Friday, September 19, 2014

Pre-School and Kindergarten "rockin" with the bean bags!

As the pre-school and kindergarten students settle in to the routine of  the activities at Breck school, they are quickly showing their understanding of personal and general space.  They demonstrated good body management in the various movement activities in the first few weeks, and are now ready for more challenging activities:  tag games and bean bag skills!  Screams galore can be heard as the students are being chased throughout the general space.  Our first tag game was  "FREEZE TAG"!  Students were very attentive as I spoke about the rules and expectations of playing a tag game.  Their biggest disappointment was to hear that not all students can be chosen to be a tagger each day!   Tag games are a great activity to elevate one's heart rate, demonstrate various locomotor skills, good spatial awareness, and good sportsmanship. 

The first manipulative activities involved bean bag challenges. Children explore manipulating and moving with beanbags in many fun and challenging ways.  This is the first activity to involve throwing and catching.  Beanbags are an excellent lead-up to ball play because the bags are much easier to handle.  In addition to throwing and catching the beanbags, students explore the various balances that can be executed - on their bodies!  We played several fun bean bag musical tunes directing the students to balance the bag on their heads, knees, shoulders, feet, ear, stomach, and other body parts.  A tag game, "energizer" required the students to move with their battery (beanbag) on their head for energy!  Once the beanbag is dropped - they freeze on the spot - due to their loss of energy!  We will continue to work with the beanbags as we throw them to targets!  Thank you for making sure your child is prepared for class each day - I love those tennis shoes!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Physical Education Mustangs!

Hello!  Greetings from the lower school - Gym C to be specific!  The first two weeks has just "sprinted" by!  Many of the activities this week involved spatial awareness activities as well as understanding the expectations and procedures of our class.  My primary goal as a physical educator is to teach the students the importance of keeping fit throughout their lifetime...and having lots of fun doing it!

This is my 18th year teaching physical education at Breck School.  When I was in 7th grade I remember making the wise decision of becoming a physical education teacher!  I guess I loved the idea of having a whistle and wearing sweatpants all day!  Seriously,  I love my job and feel fortunate that it allows me to be busy and active.  Last year I was fortunate enough to receive a summer grant!  With this grant, in July I traveled to Guatemala to attend a yoga retreat.  It was great!   Throughout the year, I will use my yoga knowledge to encourage the students to be more mindful, self confident,  and to explore the various yoga based movements to improve their fitness. 

I am looking forward to a great year with fun, exciting, and challenging activities.  Students will participate in manipulatives, rhythms, fitness related skills/evaluations, swimming, skating, gymnastics, movement awareness activities, multicultural games, and track and field - have I missed anything?

All students in grades 1-4 participate in physical education 4 days out of the 6 day cycle.  Below is the physical education schedule for my individual classroom teachers in grades pre-school - 4th grade.

Pre-school - McCool/Kordorsky attend physical education  on days 2-4-6.

Kindergarten - Savage/Brandl attend physical education on days 2-3-5 at 2:20 - 2:50.

1st grade - Herrmann/Wright attend physical education on days 2-3-5-6 at 11:15 - 11:55.

2nd grade - Jensen - attend physical education on days 1-3-4-6 at 12:30 - 1:10.

3rd grade - Hunninghake - attend physical education on days 1-2-3-5 at 10:20 - 11:00.

4th grade - Nelson - attend physical education on days 2-4-5-6 at 1:30 - 2:10.

The first day of class I stressed the importance of the KEYS TO SUCCESS IN PHYSICAL EDUCATION:

1.  Respect Rule:  to respect the instructor, students, and equipment
2.  Safety Rule:  our actions do not endanger ourselves or others
3.  Welcome Rule:  all children are welcomed into any activity s long as they play by the rules
4.  Hustle and give your best effort!

