2nd Grade Update

September-Oct 10  Old-Fashioned Skills & Games
For 5 weeks, the second graders worked hard on Individual Jumprope, Long Jumprope and Hula Hoop skills for enjoying outdoor games & skill at the Acton Long Ago field trip October 10.  I was so proud of their progress and enjoyment of their new skills on a beautiful fall day!  Plus they explored Sack Jumping, Egg & Spoon, 3-Legged walking & Tug-of-War!





New School Year!  2017-18

May 25 Kenyan Activities & Skills
What fun the second graders had in PE today!  I got to hear them call out the Kenyan animal that many of them had been studying in their classroom in the Nyama game.  I loved seeing how much fun they had- so much like the children in the Kenyan videos below! Then, I complimented them on the progress they had made on their jumproping over the year and told them how impressed and proud I was of the persistence their effort showed.  Ask your second grader how many consecutive jumps they can do now.  Every child made progress and I emphasized how I appreciated each child's progress compared to their starting efforts back on the first day of PE.  Such focused effort!  Children jumprope in Kenya too.  We finished with running games, trying to last like Kenyans!

YouTube Video


May:  Striking with Hands & Paddles + African Games!
Lots of kids voted for Nyama as their favorite activity of PE on May 18.  Always makes me smile to see the kids looking like kids do from Kenya when they play.  Here's how children play in Kenya.  Plus we played 1-on-1 cricket!  

Nyama-Nyama Kenyan Children's Game

YouTube Video

April:  Balance & Motion Exploration in the gym!

March:  Scooters!  Travel & Games-  
The 2nd graders have been having a lot of fun traveling around the gym safely on bellies, knees and bottoms over the past few weeks.  We've played Scooter Tag and Scooter Star Wars.  On March 9, we even had Dagoba, the planet with Yoda for Jedi Training.  Students climbed ropes, jumped rope, or chose an exercise.  I saw Fair Play and kids reinforcing game rules with gentle reminders.  Last week, we had played the Scooter Star Wars version with a Mother Ship in each corner of the gym and a Guardian of the Galaxy from each Mother Ship.  Students were watching for fair play and building awareness of all the crazy rules for Scooter Star Wars.  Nice work!

Feb. 2  Dribbling Practice and Fitness Stations + Dribbling Tag
 Nice effort at stations!  Keeping body & ball in control is the focus.
Kids practiced dribbling at odd numbered stations & fitness at evens.  

YouTube Video

 Great trying!


Dribbling Tag is for building control & awareness.  Children work to keep control of body and ball while keeping aware of spreading out in our gym space and where the taggers are.  Check out the beginning and ending photos:

Jan.  Parachute Fun!  Finally, it is time for some fun!  The children earned today's fun with focused effort in December!

YouTube Video

Dec. Underhand Tossing, Stations, Jumprope Feedback
The second graders demonstrated great focus and persistence in December while working on skills!  Right up to December 22, they focused on stepping with the opposite foot for underhand tossing at targets like crates, hoop targets and the shark.  I stayed at the tossing station one week to offer feedback on tossing form.  Another week, I observed each child's jumprope skills and offered feedback.  The children have made so much progress since the beginning of the year!!  
Good focus and technique for Miles, in photo above!  Video captures so many students demonstrating fair play and proper stepping, rolling a ball, and defending in Ghostbusters.

YouTube Video

Nov. 10 Getting Outside on a Beautiful Day, some Meditation, back to the gym for a Bowling Game!

Spiderball Tag fun!

After seeing children showing signs of some stress on Wednesday and hearing concerns on the news, I thought we should get outside for part of our PE.  We jogged through the woods to the turf fields, saw a big hawk swoop down, looked at the long light pole shadows of November, then felt the warmth of the sun on our skin.  We did our warm up at the field, then kids lay down for a relaxation/meditation exercise.  The kids responded so well to it!  I heard, "Wow, I felt really different when I opened my eyes."  :)  If you'd like to try this as a family, check out the Headspace app.  It has some fun videos for to make the focus easy to understand and try.  We jogged back to school for Spiderball Tag in the gym.  I love how excited the kids are in the video clip about picking their fruit or veggie for tossing at the "hospital."  Great job today!

