1st Grade Updates

Oct 10-13 Bowling Games, Parachute
Kids practiced rolling a ball on the floor and stepping with the opposite foot.  We played a variety of games, including:  Pins Up, Pins Down and Messy Backyard.  Fran's class did a GREAT job at playing fair with the parachute game Sharks and Lifeguards!

Oct 2-6  Tossing & catching, Bowling, Dodging
I'm establishing safe play and fair play in PE with a few skills and fun games.  We practiced partner bowling before playing Spiderball Tag, a favorite of the kids!  If time permitted, we also played Dragontails and learned to just say, "Oh well," if your scarf was taken.  I'm looking to build safe game play, fair play, speaking up with gentle reminders, and good sportsmanship.  Love what I'm seeing so far!!

First graders are already jumping into skill work and games.  New School Year!  Sept. 18, 2017 New 1st Graders - Safe Travel while tossing & catching...possibly the best 9 seconds of my Monday!  I LOVE 1st graders!!!

First Graders Having Fun

May, 2017:  Tapping with Hands & Paddles + Japanese juggling connection in PE
For more games/ideas: Otedama webpage
Lauren's class had time for trying 2 Ojami juggling- high toss and low toss.  Here's a video of Music teacher Chris showing partner tossing options with me at All School Meeting in 2015. Try one!
 Students practiced tossing skills with Ojami.
Partner Juggle- each partner tosses an
Ojami to the other (below).
 Students learned tapping beachballs with High-5s and Low-5s and practiced tapping and catching with a partner. We also tapped a ball with a paddle, both on the ground and in the air.  But the highlight of May PE has been practicing tossing & catching skills with students' very own hand-made Ojami beanbags. First graders made Ojami with their Art teacher Anne Kress in connection with their study of Japan, and children have been so excited to toss and catch their own Ojami in class!  Wow! What amazing focus I saw on May 24 in PE class as children attempted tossing and catching two Ojami and tossing and catching with a partner!  In Japan, there's a tradition of grandmothers making Ojami and passing the juggling skill Otedama to their grandchildren.  Try with your child! 

Double Ojami Toss with Partner

 May 17: Tossing & catching Ojami and...
 batting & fielding like baseball & cricket.

April:  Tossing & Catching, Ball Skills, Travel Games
Throughout April, first graders practiced self-tossing & catching, tossing and catching with a partner, and traveling safely through the gym.  We were so lucky to even have a day to walk through the woods to the turf fields, listen for birds and observe the beginnings of spring on the trees.  At the turf fields, we have so much space for uninterrupted practice and lots of physical activity!

March:  Scooter Travel & Games
Safe travel is a major theme for First Grade, and Scooters are sure a fun way to practice!  Traveling on your belly, bottom and knees challenge different sets of muscles and reinforces awareness of speed and space for collision-free motoring.  Favorite games were:  Tunnel Tag, Scooter Scrabble, and Scooter Star Wars.  Additionally, we've been working on our Cardio conditioning.  We've identified where our hearts are and all the exercises that strengthen our hearts.  We started with a 2- minute Cardio Challenge and progressed in 30 second additional segments to 3-minute Cardio Challenge to music.

February: Obstacle Course, Healthy Eating & Tag Games
On Wednesdays in February, we've had the rope swing down for either an Obstacle Course element or stations.  Children have crossed the stepping stones, traveled through the agility ladder, traversed the climbing wall, tossed medicine balls into the big bin, swung on the rope swing, climbed the ropes, rolled across the mat, and practiced tossing and catching.  Nice persistence!  We played the Crows vs. Cranes tagging game on February 8.  On February 15, the game will adapt to the Sometimes Vs. Everyday foods game.  We'll talk about the importance of getting your 5 fruits and veggies every day and limiting foods with sugar or grease.

January 11  Safe Travel + Tag Games
Before we start our tag games, children practice safe travel through the gym.  The goals are:  stay on your feet, no crashing, changing direction when you get close to others, safe speeds.  Look at what a great job kids are doing and scroll down to see slower travel/more near misses on September 14.  Great progress!  Today we played Freeze Tag, Banana Tag & Ga Ga Go.

