5th Grade Mondays

MONDAY is Phys. Ed. day for 5th graders! 

June 22- Everyone Dribbles & Pivots, Choice of Climbing and Belaying OR Basketball shooting
After everyone practiced a little dribbling to meet my expectations (knees bent, head up, ball waist height or lower, hand hovering with finger pads contacting the ball, and keeping control), we practiced pivoting on the non-stepping foot in each direction.  Then, students practiced "air shots" 
in personal space: L arm, bending, extending up, and turning 4 fingers to the floor.  Students then chose either 1) Climb the Wall or to the Balance Beam and Belay or 2) safely shoot at hoops (closer shots due to the belays) and play Knock-out.  I required that kids who got knocked out joined another game so that they could still practice their shooting.  While many students were shooting at hoops, other students were helping to belay and taking turns climbing.  This type of lesson set-up is always challenging to supervise for optimal student safety, but the students shooting at the hoops did a great job taking close shots, demonstrating National PE Standard #4 Exhibiting responsible personal and social behavior!  Well done!!

 (click photo to enlarge)



June 15- Last 1st time Climbers for Rope Ladder to Balance Beam + Basketball Skills, Knock-Out Game
June 8- Belayed Climbs up Rope Ladder to Balance Beam + Badminton Skills #2
June 1- Belayed Climbs up Rope Ladder to Balance Beam + Badminton Skills #1 
Each week, I randomly select 6 students who have the choice to climb the belayed rope ladder to the balance beam and assist with the belay team jobs.  Many students have tried out being the belayer (with me as the back-up)!  For students not climbing or belaying, I have taught a lesson for the skill of the day.  For badminton, I focused on underhand serves, backhand serves, and volleying with a partner.  The second week, I asked students to try to improve their strikes within a racket reach from their partners and trying to return a volley with force that keeps it in play.  I saw nice progress from week 1 to week 2!

May 18- Floor Hockey!  For the past two weeks, we've been working on "striking with a long-handled implement."   This week is the 2nd week of playing 3-on-3 floor hockey games with 2 games played simultaneously and separated by steps.  Students play in side-by-side mini-games with steps dividing the gym into the 2 separate game areas.  Today's lesson featured observing another student's play and providing a compliment and a reminder based on our list of expectations/goals for our hockey skills.  The list includes:  demonstrating proper grip on stick, keeping at least 8 inches of space between hands, holding stick at a diagonal from body to keep ball away from feet, using both sides of the blade to tap the ball, lifting the stick to tap the center or to receive the center of the ball, and passing the ball forward of your teammate, but could also include faking a shot or pass, defending shots on goal, and anticipating a forward pass toward the goal.  Keeping sticks below the knees is the toughest one!  But I see so much greater control and ease with the sticks since the first lesson 3 weeks ago. 

April 27We had the lessons over at the turf fields and practiced using short-handled implements (paddles & rackets).   Students focused on orienting their paddle or racket face toward their partner and trying to strike the ball within a 5 foot radius of their partner.  Some students finished their Overhand Throw final assessment video at the target today.

April- 5th graders practiced a little for their final assessments for Overhand Throwing.  Then, students took turns throwing 3 tennis balls at the tarp target for their final assessment video.  Classes looked at their rubric result sheets with my comments for each student in class a week or so later.  Those results/feedback sheets will end up in conference folders for parents to see soon.  I saw excellent student focus and growth!  Especially loved that so many students took time between throws to breathe and re-focus.  Nice effort!

March 30  My feedback on final jumprope videos + Volleyball Skills + Messy Backyard
 Nice Bump preparedness!
 And nice jumproping form!

 Nice toss for setting and nice hand preparedness!
 Excellent toss to Set & nice bent arms on jumprope!

March 23 Final Jumprope Videos + Basic Volleyball Passing

March 16 Belayed Climbs + Jumprope + reflecting on old skills/progress + Intro to Striking with Hands
I had looked at all the kids' individual cards for jumprope records for last year and stapled each to this year's card.  I made comments or asked questions on students' cards to help me understand kids' progress.  Some students had tallied high records with jumpropes but had stepped or skipped rather than jumped over the rope.  If they had done fewer consecutive jumps this year but were indeed jumping with 2 feet (a more challenging skill), I wanted to understand the context and explain that to kids.  After some jumprope practice, we completed our last belayed climbs or played a hand-tapping game called Straddleball.  