Nov. 3  Bowling ball on ground + Ghostbusters Game!
First, I reviewed technique cues for bowling:
-Arm Back
-Opposite foot step
-Bend down
-Swing arm to floor & release
-Follow-through with a hand point to target
Students practiced by themselves.  Then, they began blocking their pins while rolling a ball at a partner's pin.  Then, we finished with a game of Ghostbusters.  :)
 Your pin is your ghost.  You're trying to bust other ghosts while protecting your own with a defensive stance.  Nice work!

Ghostbusters! Bowling Game

Oct. 27 Long Jumprope Review + Skill Stations
After seeing children enjoying the long jumprope activities at Acton Long Ago last week, I wanted to provide all children the chance to jump with an experienced rope turner.  The children have made so much progress when working with each other on this!  But timing your swings to match the jumper's rhythm does take practice and experience.  So I swung at the jumprope station with a student so another student could jump.  Some kids chose to try the individual jumpropes too.  Other stations were:  bowling at a pin with a ball, bouncing a playground ball, and shooting at the basketball hoop with a soft ball.  I'm so proud of all the progress the 2nd graders are making with their jumprope skills this year!
Oct. 20 What a Perfect Day at Acton Long Ago- visiting the Old Boxborough Schoolhouse.  Loved seeing the kids' joy at exploring old-fashioned skills on a lovely day outdoors!  Also so nice to meet so many parents.  One of my favorite days!!

Oct. 13 Jumprope Skills, Marbles & Beanbag Toss
To assist students' jumprope learning, we explored stations for jumping ropes, shooting marbles and tossing beanbags at a hoop.  But the jumprope skills were dominant.  One station was Helicopter (on left below).  Three separate stations were Long Jumprope, with each student swinging with a partner for two stations and getting to be the jumper for the third.  Best work this year on this skill!!  Then, using ribbon wands to prepare for individual jumprope turning.  Lots of rope progress.  Next week will be the chance to explore all our Old-Fashioned Skills at the Old Schoolhouse for the Acton Long Ago field trip.  Can't wait!

Oct. 6, 2016  Old-Fashioned Beanbag Tossing Game + Jumprope work
Students did a nice job working on underhand tossing at a hula hoop with a partner, similar to a backyard toss or cornhole game.  My goal was to solidify students' rope swinging skill by working with ribbon wands first.  Students tried to keep arms bent, with elbows tucked by their sides and turned the ribbon wands at the same time with synchronicity.  Then, they explored trying different types of ropes to find one that worked best for their jumping level.  I saw good focus and some new personal bests!

2nd Grade Beanbag Toss & Ribbon Wands for Jumprope

Sept. 29- What nice Long Jumprope work the 2nd graders did today!

Sept. 22, 2016  First day of Fall and a perfect day to be outside!  Most 2nd graders had nice persistence with the double scarf toss challenge and shooting marbles.  The kids LOVED using the real glass marbles.  :)

YouTube Video: Juggling


September 15, 2016  Old-Fashioned Skills:  Hoop Rolling & Giant Marble Flicks
What nice space and effort the 2nd graders demonstrated during their Warm Up!  It was a perfect day to be outside!
We walked through the woods to the Turf Fields and listened to crickets and cicadas.  Alyson's class said they had thought the high-pitched buzzing was crickets.  :)  We also noticed how low the water level was in the creek under the bridge.  The children told me, "That's because of the drought."  Then, we did our vigorous warm up and practiced a couple of Old-Fashioned Skills:  Hoop rolling and Giant Marble Flicking.  Look at the nice focus!  Next week, we'll get to try the finger and thumb flicks with marbles in the gym.


