Monday, December 7, 2015

All Points Bulletin! How about bulletin boards?

 As Thanksgiving approaches, it was fun to ask some of the students what they were thankful for!
clothing, food, God, exercise, oxygen, parents, friends, my home, oh, don't forget - good teachers!

Yes,  students are finding out that exercise is also good for the bones.  Did you know jumping is one of the best forms of exercise to strengthen the bones?  Any weight bearing exercise will increase bone density.  However, diet must compliment the exercise.  Foods posted for strong bone health were leafy greens, yogurt, milk, cheese, broccoli, sardines, salmon.  Time to enjoy a tall glass of milk!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Skating with the Mustangs!

We are just completing our first skating unit.  The students have enjoyed the many challenges on the frozen tundra!  First off, I want to thank ALL the many parent and grandparent volunteers that helped make the process more enjoyable and allowing more time on the ice for the students.  I think at this point, some of the parents are professionals at skate tying!  After a brief series of warm-ups in the locker room, all students moved to the rink to challenge themselves on the ice.  Each grade level has beginner skaters as well as advanced skaters.  The more experienced skaters help motivate the other students as they are able to perform the various skills with ease and control.  Of all physical education units, I definitely observe the students dramatically improving their skills "stride by stride".  It is a joy to see the happiness on the students' faces as they realize they are truely skating!  The first skating unit focuses on students locker room procedures (proper skate use, skate guards, tying skates) warm-up exercises, ready position, edge work using inside and outside edges, "scottering", striding, stopping, and turning.  Many students have difficulty bending their knees enough, allowing them to get the greatest benefit from their skate edges.  Once on the ice, you would be able to hear me shout "get DOWN LOWER!"  Below are some pictures of the students preparing to skate.  Parents are invited on the last day of class to skate with their child.  Helmets are required of all individuals on the ice!  Our second skating unit will begin on January 22 - February 8th.

Reminder:  All students must have skate guards!  Please make sure your child has fitted skate guards for our next skating unit. 

                                 Fourth graders loading the bus - the best part of the class!
      Jacket - check!  skates - check!  gloves - check!  helmet - check!  skate guards - check!

                               Third graders demonstrating Ready Position - get those hips down!
     looking for knees bent, back straight, head up, chest up, feet hip-width apart, toes pointing forward

           HYDRATE - HYDRATE- HYDRATE!  Always a line at the drinking fountain after class!

                                                   First graders - Great parent volunteers!

                                                The parents love it as much as the students!

                                Third graders staying on task after the lesson - this unit requires lots
                                                             of student responsibility

                                           Fourth graders heading back to school with a smile!

                                                                   Instruction time!

                       Last day of the skating unit - a fun tag game with partners - it really works the legs

                                            You can see the students really enjoy this activity!

                          Oh - don't forget, the parents love to push the students in the chairs too!

When the weather finally turns (gets colder) and the rinks are frozen over, try to find some ice time with your child either at an indoor rink or the many great outdoor rinks!  You can work on your edge work too!

Next unit is fitness - Friday, November 13th - December 3rd.  Students will be evaluated on the health related fitness components.  Soon, I will send out an information hand-out inquiring if any parents would be available to help with fitness testing on Tuesday, December 1st.  Hope to see some of you there!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Pre-School and Kindergarten Fun

The pre-school and kindergarten students have been busy learning the various body positions and terms.  During the warm-up activities, we regularly perform the tuck, straddle, pike, lay-out, and crab positions.  These positions develop body awareness, strength, and flexibility.

                                   Pre-schoolers performing the "tuck" position with a smile


                                             The difficult V-sit posture - it's all abs!

                                                         the perfect pre-school plank!

Students have enjoyed the challenges of manipulative challenges with bean bags, balls, scarves, and more recently balloons!  These tools enable the students to develop visual tracking, manual dexterity, dodging, coordination, tossing and catching.  We also engaged the students with various relays using bean bags while balancing the bag on various body parts. 

                                                Visual tracking for sure - look at her focus!

The fun Halloween week allowed us to play many spooky and "tricky" festive games!  The special days are always fun for the students as we relate the games to fun themes.  Some of the Halloween games the pre-school and kindergarten played were haunted house tag, trick or treat tag, Halloween memory relay, pumpkin tag, and corn maze tag!  Corn maze tag was really fun!  If tagged, the student was required to walk through a scary maze and then follow it up with the scarecrow arm fitness skill.  Looking forward to Thanksgiving as we will play games employing turkeys, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie (and whipped cream of course), and being THANKFUL! 