March 9  Improved Belaying on Climbing + Anticipating in Scooter Hoops/Hockey Games
Today, I gave specific guidelines to belayers about how to provide safe support without taking away the challenge of the climb.  Many kids are inclined to help and hold the climber's weight at all times.  But the climber has chosen the challenge of climbing and should have that challenge as well.  Today I instructed teams about the right amount of pull to feel and how the climber should look when they are working their way up a challenge.  For scooter hockey, I asked students to think about getting open and putting their hockey stick on the non-opponent side of their scooter as well as anticipating where their partner would need them to be to make a pass while moving in the direction of the goal.  Scooter Hoops allowed for easier passing and faster scooter movement!  Before we got started on climbs or games, students matched their old jumprope records with new ones and reflected on their progress.  After seeing their personal bests from last year, many students catapulted this year's p.b.!

March 2 Start of Belayed Climbs on McT side of gym for Wall Climbs, Firecracker Ladder + Jumprope/Scooter Games
Sometimes the enthusiasm of Fifth Graders is just the best!  When students read the lesson plan on the whiteboard that they would be starting belayed climbs up the Firecracker Ladder belay element or playing Scooter Hoops, kids let out cheers of Yes!  As with all of our climbing elements, climbs are Challenge-by-Choice:  kids choose whether to climb, how high to go, when to come down, and all without comparison to others .  Climb on!  Nice start today!
 Australian Belays for Firecracker Ladder + Wall
 Scooter Hockey 3-on3 games for non-climbers

Feb. 23  Read Individual Feedback from Mary, Practice Jumprope, Finish Flying Squirrel, Play Foods Tag Game (See Favorite Tab)
We reviewed the "tips for efficiency" and preparation steps (on entry below) for longest jumping.  I had re-watched all the jumprope videos and added comments to students' jumprope record cards.  I added that the counting in your head is just like counting beats in music class or when playing an instrument.  Maryann's Class is showing nice teamwork for pulling our Flying Squirrel to the rafters!  Belayed elements are "Challenge-by-choice," meaning children get to choose whether to go up, how high they want to go, and when to come down without comparison to others.

Feb. 2 & Feb. 9 Snow days in the winter of Snowmageddon has meant no school on two Mondays in a row.  :(

Jan. 19  Flying Squirrel and Jumprope Practice

Jan. 5 + 12 Jumprope #2:  Preparation and Technique Overview + Stations including individual feedback for jumprope
With 4 classes of 5th graders, I had nearly 100 students to watch on video over vacation to see what feedback would help kids increase their consecutive jumps with a jumprope.  Over 2 lessons, I shared with all classes the video below and asked them to notice what Lexi did in advance to prepare to do her best jumping.  She wore sneakers, pulled her hair back, wore clothing that was right for exercise and did not cause her to stop jumping, and picked a good spot.  Then kids looked at the video to see what Lexi did with her arms, legs, and torso (or core) to help her stay efficient and jump longer.  Other jumpers are doing these too.  On Jan. 12, most students came prepared to do their best jumping with hair pulled back, good clothing choices & sneakers too!

Kids identified tips for efficiency:
  • Arms bent, elbows out to side, close to body
  • Small circles with hands/wrists
  • Legs bend a little on landings
  • Feet land on balls of foot
  • Jumps are 2-8 inches off ground
  • Body stays upright, head steady
I shared that Counting in your head helps focus a steady rhythm for reaching a target tally.  Watch the video and see that 5th graders are also persisting and on-task at all the stations:  Jumprope, Tchoukball shots & catches, Sleigh Ride, rope climbing, and buddy walkers.  Even at the station for recording your best jumprope tally on an index card.  Awesome job!

Dec. 20  Jumprope instruction/practice, Medicine Ball tosses with partner, and 4-Corner Castleball
We started instruction on jumping rope, one of the Physical Education areas for pre- and post-instruction assessment for 5th graders.  Today, I showed the students the differences in our collection of ropes, how to measure that a rope is long enough, and how to select a rope that is best for you.  Students practiced and then got to play our final Castleball games.
Nice sideways start and step with opposite foot!
Nice letter L arm and elbow shoulder height!
Nice balancing on that opposite leg and following through with arm toward opposite hip for generating power!
 Excellent teamwork for rebuilding castle!

