Monday, February 20, 2017

Mustangs as Gymnasts!



Look at these Gymnastic Mustangs!

Show me a lunge 3rd graders!


Bridges - Back and upper back flexibility




Scale - airplane arms, 2nd graders

Handstands are always fun!  'TIMBER'


4th graders performing their balance skills 

Inverted balance - headstand, 3rd grade


Tripod - lead up progression to a headstand, 3rd grade

How lucky the students are to have the opportunity to do gymnastics in a physical education unit!  Yes, all four Olympic events - vault, bars, beam, and floor exercise are introduced and students discovered skills that are exciting, challenging, and fun!  Gymnastics plays a role in sports and everyday life by helping people learn to manage their bodies efficiently and safely.  Many of the gymnastics skills learned are applied to everyday living - and situations that require a safe form of landing or rolling.  At the beginning of the gymnastics unit, students are given a brief orientation of the various men's/women's events.  With that, the students understand the skills required to become skilled in the sport:  focus, strength, balance, coordination, agility, power, flexibility, and COURAGE!  The students acquire a knowledge of their body parts and how to move  through space.  Because of our wonderful space, and the spring floor, all classes enjoyed the activities that can be executed on the "bouncy" spring floor.  Some of the fun warm-up activities that were favorites are Snakes in the Grass, Wolfpack Tag, Natural Disaster, Tumbling Relays, and yoga stations.  It was pure fun to watch the students simply bounce, jump, and run on the spring floor - and it certainly is aerobic!  The general large muscle warm-up was followed by specific gymnastics stretches and positions.  All students learned some of the gymnastic language such as lunge, rear support, safety landing, tripod, tip-up, splits (OUCH!), pike, straddle, and layout.  Each day had a different focus of skills and apparatus covered.  Below I have listed the events and some of the skills that the students executed. 

Vault - springboard approach, straight body jump, correct safety landing with control
            running approach to the vault, hurdle to the springboard and squat up to the competition              vault
           * straight jump off with proper landing technique

Bars - Front support
          * leg swings
          * leg lifts side to side
          * forward roll off low bar
           *back hip pullover (3rd and 4th graders)

Beam - low beam skills (walking forward, sideways, backwards)
             *knee lift march
            * leg lift while walking
             *slides
             *bunny hops - jumps
             *working on incline and decline beams
            * balance skills (v-sit, knee scales, standing scale on one foot)
            *  full turn using both feet to pivot
             *dismounting safely from the beam
            *stepping over an obstacle - bean bag, cone

Tumbling - many fun individual and partner stunts (great for coordination, balance, and cooperative skills)
                   *pyramids - Remember those?
                   *bridges - also with one leg lifted
                   *straight jumps, straight jumps with turns, tuck jumps, straddle jumps
                   *Scales - one legged balances, V-Sits with and without hands
                   *Lunges
                   *Egg Roll/Log Roll - down incline mat
                  * Wheelbarrow walk
                   *forward roll, down and up the incline mat, as well as simply on the floor
                   *tip-ups, tripods, headstands
                   *mule kicks - handstands
                   *cartwheels
                  *V-Sits

Every student had a favorite event.  However, I think the favorite event was the event we worked on that day!  Safety is a must in gymnastics.  Students quickly learned the safety issues and the expectations I had for them and others.  All students demonstrated confidence in many areas of this unit.  If you child is interested in continuing his/her gymnastics experience, I would be happy to give a recommendation of clubs that are available in the area.  Until next year in the gymnastics unit - Gymnastics Rocks!

Below are some fun pictures of our students in "action mode".  Let me just say - they LOVE being in the fieldhouse/gymnastics area.  For some they get lots of ENERGY!    ENJOY THE PICTURES!

Push up position - upper body strength, 2nd grade

Cardio portion of class - MOVE!   2nd grade


Tuck position - 2nd grade

Straddle sitting - ouch!  Inner thighs! - 2nd grade

Warm-up game, class favorite called "Snakes in the Grass" - snakes are the taggers - attempting to touch the students running through the meadow/grass!


Students stretching the arms - tricep muscle

Stretching the back, hamstrings, chest and shoulders

Pike sit

Preparing to do various jumps - Reach with the arms!



Sunday, January 22, 2017

2017 - Let's get busy in the pool!

  We are presently in our second swimming unit of the year.  For many, this is the favorite unit of the year.  This unit concentrates on more advanced strokes, dives, and fun warm-up activities.  First and second graders are becoming more confident in the water - deep and shallow.  Rhythmic breathing is the big challenge for most lower school students.  The use of noodles and kick boards enhances the learning and makes the process fun!  The main strokes covered in first and second grade are the front and back crawl.  Many things need to happen in order to perform each stroke.  Students enjoy the various floats:  turtle, star, superman, jellyfish, and the back float.  Bobs encourage the students to work on the rhythmic breathing as well as feel more comfortable in the water.  JUMPS are the favorite of students.  I incorporate different jumping games to encourage listening skills, various body positions, and safe entries.  In second grade, all students had the opportunity to learn the correct diving technique.  I was impressed to see how many students are able to dive!  It looks like we have some parents that have done some coaching in that area! 