Jumping Mustangs!

We just completed our rhythms unit.  All students were met with many rope jumping challenges.  Rope jumping is an excellent activity to improve aerobic endurance, coordination, muscle endurance, balance, and develop creativity.  In addition, it is an inexpensive activity and doesn't require much space to perform.  While rope jumping, all the major muscle groups are recruited while jumping.  The arms and hands play a great role in the coordination of the rope swing.  Before we begin the actual rope jumps, students experiement with various rhythmical rope swings:  helicopter, propeller, figure 8 swing, bell jumps, single-side swing and the double-side swing.  Students are encouraged to practice the various jumps forward and backward.  Many students find it is easier to jump backwards.  The third and fourth grade students also had the opportunity to execute partner jumps!  Below is a list of the some of rope jumping skills the students performed.

Rope Jumping Skills
Basic jump single bounce - forward and backward
jogger jump
skier - side to side
bells - front to back
single leg hop - right/left
jumping jacks
scissors (stride jump changing feet)
criss-cross of the rope
HOT PEPPERS!!!!  - speed jumping
double unders
partner jumps - side by side and jumps facing each other

The first graders are still in the beginning stage of rope jumping.  Although there are a few students that can perform more challenging jumps, the majority of first graders are still working on performing the correct swing technique and coordinating the jump with the rope.

All students enjoyed the "Rope Jump Club" activity.  They were given one minute to perform as many jumps as they could perform.  At the conclusion of the minute, they would then go and sign up under the appropriate jump rope club team.  For example, if they performed 46 jumps in one minute, they would be in the "40 Jump Rope Team".  Many students were able to execute more than 100 jumps per minute!  

One of the most favorite activities of the students throughout the entire year is the helicopter jump.  Ask them about it!  It consists of ME standing in the middle of the students.  I am holding this long (8 foot) plastic stick.  I then circle the stick under the students feet while they attempt to avoid getting hit by the stick!  Needless to say, after several rounds of the students performing this skill I get pretty dizzy!  

We will continue to use jump ropes throughout the year for various warm-up and other activities.  The students seem to love the challenge of rope jumping.  Our annual Jumpathon for the 3rd and 4th graders will be held on Friday, January 29th.  This will be a great opportunity for the students to demonstrate their strong rope jumping skills - AND have fun!  

Next unit:  Skating, October 27 - November 12th
November 13 - December 3rd - Fitness
December 4th - January 4th - Gymnastics

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Dos and Don'ts of Physical education!

First Bulletin Board of the Year!
The Breck students were reminded of the "Dos and Don'ts of Physical Education.  I took time in all my classes to have the students stand by the bulletin board and discuss these important points.  It made for some interesting conversation and the students enjoyed the silly minions!

                                                                Some of the Dos!

    AND the Don'ts
                                         Stay tuned for more bulletin boards in the future!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Homework - paperwork in physical education!

During the body management unit, the students were motivated by worksheets that indicated what body parts they should try to balance on.  Some poses were on a 1 point balance, 2 point balance, 3 point balance, and more!  The students worked together nicely to forms balances while checking out the worksheet!
                                                       Body Management Worksheet!
Can you balance on your two feet (I hope so) ?  seat and right foot?  two hands and two feet?  two elbows and two knees?  head and two knees?  one foot?  your seat?  left hand and two feet? and feet and hands - but in a crab position - it's tricky try it!

                                           That's using your seat! AND abdominal strength!
                                                     teamwork - two knees and two feet!

The facial expressions above tell it all!  It's difficult to maintain the balance!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Physical Education Mustangs!

Hello!  Greetings from the lower school physical education department - Gym C to be specific!  My name is Peggy Fifield and I will be your son/daugher's physical education teacher this year.  This is my 19th year teaching at Breck School.  I remember when I was in 7th grade, I decided to become a physical education teacher.   I guess I loved the idea of blowing a whistle and wearing sweatpants all day!   Each day I look forward to teaching the students new skills, activities, and challenging them to work outside their "comfort zone".   Fitness is very important to me in my daily life.  I hope I can impress the students  to embrace physical activity and for them to realize the joy and importance of moving their bodies.

During the summer of 2014 I received a Breck summer grant to attend a yoga retreat in Guatemala.  It was wonderful!  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 and self awareness.

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.  Each unit last for two blocks - receiving 8 physical education classes per unit.  All students in grades 1-4 participate in physical education 4 days out of the 6 day cycle.

