Thursday, February 20, 2014

Skating!!! Any future Olympians?

Greetings from Sochi!  Students in grades 1-4 are now completing the second and final skating unit of the year.  For the fourth grade students, it will be their final skating unit - sorry!  The students love this unit - and they really love the bus ride to and from!  The second skating unit includes further instruction to increase the students' confidence and performance level.  Each time the students enter the locker room they demonstrate a greater responsibility in preparing to skate:  lacing up skates, putting skate guards on/off, and the difficult task of putting their helmet on.  I want to thank all the wonderful parent volunteers that faithfully came to the rink to help with the skating unit.

Skating skills that were covered this unit:
1.  Sit on the ice and get up from kneeling position
2.  Ready position - stretches in the locker room
2.  March in place
3.  March walking
4.  March, then glide a short distance
5.  Forward striding - alternating right and left legs moving forward
6.  Dips in place
7.  Dips while moving
8.  Forward Scooters (preparing for the strides)
9.  Forward one foot glide
10. Turns, right and left
11. Snowplow stop - one foot and two foot snowplow stops
12.  Two-foot swizzles
13. Two-foot hop while moving (3rd and 4th grade)
14. Backward skating
15.  Forward crossovers, both directions (2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade)

The final day of the skating unit is a "Free Choice Day!"  The kids love the opportunity of doing the skating of their choice.  Each student leaves the skating unit with greater awareness of their personal skating space and demonstrate a greater respect for the sport of skating.  Who knows?  There could be the next Olympian in the group! 

Below you are able to see some short clips of the students at the Anderson Ice Arena:

                                     4th Grade Students in the locker room preparing to skate

                                           Fourth Graders warming up their edges

                                                  Second graders skating backwards

                                             2nd Graders working on their crossovers

                                              4th graders working on their crossovers


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Dancing Mustangs - You've got Rhythm!

We just completed our second rhythms unit.  Our first rhythms unit consisted of rope jumping skills. This rhythms unit included activities and skills related to dance.  I don't think I need to tell you that dancing is great exercise!  During this unit the students explore the fundamental even and uneven rhythms; creative rhythmic movement sequences; interact in movement songs, folk, novelty, and pop songs.  Children explored the various rhythms in personal and general space and react to tempo changes.  Many dances involved working with a partner and also as an entire group connected to one another (the grand march and the bunny hop).  It was fun to see the students perform the "Limbo".  Many students are quite flexible and courageous!  How LOW can you go?  I hope the boys and girls came home excited to tell you some of the dances that YOU have done also! 

"Jump for the Gold" - 2014 Jumpathon!

                                             Jump for the Gold! - Winter Olympics Theme

Winter Olympics!  Yes, the Winter Olympics was the theme of our 2014 annual Jumpathon!  Each year the 3rd and 4th grade students participate in the Jumpathon, sponsored by the American Heart Association.  It is always a fun and an exhausting afternoon as the students showcase their rope jumping skills.  The students were grouped by winter Olympic sports:  Bobsled, Figure Skating, Curling, Cross Country Skiing, Alpine Skiing, Snowboarding, Luge, and Ski Jumping.  After an invigorating warm-up, the students then get out on the floor and performed the various jumps they have learned in class.  Some of the favorite jumps are HOT PEPPERS, partner jumps, and the jogging jump across the gym.  Once again, the Breck Mustang made a cameo appearance to all the excitement of the students.  This event gives students the unique opportunity to connect service with learning and physical activity.

                     Below you can see several fun pictures of the students enjoying the event!

         Warm-ups included fourth grade students "getting down" performing mountain climbers

                                       Focused fourth grade students during the warm-ups!

                                The Breck Mustang mascot supporting the Jumpathon - a crowd fav!

                          Fourth grade students working on the various Olympic puzzles/word find

                              Fourth grade student jumping so fast - you can't see the rope!

                                                            Stay Focused, great form!

The Breck physical education department wants to thank each student that participated in the fun event.  Although the totals are not yet final, we are confident we collected more than our goal of $8,000!   I will keep you posted on the final results as soon as possible!
Wow, our students not only JUMP - but they are great ambassadors for the American Heart Association. 


Monday, February 3, 2014

Gymnastics! How Fun is That?!


How very lucky the lower school 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, Wolf Pack 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 grade students)

Beam - low beam skills (walking forward, sidewards, backwards)
            knee lift march
            leg lift while walking
            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

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
                  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

                             Third graders performing "Bunkbed" Great balance and strength - Trust!

                    Third graders performing "Chicken in a Hen House"!   Strength, balance,- Trust!

                           Third graders performing "Goalposts" - Balance - Trust and Fun!


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