YouTube Video

YouTube Video

January 4:  Reward for progress on self-control & safe travel- TAG GAMES

December:  Excellent Station work- Sleigh Ride, Rope Climbing, Underhand Tossing...
check back soon for photos. :)

Nov. 16 Bowling/Tossing & Catching Game + Healthy Bedtime
The first graders played a fun game called Spiderball Tag.  Children bowl the spider balls, try to dodge oncoming balls, and then head to the "hospital" to toss & catch fruits and veggies if bitten.  The kids had lots of fun!  We also talked about the importance of sleep- something all the staff learned about at our Professional Day last week.  I asked students to talk with their parents about whether they are getting 10+ hours of sleep a night and to limit screen time to 2 hours before bedtime.  Screen time before bedtime alters the quality of sleep and leaves sleepers under-rested for the next day.  I suggested children read actual books rather than tablet versions before bedtime.  Let's all get some quality sleep time! 

Nov. 9 Bowling Games      I reviewed with students the cues for bowling, and then kids practiced rolling a ball at their own pins.  Then we played two bowling games:  Ghostbusters and Spiderball Tag. 

Who Ya Gonna Call?


Nov. 2  Bowling!
I reviewed the cues for bowling or rolling a ball:
-Arm back
-Opposite foot step/lunge
-Bend Down
-Swing arm to reach & release at pin
Then children practiced bowling at their own pins.  After some group and individual feedback, they practiced blocking their pin and rolling at their partner's pin.

October 26 Skill work at Stations + Start of Bowling
First graders practiced several movements while traveling safely through the gym:  skipping, galloping, jumping on 2 feet, hopping on 1 foot, and marching.  We've been practicing this since the start of school, and I can see children becoming more aware of safe speeds and pathways to avoid crashing.  :)  Kids also practiced skills at stations:  low traverse climbing on the wall (feet staying below the tape), pumpkin toss at the bin (tossing a covered medicine ball), bowling a ball at a pin (where I stayed to guide stepping with the opposite foot), rolling your body like a log or pencil on a mat (taking turns), using ribbon wands while balancing on boards, and hula hooping.  We'll start playing bowling games soon!

October 5, 2016 Space!  Finding Personal Space for Equipment, Safe Travel in Open Space

Scarves & Ribbons Wands in Personal Space


Love the Self-Expression...& Thinking About Space

September 14, 2016
The First Graders are off to a strong start!  We're establishing routines and expectations for Safe Travel, Good Listening & Following Directions, Kind working with others, and Trying Your Best.  The first few lessons have focused on Personal Space, Safe Speeds for Traveling, and Paying Attention to Where You're Going.  Here are a few videos showing some good focus and work!

Exploring Hula Hoops in Personal Space


Safe Travel Through Gym


June 8 Ga Ga Go, Skill Stations (Dribbling with Hands, Balance & Underhand Tossing, Tapping with Hands, Long Jumprope- to practice skills used at next Wednesday's Field Day)

YouTube Video

As we near the end of the year I was observing skill retention for First Graders.  I love how traveling with all our Locomotor Skills at safe speeds has improved!  I saw nice space between students and good choices for Personal Space exercises.  I LOVE how Alyson's class has taken the minion chant into their jumping in Personal Space with such nice synchronicity and precision.  Check out their excellent Jumping Jacks :)
We played our game right after Warm Up- a bonus compared to the regular routine of waiting until after skill practice- and checked for playing fair, playing safe, and giving classmates gentle reminders.  Ga Ga Go is a dodging and tapping game the kids love!  We finished with practicing skills: Dribbling a Ball with Hands, Balancing beanbags & Underhand Tossing to a container, Beachball Tapping & Catching, and Jumping the Long Jumprope while I swung the rope.  Skill review & Field Day prep.  

