Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Score for the Gymnastics Unit - 10.0!!!!

How lucky the students are to have the opportunity to do gymnastics in the 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, Wolfpack 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.  
 As I mentioned earlier, each class begins with a vigorous warm-up (cardio-vascular activity) as well as specific gymnastic stretches.  Oftentimes, I select a student to lead the warm-ups for the day.  It's fun to see their knowledge and leadership skills as they lead the class with strength and flexibility skills.  Below are some pictures of the students leading warm-ups:

Do we really have to do these?  inner thigh stretches

Begin with some BIG arm circles

Stretching the lower back and hips here .....

Can't ignore those wrists!
abdominal strength

The most favorite cardiovascular warm-up game around - Snakes in the Grass!  Stay away from the snakes!

Stretch those triceps!

Obstacle courses are one of the favorites of all students.  The courses require coordination, courage, strength, flexibility, and balance.  It's difficult for the students to "wait" their turn as they are so excited to get going!  Below are some pictures of an obstacle course:

Climbers, incline beams, decline beams, floor beams, vaulting boxes, and low climbers!

Waiting is the hardest part for the first graders!

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

Below are several third and fourth graders performing the squat vault!  Looking for a nice tight squat with knees together, arms straight, head up and of course - lots of control!

fourth grader performing the lead-up to the squat vault

Fourth grader - squat vault

Stretch!  with obstacle course in the background

Third graders

Third graders on vault with the floor in background

Bars - Front support
          leg swings
          leg lifts side to side
          forward roll off low bar
          back hip pullover (3rd and 4th grade students)

Below are third and fourth graders performing various hangs on the bars.  Naturally it requires upper and lower body strength, grip strength, body control, and courage!

Grip strength, courage and abs!

Third grader holding a tuck hang

Tuck hang (abdominal strength)

Front support performed with pointed toes too!

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

Perfect technique!  First graders

Yes - they are on the HIGH beam!

Part of the obstacle course - here performing bunny hops over the bean bags

Tree pose - Yoga posture

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 strength skills with ease!

Yes!  His hips are OFF the floor!  Notice the cards with the pictures for the students to mimic

Back extension - 3rd grade


Third graders performing strength and flexibility postures

Strong bridge - upper and lower back flexibility and arm strength!

Did someone say abdominal strength?  Boat pose - Yoga

Yoga bridge - excellent for lower back and glute strength

One legged bridge!  Fearless and strong!

Look at the pictures - and make that shape!  Oh, and don't forget to smile!

Super back flexibility and strength!

Outstanding flexibility, strength and balance!

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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