Nets


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