Warm Up


Mountain Climbers


NEW SCHOOL YEAR!  2016-17 Updates Begin Here

June 21 Kaitlin's Class Kenya Unit Visting day
What a great time I had with 2nd graders and their relatives visiting at the end of their Kenya unit.  We played African playground games:  Stockings, Tug-of-War, and either Nyama-Nyama or the Numbers game.  Check back again for photos and videos!

Kenyan game: Nyama-Nyama


Stockings jumprope game


June 10 & 17  Games!
As we close in on the end of the school year, the Second Graders have worked on skill review, games to apply so many skills and preparation for 3rd grade.  

May 27 African Games:  Nyama, Nyama and Numbers

YouTube Video

The second graders had so much fun with the Nyama game from Kenya!  We watched this clip for kids to try to figure out how kids in Kenya play.  Then we jumped right in!  Children take turns calling out the name of an animal, then everyone says "Nyama!" and jumps.  So awesome to see the kids have so much fun with no equipment, just like kids in Kenya might.  Then we used the words for the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 in Swahili to form small groups by the called number.  Karen's and Kaitlin's classes had time and space for another round of Bokwele, and Linda's class did some Africa-inspired Tug-of-war.  :)

May 20 African Games: Bokwele #2
What a perfect day we had outside for PE!  I shared the new rules for Bokwele that the kids had suggested in our debriefing last week.  Every class did a fantastic job playing fair, being safe, and being good sports.  Great job!

YouTube Video

May 13 African Games:  Stockings & Bokwele #1
With a lovely day outside, we headed to the turf field for a couple of games from Africa.  The 2nd graders are learning about Kenya, and we're going to spend a few weeks playing some games from Kenya and Ghana.  The game Stockings is a long jumprope game where the swingers gradually lift the rope higher and higher.  Then, we turned to Bokwele which the children recognize is similar to Capture the Flag.  We played round 1.  We used the basic rules from the Ghanan version and later discussed some problems that came from few rules.  Next week, we'll incorporate new rules to address some of the difficulties.  I love when the kids discuss what could work better.  Sometimes it feels uncomfortable when a class struggles with the limits of few rules or a first round of playing a game.  But thinking and developing solutions is part of the learning process.  Next week, we'll add a few new rules from the kids' reflections and suggestions.

April 15  Outside & Inside PE:  Volleying with Hands #2
 Nice partner taps and catches outside....

YouTube Video

 and love the quality tapping inside!

YouTube Video

April 8 Outside & Inside PE:  Volleying with Hands
2nd graders did their warm up outside and took a few minutes to listen to the birds and look at the buds and bunches of leaves beginning to grow on trees.  :)  Spring!  When we moved inside, children practiced catching and tapping a beachball to a partner.  Great chance for us to work on catching skills as well as high-5 a ball upward.  We finished with several rounds of the ever-favorite Messy Beachball Volleyball Backyard.  

April 1 Outside PE!
Windy but warm!  That were the conditions outside that invited 2nd grade PE out in front of the Merriam School.  We had stations for practicing dribbling a ball with hands, tapping a ball to a partner with hands (volleying), and jumping and swinging with the long jumprope.  The children did a great job working together to try to help each child in their group get to 5 consecutive jumps with children swinging.  Nice focus!

YouTube Video

March 11 & 18  Dribbling with Hands and Tagging Games
2nd graders practiced dribbling with 1 or 2 hands and played Crows Vs. Cranes and Pacman Tag.  On the 18th, we started class with Laps, Hoops and Jumprope.  I have been so impressed at the children's persistence and focus at matching their best consecutive jumprope score or beating it.  Excellent jumping today!  And finishing with Line Tag (Pacman) brought out such fair play, with kids staying on the lines.  I can't watch this without giggling.

March 5 Advancing with Balance & Motion Exploration
I loved all the risk-taking and persistence I observed with the 2nd graders as they advanced with stilt-walking, working with others on buddy walkers, balancing while spinning plates or devil sticks, and climbing.  Well done!

