Monday, February 3, 2014

Gymnastics! How Fun is That?!

 




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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
            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

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





                             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!


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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
!

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