June 1   Dribbling/Bouncing a Ball, Bounce Passing to Partner, Ga Ga Go Game!
What nice focus and control the first graders demonstrated while practicing their dribbling skills!  They had choices about what exact dribbling or bouncing & catching sequence to practice, but they needed to control their ball at their spot or star.  Check out how nicely students practiced the level that was just right for them!  Differentiated instruction and practice was respected by all students, and kids found the right level for practicing.  Nice work!  Then, students practiced safe travel with the right bouncing/dribbling for them.  We finished with a fun game:  Ga Ga Go.  

YouTube Video


YouTube Video

May 25 Japanese Juggling (Otedama) and Dribbling a Ball

YouTube Video

Today was our last practice of tossing and catching and trying juggling with the kids' Ojami that they made in Art class.  Then they bring them home this afternoon!  Since kids needed two Ojami to try the 2-sac juggling, the kids practicing bouncing or dribbling a ball across the gym shared their Ojami with their juggling classmates.  I was so impressed with students' persistence at trying the 2 Ojami tossing and catching.  Risk-taking and Persistence!  Before taking Ojami home, students played Spiderball Tag with the Ojami as the medicine.  Kids could choose to try the 2 Ojami tossing & catching or just the 1 at the hospital.

For more info about the Japanese juggling skill and the integration of learning about Japan with their Art and PE classes, read entries below.

May 18 Japanese Juggling skills #2
This week, children practiced tossing and catching with their own Ojami at a few skill stations to prepare for juggling.  Then, they watched the Youtube video below to see a Japanese grandmother demonstrating Otedama for her son and granddaughter.  Children started the pattern of toss, catch, pass with one Ojami, then they added an extra beanbag to try two.  What fantastic persistence I observed!  I loved how hard the kids tried at tossing one over and the other under.  Children practiced other skills at stations too:  hula hooping, traversing the climbing wall (low), shooting at the basketball hoop, balancing across the stepping stones, tossing and catching, and tossing at a bin.  What excellent focus today!!

YouTube Video

May 11 Japanese Juggling skill practice- Just made their Ojami on Monday in Art class and using them today in PE class
On Monday, Merriam's Art teacher Anne Kress brought me 3 separate bags of the First Grade classes Ojami- homemade beanbags for the Japanese juggling skill called Otedama that is passed down from Grandparents to children in Japan.  I brought the kids' beanbags over to the turf fields for the kids to find their own Ojami and practice lead-up skills for juggling.  In 2 weeks, they'll bring them home!

April 13 Cricket Baseball at Turf Field  We were so lucky to have an excellent day to go outside and get to play a little 1-on-1 Baseball game with 2 bases.  Nice to give children lots of space and enough time for several turns batting and fielding.

April 6  Baseball Stations & Other Stations for Fitness & Fun
Two batters are so much easier to keep safe than 4 or 5.  So, I set up 11 stations for two children to explore together.  The batters swung just in front of the curtain so the ball would stop and be retrieved quickly.  Nothing quite so satisfying as the feeling of connecting the sweet spot on a bat to the center of a ball!  Well, unless you can climb to the top of one of the climbing ropes or Hula Hooping on your Surfboard.  :)
I added a few new stations for baseball skills:  tossing and catching with a partner and tossing a ball at the wall and trying to catch as it bounced off.  Nice work from the First Graders today!  Hopefully, we can go over to the turf fields for 1-on-1 Cricket Baseball next. :)

March 30  Intro to Batting- Baseball link with Japan
One thing Japan and the US have in common is love for the game of baseball.  I showed the first graders a few photos from an educational blogger's trip to a raucous baseball game in Hiroshima, having remembered my sister Anne's animated descriptions of a game she attended there.  The first graders will be studying Japan soon, so it seemed a great time to introduce batting.  I love how excited and eager kids are about batting in PE, but I'm always a nervous Nelly, worrying about safety with 6-year olds swinging bats.  After one class inside the gym, with kids wondering out of their station to get their run-away ball at the next station, I itched for more space.  It was a beautiful day, so Fran's class helped carry equipment through the woods to the spacious turf fields!  Alas, a maintenance worker was painting the red lines.  This time, he was the nervous Nelly, worrying that 6-year olds would leave red footprints all over the lovely turf.  Oy!  After luxuriating in the red-line free center circle for our warm-up, we carried the equipment back to the gym.  Not enough time left for batting, so I shifted gears to Tossing and Catching- another essential pair of skills for Baseball.  It was a good lesson in being flexible, saying "Oh well!", and moving on to plan B.