Feb. 26 More challenging exploration of Balance & Motion

Balance & Motion- Karen's class


PE Stations: Linda's class

Feb. 12 Exploring Force, Momentum, Friction, and Balance with Body & Equipment
So many activities that we've explored in PE over the past 2 years has used these concepts.
Today, children explored skills they already knew but with the challenge to use motion, momentum,
or multiple points of contact to maintain balance:  Climbing sideways on the wall, Pulling or Riding 
for Sleigh Ride, Climbing the ropes, Jumping rope, Devil Sticks, and Spinning Plates.  Ask your
2nd grader which they liked best and if they can explain one of the concepts through it.

Jan. 15 Steps, Force & Friction with Self-Powered Sleds (carpet rectangles), Scooter Star Wars
One focus this year has been to paying attention to stepping with the opposite foot from the hand in use.  Scissor Jumps are a good exercise to get students thinking about their hand/leg pairing (as seen in the video).  Then, such nice work on Fair Play and Safe Travel in Scooter Star Wars.....plus imagining you're flying an X-Wing!  :)

Opposite Arm & Leg Scissor Jumps

Scooter Star Wars: Level 3

Jan. 8 Steps, Sleigh Ride, Safe Scooter Travel
The 2nd graders are in a good rhythm with incorporating nice effort on new skills into our brief skill stations.  This week, children were stepping, then jumping, then straddle jumping onto steps.  Another station was safe scooter travel, and the 3rd was the ever-favorite Sleigh Ride.  We finished with basic Scooter Star Wars games.  :)

Dec. 18 Skill Stations to reinforce learning and Jumprope check-in with Mary
Wow!  It is 1 week before Christmas, and 2nd graders were focused and breaking jumprope records!  I set up 12 stations around the gym for kids to practice skills:  Practice rope turning with 2 rope bits, Jumprope with Mary, Large Hula Hoops, Small Hula Hoops, Climbing traverse on wall, Bowling at cup stack, Climbing the rope, Tossing a 4.5 lb medicine ball, Ribbon Wands & Balance boards, Tossing & Catching to a partner, Shooting at Basketball Hoop, Helicopter.  With 2 students at each station, I was able to focus on each jumper and offer specific feedback for each child to help improve his or her tally.  About 1/2 of all students increased their highest jumprope tally, and the other 1/2 matched his or her personal best.  Unbelievable!  Fantastic effort today!  Lots of high-5s!! :)
Dec. 11 Pirate Ship Game (bowling with teamwork)
Dec. 4  Bowling Practice with a Partner & Spiderball Game
After watching my video recordings of children practicing skills over two lessons, I wanted to give individual feedback to the children still stepping with their same side foot as their bowling arm as well as activate children's thinking about their own movements.  We reviewed the 4 steps to Proper Bowling:  
  1. Arm back
  2. Opposite Foot Lunge
  3. Bend down
  4. Reach and Roll
After I assisted some students and observed that all students were stepping with their opposite foot on bowling practice to a partner, I instructed children on exactly when to let go of the ball so that it rolled smoothly on the ground.  Kids got it!  On to Spiderball with a regular round and an advanced round.  In the Advanced Round, children who had been bitten by a spider (hit in the ankle by a ball), came to the "hospital" and stood on a star.  I underhand tossed a beanbag fruit or veggie to them and then waited for children to toss back to me.  Great chance to review the opposite foot stepping and rainbow pathway to me.  Before the round, I showed how I would toss in a rainbow arch to their chest, making sure to have a gentle force and wait until they were ready.  :)

Nov. 20  Underhand Tossing & Bowling Practice and Games
Time to play a few games with opposite foot stepping skills of Underhand Tossing and Bowling.  I videoed a few rounds of Spiderball Tag to get to see how children are progressing at stepping with opposite foot with bowling.  