Dec. 8 & 15
I have been observing small groups of students throwing at the tarp (using the assessment protocol) and providing individual feedback to each 5th grader.  I know they know the Overhand Throw rubric's 4 essential elements, now I want students to show me the 4 elements (see Nov. 17's entry).  On the 15th, we tossed medicine balls (2 kg, 3 kg or 4 kg) to a partner for a few minutes to build a feeling of using the core and legs to power a ball toss.  Next, each class played 3-corner Castleball while the 4th team took turns throwing at the tarp target so I could observe each student's throwing and offer feedback.  I also brought in a cool wooden target with a shark painting and a cut-out for a shark's mouth.  A few 5th graders threw their tennis ball into the shark's mouth from the protocol of 25-feet away!  (Just making throwing at a target a bit more fun. Our assessment target is much bigger, a 6' X 6' tarp.)  On Dec. 15, I see nice progress for so many 5th graders on their form and accuracy!  We'll start to work on our Jumprope form soon and then move on to our Belayed and Spotted Climbs Unit.

Dec. 1
More Castleball!  What I love about Castleball is that students are engaged repeatedly in making strong overhand throws and having fun with it.  Check out No Defense Castleball in the 5th grade videos.  Kudos to Kate's class for having the best sportsmanship ever!  Kids never gave up or whined about having their castles knocked down... repeatedly.  What excellent progress I'm seeing with overhand throwing technique and forcefulness! Great effort!

Nov. 24
Finally-- Castleball Games!  Each team builds 6-hoop castles and throws balls to knock down the opponent's castles first.  Students love this game, and I love to see kids' throws and offering feedback.  I'm seeing more forceful throws already!  Progress!  And better sideways starts.  Still working on having all students take a breath and set up between throws.  Check out the "Favorite Games" link above to see a video of the 4th graders playing Castleball in late September.

Nov. 17
Students worked with a partner to recall the "most important" technique cues for Overhand Throwing.  Here are how students described the Overhand Throw rubric's 4 essential elements of:  
  1. start sideways, 
  2. letter L arm with elbow shoulder height, 
  3. transfer of weight onto opposite foot, and 
  4. follow-through with trunk rotation and throwing arm toward opposite leg
Students also built 6-hoop castles and practiced overhand throwing at the castle targets, working on the technique cues I suggested on their individual score sheets.  Parents will get to see those in the spring in student folders during conferences.

Nov. 10
5th graders' Overhand Throwing Unit started today.  I shared with classes the rubric I used to score the 3 overhand throws I videoed in late September, early October.  (Scroll down to Sept. 29 for the protocol for this District Determined Measure.) All of the Acton-Boxborough elementary schools are assessing 5th graders for pre- and post-instruction performance for Overhand Throwing and Jumping Rope.  I shared rubric scoring results (0-9 points per throw) for the 3 overhand throws I videoed in late September/early October, with scores ranging from 0-27.  The elementary PE teachers adapted the rubric from the assessment rubric used last year, from the National Association for Sport and Physical Education's PE Metrics.  It scores each throw for two components:  form (technique) for up to 5 points and accuracy for up to 4 points.  

Nov. 3
Maryann's class played their final games of Tchoukball, while the other 5th graders explored skill stations and recorded their pre-instruction jumprope tallies.  I videoed jumpers to see what feedback and instruction will help jumpers progress.  Other stations were:  Buddy Walkers with station classmates, Sleigh Ride, Climbing the ropes, and passing & taking Tchoukball shots.

Oct. 27, 2014
All 5th graders (oops- except Maryann's class who missed most of their PE this week due to our evacuation drill) took shots on goal during our longer games of Tchoukball.  Well done!

Oct. 20, 2014
Hooray!  Best passing yet and many students got to take a shot on goal during our Tchoukball games.  Check out the short video clips below to see the 5th graders' quick passing sequences.  Goals are scored when a shot at the rebounder target bounces outside the cone zone and is not caught by an opponent.  This week, we played 6-on-6 games and tallied passes, catches and shots on goal for a partner. 