March 16  Overhand Throwing, Climbing and Lucky Leprechaun Tag
First graders explored stations for overhand throwing at a target and climbing on the wall and climbing up the ropes.  I got to observe and offer feedback for most children on their Overhand Throwing form.  We finished with a game of tag on the lines of the gym floor:  Lucky Leprechaun Tag.  

March 9 Overhand Throwing for Distance
With temperatures forecast for up to 70 degrees today, we walked through the woods behind the school to use the turf fields for Overhand Throwing stations.  What a perfect day to see which type of ball goes the furthest and get a little look at the trees before they begin budding.  Excellent to get outside to have so much room for throwing!

March 2 Overhand Throwing Stations

 We started with 30 second rounds of Running Laps, Hula Hooping and Jumping Rope.  Nice job this week on better pacing during running!  The kids helped remember the cues for Overhand Throwing and threw at different targets at stations around the gym.  It seemed like they had been waiting all year to finally do overhand throwing!  Nice work.  :)  I was at the big tarp station and provided feedback on their sideways stance and stepping with the opposite foot.  
Great jumprope persistence!

Feb. 24 Tag Game (Sometimes vs. Everyday Foods) and Overhand Throwing #1
Each of the classes played a Tagging Game called Crows and Cranes that morphed into Sometimes vs. Everyday foods.  We looked at the My Plate poster with lots of fruits and veggies recommended and talked about limiting fats and sugary foods for good health.  The Tag Game required kids to think before choosing which direction to run.  Pizza was a thoughtful one!
Then, we practiced the cues for Overhand Throwing, throwing a yarnball and counting steps to reach the thrown ball.
The cues were:  
  • Start Sideways, arm back
  • Step and turn
  • Reach to target & release
Feb. 10 Scooterville!

Rope Climbing at Scooterville

Jan. 27 Smaug's Jewels- Scooter & Spelling Game
Jan. 20 Scooter Star Wars- levels 3 & 4
Students helped set up our galaxy and split up into 4 Mother Ships 
for our most complex version of Scooter Star Wars.  What a nice job 
the first graders did on Fair & Safe Play!  Then we Blasted Off!  
One first grader even had this awesome t-shirt, coordinated with 
our addition of the planet Dagobah & Yoda today.  :)

Scooter Star Wars: Level 3


Blast Off!

Jan. 6 Scooters, Steps, and Scooter Star Wars!
 1st skill practice:  1 partner practiced safe scooter travel...
1 partner stepped & 
jumped onto steps
 Scooter Star Wars Level 1:  show Safe Travel & Fair Play

Scooter Star Wars: Level 1

 Level 2:  adding rolling lasers to avoid!

Scooter Star Wars: Level 2

Dec. 23  6 Skill Stations + Pirate Ships (bowling teamwork game)
What great effort and focus first graders showed on our last school day before the holiday break!

Glimpse of 1st Grade Stations

 Devil sticks were a favorite station
Pajama Pirates playing Pirate Ships (teamwork game for bowling)

Dec. 16  Skill Stations (lots of Underhand Tossing, also catching a ball tossed by the teacher)
I wanted children to get lots of chances to practice their swinging arm action for bowling and underhand tossing as well as catch a gentle toss from me.  Along with traverse climbing across the wall (feet staying low), hula hooping, and obstacle course stepping stones, children practiced the Underhand Tossing motion at 3 stations.  I tossed to pairs of 2 students and had them toss underhand back to me.  Every first grader caught several tosses made to their chests, with a rainbow pathway toss and replicated that form back to me.  I was watching and correcting for stepping with the opposite foot from the tossing hand.  I loved seeing children pausing to think and mostly get it right!  :)
Dec. 9  Teamwork Bowling Game
After a few weeks of work on stepping with the opposite foot from your bowling hand, children are ready to play Pirate Ships.  Pairs of students practiced bowling a ball at a tall pin.  Then, we learned the 3 jobs for Pirate Ships: Captain (the cannon ball bowler), Look-out (the goalie-like protector of the mast), and Scuba Diver (the ball retriever).  Children got to play all three roles and worked together to keep their mast up.  :)