Nov. 13  Underhand Tossing Assessment & Game(s)
In order to see if children are tossing with proper form, I videoed 1/2 the class Underhand Tossing at a large target.  Each child tossed 2 or 3 yarnballs, and I was looking for the following cues.  I had asked each class to provide the Underhand Toss cues:  Tick/Tock Arm, Step with Opposite Foot and Follow-through with a reach toward the target.  Each class looked at photos I had taken in class to try to identify whether former students were stepping with the opposite foot.  Here's a great video I had taken in Linda's class that I also showed:

Pirate Games: Underhand Toss Form

Oct 30 + Nov 6  Inside stations:  Underhand Tossing & Jumprope
I wanted to get to watch each child jumping rope to be able to provide specific feedback for improving.  For this to happen, it takes two separate 45-minute sessions.  We always have a warm-up and instructions, and instructions for 11 stations take a few minutes.  But the kids love getting to climb on the wall and up the rope as well as explore other skills like shooting at the basketball hoop.  I had a few stations of buckets and baskets for Underhand Tossing practice as well.  I am so please with the progress children are making on their jumprope skills:  better timing for rope rotation, better timed jumping, 

Oct 23  Outdoor Games & Skills from Long Ago
Finally, a nice day for outside skills including Hopscotch with kids drawing chalk games.
We also got practice with long jumprope jumping & swinging and Tug-of-war!
Oct. 16  Old-Fashioned Skills for Acton Long Ago
After missing class with most 2nd graders last Friday (due to Community Day), today was a chance to add some more Old-Fashioned Skills and Games and practice a few favorites.  Children explored 6 stations:  Jumprope, Egg & Spoon, 3-Legged Partner Walk, Climbing the Ropes, Shooting at a bucket in the hoop, and swinging rope bits to improve jumprope technique.  I was so impressed at the patient partner work I saw and taking turns on the ropes!

October 7  Bonus time!
My first grade classes have their Tide Pool Field Trip to Gloucester today, so I'm inviting the 2nd graders to practice their Old-Fashioned skills during their recess.  I brought hoops, jumpropes and long jumpropes outside for kids to use if they chose.  I LOVED having extra time to swing the long rope for children to jump on such a beautiful day! Small adjustments I make for newer jumpers are:  start with a longer middle section of rope touching the ground, swing with large arm circle, and/or drag the rope on the ground for longer by reaching down.  Kids love jumping when a grown-up can swing to match their timing.  :)

October 2
While I'm sorry the rain kept us from Community Day activities, I'm so glad I got to see the 2nd graders!
Classes watched a brief video of an efficient 6th grader jumproping and then got the opportunity to try out the efficient techniques:  low jumps, small arm circles with bent arms, and tall & still body.  Children also learned a little about the differences between the types of jumpropes and explored the different kinds.  Another station had each child swinging a long jumprope with me or an assistant and then jumping in the long jumprope.  Kids love this!

September 25
2nd graders are starting the year with a focus on old-fashioned skills and games.  We had beautiful weather for a trip to the Turf Fields on September 25 for Hoop-Rolling, Whirligigs, Giant Marble finger and thumb "flicks," bouncing a rubber ball, and tossing and catching scarves (one of the oldest children's skills).  Getting ready for the visit to the Old Schoolhouse!

September 18 Beginning of Old-Fashioned Skills from over 100 years ago
Second graders explored skills from 100 years ago!  We're integrating learning from the classroom into PE lessons by practicing old-fashioned skills that children have loved for decades.  Children climbed ropes and jumped rope.  They hop-scotched and rolled hoops.  They tossed a rubber ball at the wall and practiced catching skills.  I videoed each child's attempts to jumprope for 1 minute as part of our District Determined Measure for demonstrating student growth in PE across the AB district.  This will be a year-long measure, and I presented this as a starting point for me to help them make progress.  During the course of the year, I'll introduce strategies to help improve jumping for a brief learning focus each month.  Then at the end of the year, I'll video again, tally each child's jumps, and determine the progress made.  What persistence I saw today!