Fall units: - Block 1:  Grades 1-4
1.  August 25 - September 10th - Manipulatives I - Manipulative play involves using the hands and eyes and promotes healthy coordination, control over the body and other skills your child will need in school.  Not only is manipulative activities fun but it has many brain development benefits as well.    Manipulative skills are the motor skills used in sports and games.  The development of these skills allow students to engage in activities at a more advanced level.  Children focus on acquiring the fundamental skills of throwing, catching, kicking, volleying, dribbling, and striking.

This first unit primarily involves basic ball handling skills of tossing, catching, right-left dexterity, and visual tracking.  All classes in grades 1-4 used bean bags and various balls of all sizes to explore and challenge themselves to many manipulative activities.

2.  Swimming! - September 11th - 26th.  Don't pack up those swimsuits quite yet!  We will be in the pool for a fun and exciting swimming unit soon!  Each class period involves a fun warm-up game and then the focus of the instructional lesson.  Mr Cliff (lifeguard Cliff) is back again this year to help in the boys locker room as well as help with lifeguarding and  daily instruction.  We are so lucky to have Cliff!  The kids always look forward to seeing him back in school.

The focus of the swimming units in first and second grade is to become safe in and around the water and learning to swim the essential skills:  safety rules in and around the pool area, floatation and body balance positions, sculling, front crawl progression, and rotary/rhythmic breathing.

The focus of the swimming unit in second and third grade is to become safe in and around the water and to learn to swim the essential skills along with an introduction of advanced swimming strokes and skills used in competitive swimming:  front and back crawl, floatation and body balance positions, sculling/finning, diving, elementary backstroke, surface diving, and treading water. 

Pre-School/Kindergarten Physical Education - Fall Semester
Children are provided with frequent and meaningful age appropriate practice opportunities that enable individuals to develop a functional understanding of movement concepts (body awareness, space awareness, effort and relationships) and build competence and confidence in their ability to perform a variety of motor skills.  Personal and general space is a most important concept for all students to understand.  In addition to physical movement, lessons are designed to allow children the opportunity to work together to improve their emerging social and cooperation skills.

 It doesn't take long for the students to embrace the many tag games!  It is surely a favorite of all lower school students.  I will be integrating my physical education lessons with the classroom teachers throughout the year.  Activities involving fire and bus safety will be introduced. Integrating the physical education lessons with the individual classroom teacher will further instill their understanding of the common themes. 

The first two weeks of pre-school and kindergarten physical education my students have "played" with the concept of spatial awareness, learning boundaries, fitness skills, and understanding my basic classroom management expectations.  Music is a very important component in many of my lessons. At such an early age, students love to move to the various music tempos.  Music is also a very important classroom management signal:  "GO when the music plays - FREEZE when the music stops.  I welcome all parents to visit a physical education class to see first-hand how much fun and active it is.

Some frequently used words/phrases that your child will hear in physical education:
  Great job!           Good effort        Hustle!     back to back      FREEZE!          criss-cross applesauce    pretzel          mustard           control your body           the listening circle         blue zone      eagle eyes           elephant ears              fitness lines                     100% effort       go bananas               opposition            cardiovascular endurance      Gym Helpers       responsible behavior         Hustle ----- and FUN!          Ask your child about these words!

Don't leave those sneakers at home!  That's right - for your child's safety, your child will not be allowed to participate without proper footwear in physical education.  Proper footwear includes tennis-type sneakers, those with flat bottom and the foot fully covered.  Merrill shoes are not acceptable for class.  Also, please make sure to label all jumpers, sweaters/sweatshirts and shoes.

***Before you know it, fall conferences will be upon us!  If you would like to meet with me (now why wouldn't you?!) be sure to sign up as soon as registration opens. I hope to meet with you this year - sooner than later!  

I look forward to a year of many new experiences, laughter, and tired bodies!  You can all help my "cause" by encouraging your child to be prepared for physical education and being a role model for them to stay active.  If you have any questions throughout the year, don't hesitate to contact me.  Now it's time to get running!  Come back to my blog regularly to stay updated on all the fun "stuff" we do in physical education.