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