Third and fourth graders continue to work on more challenging strokes:  front and back crawl, elementary backstroke, and the sidestroke.  At this level, most students enjoy performing skills in the deep end.  Treading water, surface dives, platform dives, and deep water bobs contribute to making the lesson fun!  I have also witnessed some gigantic cannonballs!  Several of the warm-up activities utilize foam noodles, foam floating mats and kick boards.  The students loved the relays using the kickboards and floating mats.  Their heart rates were UP!  The relays that require teamwork, alertness, and hard work.  Students are frequently asked to feel their heart rates, as swimming is definitely a vigorous aerobic activity.  The students also worked on various practical lifesaving practices.  They learned the phrase - "Reach, Throw, don't Go!  That means a student unless lifeguard certified should NEVER enter the water to save a struggling victim.  We practiced various throwing and reaching assists.  Students were engaged in great discussion as to what is possible and how a rescue can be executed safely.  Below are some pictures of the students working and having fun in the swimming unit!


Fourth Graders getting ready for the fun!
2nd Graders - silly, right?!

More silly 2nd graders!

Don't forget the girls!

I got it!  I dove for it!  I captured the ring! - 1st Grade

Noodles are great training aids - 1st grade

Last day of the unit - FREE SWIM - the floating mats come out in full force!
May the FORCE by with you!  2nd Grade

Look carefully - two divers (2nd grade) practicing their dives from a low level squatting position -
Lifeguard Bob is there always!

2nd grade - diving off the springboard - tight arms, tuck the chin, now just lift the hips and you've got it!


Excellent!

Jumping is always fun!

More dives!

More Jumps!

 CANNONBALL!  And YES, there was a BIG splash!

At the end of each class period, third and fourth grade students have the choice of free swim or lap swim.  The majority of students have chosen to improve their fitness by swimming laps (cardio swim)  - I was very impressed with their over-all skill, endurance and determination.  Students will receive a certificate with the lap swim accomplishment - so proud of them!   We are certainly blessed to have a swimming pool available to students at Breck.  So much fun - such a great experience - in the land of 10,000 lakes! 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Last day of skating - always a Hit!

We just completed our first swimming unit of the season.  The students worked diligently to improve their confidence while striding, turning, stopping, and skating backward.  Skills to encourage the students' edge work involve scootering, swizzles, one legged glides, and a strong spatial awareness.  The second skating unit will focus on more backward skating as well as crossovers.  The last day of skating is a free day.  Students in 3rd and 4th grade also play a fun and vigorous tag game called "Tourist Tag".  The tagger is the policeman/woman and those on the chairs are the tourists - if tagged the person sitting in the chair becomes the tagger.  Pushing a student in a chair requires the students to push against a resistance and makes them stronger - how great is that!  Below are some pictures of the students preparing for skating as well as having fun on the ice working on their skills!

Getting ready requires focus and responsibility but it's fun too!


Okay - which is right and which is left?  Second grade

Friends to the end! - 3rd grade

I can dress myself, but thanks anyway,  Mrs. Fifield! - 2nd grade
Helmet - check
gloves - check!
skates - check!
jacket - check!
snowpants - check!
Let's have fun and work hard - CHECK!

Tourist tag  - fourth grade

More Tourist Tag

Triple up!

2nd grade

PUSH!

Fourth grade tourists!

Use those edges!

Always time to pose on ice!


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Lace up those Skates!

We are now in the middle of our first skating unit and the students are excited to be back on the frozen tundra!  I must say it's rather difficult for me to remember to wear a winter jacket with the weather so balmy......but the students are prepared in jackets, snow pants, and gloves.  Thank you parents for your help in making sure your child has all the necessary equipment and attire.  After a fun bus ride (perhaps the best part of the class) we find several helpful parents waiting for the bus to arrive!  Students are always happy to see the parents, nannys, and sometimes a grandparents eager to tie skates.  We do a short warm-up in the locker room before we get the blades down on the ice. The lessons have focused on proper ready position, edge work, scooters, and forward strides.  The 3rd and 4th graders have begun to work on stopping and turning.  As we continue this first unit, the students will be exposed to various edge work patterns, turning, stopping, and backward skating for the older students.  In addition to learning new skills and becoming more confident on the ice, the students demonstrate greater responsibility as they learn all the "ins and outs" of dressing/undressing and respecting the importance of showing control of his/her skates.  Below are some of our skating experiences.

Zip up, snap up, buckle up, button up, and then smile!

2nd graders ready to load the bus


Show me "Ready Position"

Warming up - 2nd grade

Keep the knees soft, eyes up!


They always have time to "Strike a Pose"!