Nov. 25  Games with Rolling and Tossing
After students practiced rolling a ball to a partner, we played Spiderball Tag.  In the game, the balls are spiders.  If you see a ball rolling toward you, try to dodge it or stop it.  You can pick up a ball and roll at another student's feet.  If you get bitten by the spider, head to the hospital for some medicine- 5 tosses with a fruit or vegetable.  I challenged children to try 3 bites of a new vegetable at Thanksgiving.  Great way to get your vitamins!

Nov. 18  Opposite Hand & Foot for Underhand Tossing
After adding a few movements with opposite hand and foot into our warm up (lunges with a tossing motion, Scissor Jumps), we looked at my Left/Right person picture and then some photos of kids Underhand Tossing to see the pattern.  Pencil, ice cream spoon hand swings back and forth with opposite foot stepping.  Then we had 3 stations for Bowling and Underhand Tossing.  Students bowled at a pin and tossed a 4 lb medicine ball.

Nov 4  Heights & Weights, Log & Egg Rolls, Opposite Hand & Foot (Bear Walk)
Nurse Betty came in to measure heights and weights of every first grader.  This information gets used in the Nurses Study (for 1st, 4th and 7th graders).  We continued our rolling practice, adding Pencil Roll to Egg and Log Rolls.  And first graders practiced traveling with Opposite hand and foot combinations, like a bear would.  :)
Oct 29 Stations with lots of skills- start of Underhand Tossing
Oct 21  Rolling, Weight Transfer, Habitats & Spatial Awareness
First graders are beginning transferring weight onto hands and rolling like a log and ball.  I loved their control of their bodies and speed during our pre-mat activities.  Nice job following my 1-child-per-mat rule as well.  :)

Safe Travel Adjustments in General Space


1 child per mat, waiting & entering at cone

Oct 14  Balance, Travel like Animals, Counting

Imagining Animal Travel in Acton Conservation Land

Children integrated learning from their study of Tide Pools and Animal Habitats with counting and travel in the gym. Children found their matching number to their counting puzzle piece to determine their partner.  Then, children either balanced or traveled like a fish, hermit crab, or snail for the count of 10. The balancer then hid a gemstone in one hand while the partner tried to guess which hand held the gemstone.  Here's Kristen's class finishing with movements across mats like animals we might find in the conservation lands of Acton.  I saw rabbits, foxes, frogs, squirrels, and deer across mats, and hops on 1-foot between mats.  Great imagination!

Oct 9  All School Meeting Yoga with Fran's class
Did you get a chance to see Fran's class demonstrating yoga poses and then a Sun Salutation series at All School Meeting?  Check it out.  Try doing it with them!

Sun Salutation


Sept 28  Math & Movement:  puzzle partner, balance pose, counting for locomotor movement

Sept 16  Partner Work: friendly faces & gestures, making shapes together (high, medium & low)

Which minions below look appropriate (just right) for P.E. with body language and use of equipment?
 Minion in control
Minion who is too silly

Sept 2  First day of school PE
.  I loved seeing First Graders on their first day of school!  We focused on Space and Locomotor Movements.  Here was a favorite slide from my mini-slideshow:
Ask your child which picture shows Personal Space.  We talked about checking that you have enough space around you to safely move your body and use equipment for Personal Space.  General Space is shared the space for moving or gathering, and children need to show greater control.  Then, we practiced Locomotor Movements, where children traveled from one point to another with the following:  marching, galloping, sideways shuffling, hopping on 1-foot, jumping on 2-feet and skipping.  That informal assessment helped me see what children already know and can do and where skill acquisition is needed.  Hopping and Skipping are not yet for all students, but they'll get there.  Full hops on each foot for at least 10 hops is a good practice activity.  Children can touch a wall or table for support.  Great start on Day 1!