Tchoukball #2

YouTube Video

Oct. 6, 2014
Despite the beautiful weather outside, we needed a day in the gym to really wrap our heads around the game of Tchoukball.  We watched a portion of a YouTube video (see below) and focused on "catchable passes" and basic essentials for throws:  letter L arm, elbow at shoulder height, and a step with the opposite foot.  To help kids truly understand this unit's focus on appropriate passes and catches, kids watched classmates playing for two games and got to be the players in one game.  Kids logged a list of marks in two columns (throws & catches) for one whole game of 4-on-4 (8 players), scoring a checkmark for each appropriate throw and catch, a - for a missed chance to catch or make a catchable throw, and a + for each outstanding throw and catches.  To help students understand my expectations, I called out some of the appropriate marks.  Not as many minus signs in my observations than we had had last week at the turf fields, and many, many checkmarks....so progress there!  More appropriate throws and better catches this week!  Hooray!  Plus, everyone got to play in a mini-game of this new and strange sport.  A few 5th grade teachers told me their kids said they had fun!  Check out Tchoukball below:

Tchoukball: Teaching Games for Understanding

Sept. 29, 2014  Videoing 5th graders' Overhand Throwing for PE District Determined Measure

We have been so fortunate to have had nice weather for three Mondays in a row for outdoor PE!  We have gone to the turf fields, through the woods behind Merriam, and practiced throwing and catching skills as well as performed a throwing assessment.  This year, all 6 A-B elementary schools' Physical Education teachers are assessing fifth graders for District Determined Measures (DDMs) to provide evidence of student growth in Physical Education.  All Merriam 5th grade classes performed one of the DDMs for PE:  Overhand Throwing at a Target.  Students stood 25 feet from a 6 foot X 6 foot target that was 3 feet off the ground and threw 3 tennis balls at the target.  I recited a script informing them that they would be assessed for having a sideways orientation, having a good arm position, stepping with their opposite foot, hitting the target, and following through.  I videoed students’ throws and will use a rubric for form and one for accuracy to score the 3 throws for a cumulative score that I will share with students individually.  The National Association for Sport and Physical Education (recently changed to SHAPE) designed the protocol for this assessment https://drive.google.com/a/abschools.org/file/d/0B6a831ESYNzcam1GY0hzdlFnNGs/view?usp=sharing.  My goal was to record a baseline performance for this motor skill.  In the coming weeks and months, I will provide instruction and opportunities to practice and receive feedback for overhand throwing.  Students will have additional opportunities to apply the skill in games.  Then, some time in the future, students will repeat the assessment to demonstrate evidence of progress.  In the spring, the result sheet will be included in students' folders to share with parents at Student-led Conferences.  If at any point you would like to email me or set up a time to discuss your child’s progress or share insights, please feel free to contact me at:  mobrien@abschools.org

This past week, we also passed and took shots on goals in preparation for playing a new game called Tchoukball.  This game was invented by a Swedish PE teacher to improve students' throwing and catching skills.  It uses rebounders as targets which I borrowed from the AB High School PE Program.  My hope is to start playing games next week! 

Sept. 8, 2014 
The theme for our first PE lesson was Community Building.  We have a few new students to get to know, and many students have classmates with whom they've never been in class before this year.  After reviewing names, sneaker expectations, and my request that students try their best and demonstrate respect, we jumped into a few ice-breaker activities.  We played a game called, Puzzle Partner Pacman.  It starts with students being handed 1/2 of a puzzle and then searching for their partner who has the other 1/2.  This allowed for random partnering and an opportunity to review my expectation for respectful behavior- using a friendly tone of voice and body language- with any partner for PE activities.  It also allowed students to for take turns with performing some vigorous exercise and having a silly interaction with other classmates- popping styrofoam pacman pieces at each other.  This was also an opportunity for me to see if I could trust students to follow directions, be safe, interact with many classmates rather than just favorite buddies, and perform exercises appropriately without direct supervision.  Afterwards, we reviewed what respect looked like in that activity.  Next, we played a game called "This summer, did you...?" which was similar to musical chairs but with stars on the floor, instead of chairs, and the last student to move reading the next question.  This was a chance for children to move, have some friendly competition, and observe that they have many shared experiences but also differences within their class.  We finished with some line-ups:  by birthday, alphabetical order by first name or number of siblings.  Terrific start!

Kudos to all 5th graders for wearing sneakers!!  They are the first grade level this year to do that!  Whoo hoo!!!

Puzzle Partner Pacman

"This summer, did you...?