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, equipment and building.
2.  SAFETY RULE - our actions do not endanger ourselves or others.
3.  WELCOME RULE - all children are welcomed into any activity as long as they play by the rules
4.  HUSTLE -  and give your best effort.

Unit 1 -(August 31 - September 16 ) - Body Management 
What?  Body Management - what do I mean by that?  Well, the body management unit is crucial to body awareness, spatial awareness, and the ability to perform locomotor and non- locomotor skills.  This unit allows the students many opportunities to develop the basic locomotor skills such as galloping, skipping, hopping, jumping,sliding, leaping, and of course, the favorite - running!  The students explore the relationships of different body parts to each other and to their environment.
Students enjoy the challenges of creating many fun shapes - like letters!  Can you determine what letter they are forming?
                                                            Show me the Letter "T"

                                                            Now it's the girls' turn!

                                                                      A Partner "T"

                                                    How about a letter "T" at a low level?
                                             Boys are at the top - and girls are at the bottom

Students enjoy performing the various ways of traveling forward, backward, and sideward – at all levels (low, medium, and high.)  Pathways and different patterns are performed as students move while performing various locomotor skills in zigzagged, curved, straight, winding, and spiral routes.   Students’ work with partners as one another tries to guess what pathway/pattern their partner is performing.  

                                                          "Oh - O - how beautiful!"

                                                                  Letter O again!

                                                          .............and AGAIN!

                                                          "F" for fabulous - or "Fifield"

Relays are an integral part of the body management unit.  All classes enjoy the many tasks involved in different relays – but must understand how to perform the relays safely and efficiently.   
All classes discovered new forms of balance stunts.  Students were challenged to balance on 1 body part, 2 body parts, 3 body parts, 7 body parts – I saw many creative and challenging balances at various levels.  They also worked with classmates to form static balances.

All classes are still working on performing the various warm-up fitness skills correctly.  The push-up or plank position is a great skill to build total body strength and demonstrate proper body awareness.  Tips to remember while performing the plank – STRAIGHT BODY!  No banana back or drawbridge!   Flexibility exercises are incorporated into each lesson and students are working diligently to increase their range of movement.  Yoga postures have been introduced to students and they feel really “cool” performing the poses.

Key words in the body management unit:  pathways, patterns, core, abdominals, acceleration, deceleration, symmetry, asymmetrical, leaping, cross lateral, down dog, and body control!

Our next unit begins on Day 1,  September 17th.  We will meet in the fieldhouse and our focus will be on various ball handling skills.

I hope to meet and speak with many of you on Thursday, September 17th at the annual Back to School night.  Keep moving, and don't forget your sneakers!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Wild Wild West Field Day! Giddy-up Down to Ottawa Field!

The theme for the 2015 Field Day was Wild, Wild West Day!  Enthusiasm for this event began with "Wanted" pictures placed throughout the lower school.  I thought it would be fun to share some of the pictures of my teachers - HERE WE GO!

                                                              Bronco Boss Bailey!

                                                               Flea Biting Fifield

                                                                 Wrangler Wright

                                                              Hee-Haw Hunninghake

                                                               Honky Tonk Herrmann

                                                                   Jailbird Jensen

                                                               Notorious Nelson

The weather was absolutely perfect for field day.  All activities were held on Ottawa Field.  McKnight Stadium is under construction throughout the summer.  A new track and field will be installed and should be ready for the beginning of the school year this fall.  After completion of McKnight Stadium, the crews will begin replacing the turf on Ottawa field.  The field day began with a fun western dance for the 3rd and 4th graders led by Mrs. Fifield and Ms. Carlson.  Mr. Harris led a fun and vigorous warm-up for the 1st and 2nd graders - and then, Let the games begin!

                                         Third graders at the  Billy the Kid Tombstone Race

                         Second graders working diligently to move that kerchief on the Tug of war

                               Last Field Day for the 4th graders - they know how to "tug" too!

                                      Ponies - start your engines!  2nd graders saddled up!

                                                     Billy the Kid Tombstone Relay

                                  First Graders at the perennial favorite Water Brigade station

                                   Mrs. Hunninghake leading the way at the Cattle Round-up!

                                                      Pony-up to the Water Brigade!

At the end of the day, all students returned to their classrooms happy, tired, and perhaps a bit wet!  It was fun to see so many parents at field day - thanks!   It appears as if the parents love the tug-0-war as much as the kids.  Let's NOT forget the inflatable pony relays!  As we cleaned up the field, we begin to plan for next years' special day.  Where did this year go?