4th Grade Update

June:  4th Graders Achieving!
With today being our next to last day for Friday PE classes, I needed 4th graders to be on-task, trying lots of skills, and efficiently taking turns for belayed climbs to the Balance Beam element.  Classes achieved all objectives!  Additionally, I saw lots of partner and teamwork and some fantastic working through the "stretch" zone while managing emotions on the suspended Balance Beam.  Banner day!
In Melissa's class, 13 students put on harnesses and made the effort to climb the ladder.  Exceptional efficiency and effort!
What great teamwork the 4th graders explored during 3-Legged Walking!  Two of the classes used up all the ankle ties and explored multi-legged groups.  I loved their ways of including others...made me remember back to their Acton Long Ago visit to the Old Schoolhouse.  :)

May:  Belayed Climbs, Paddle Practice, Badminton!
While the 4th graders have been climbing on the wall on the McT side of the gym for a few weeks, May 19 was a special day for climbers!  We had so many students trying to climb the Firecracker Ladder, a single rope strand element with wiggly wooden dowels attached to the rope.  I was so impressed by the solid physical effort and excellent focus the climbers demonstrated!  Really good work!  Plus, the paddle Keep-it-up activity and subsequent badminton volleying was under control and safe for all.  Great work!

April:  Throwing Games
Castleball became a favorite game!  Kids build castles with 4 hula hoops and then protect their own castle while throwing at other corners' castles to knock them over.  The 4th graders had a lot of fun!

March:  Overhand Throwing
Students were videoed in September as part of the elementary school's Physical Education department District Determined Measures.  In March, the students received feedback on their throwing technique as well as accuracy for the 3 throws from their own video.  Then, we practiced throwing at stations and in mini-games over the course of a unit.  At the end of the unit, I videoed students again and scored their throws again to demonstrate their progress over the unit.  I saw such focus and determination!  So many students were working hard to improve both throwing form and accuracy!

January 13:  Transition between Units:  Building Trust with the Parachute
Sometimes, working with your classmates and making an Igloo is just a good way to have fun.   :)

Making an Igloo


Playing Sharks & Lifeguards

December:  Basketball Skills- Dribbling, Bounce Passing, Shooting at Hoops

Nov. 4 Bowling, Pirate Ships

Oct. 21 Games for Fitness and Kindness:  Hospital Tag and Asteroids 

Oct. 14 Applying Volleyball Skills & Playing Fair:  4-Square Volleyball
What excellent work students showed in including their teammates, spreading out to cover their zone, getting under the ball for catching or striking, and cheering on their teammates' play!  Standards 2 (strategies & spacing) and 4 (respecting all and playing fair) were our goals for playing a game with volleyball skills today.  Their nice bumping & striking of the ball were good applications of our weeks of practice leading up to today's lesson.  Grateful for such kind, caring students!  :)

YouTube Video


YouTube Video

Sept. 30, 2016 Great examples to show to younger grades!  Loving the 4th grade skill work this year!

Moving Safely in Open Space!


Nice joined hands bumping!

Sept. 16, 2016 Volleyball Skills:  Tapping with Hands:  Ga Ga Go Game + Partner Skill Practice
 Nice start to our Volleyball Skills today!

Partner Underhand Tap & Catch


April 25, May 2, May 9  Mini Hockey Games
Each week, the focus for our 3-on-3, side-by-side hockey games changed.  What improved efficiency they showed at setting up and breaking down the step set-up.  But their offensive and defensive skills improved too!  Mostly, passing and receiving became more proficient, but turning your back to your opponent to protect the ball and anticipating ball movement for passing and blocking shots on goal also improved.  By the last week, I asked students to pick a goal from our long list of specific skills to focus on during the games.  I could see the progress!

YouTube Video

April 11 Floor Hockey Skills
4th graders are making nice progress with floor hockey skills.  I see improved stickwork and ball-handling from last week.  Now, we've moved onto passing while traveling and taking wrist shots on goal.  Onto games next!

March 28  Goal for Last Belayed Climbing and Basketball/Bouncing Ball Skills
Sometimes I see the nice progress children are making in our one class time each week, but children don't seem to.  So, I gave 4th graders a checklist of focus points where I had already seen growth and wanted to see a concerted effort for our last class of the unit.  Students did a nice job and even felt a sense of satisfaction that they set a goal and aimed for it, often surpassing it.  For some students, the focus was being in control of their ball or body, for others it was stepping in and using the backboard for shooting at the hoop or trying to climb further on a route than they had achived before.  Nice work on a snow-storm-delayed start day.  :)

March 14 & 21  Belayed Wall & Beam Climbs + Basketball/Bouncing Ball Skills
Watching students persist at climbing challenges to go a little bit further on each attempt is so exciting to see!  March 14 was a big break-through day on the Balance Beam climb for so many 4th graders!!!  :)
Meanwhile, non-climbers added to their repertoire of control and skills with a bouncing ball.  In addition to Dribbling, Bounce-passing, and Shooting, students worked on volleying with taps to a partner.  Check out the nice control that helped John and Andrew achieve a high tally of continuous taps.  They make it look so easy!

YouTube Video

Feb. 29 First Day of Belayed Climbs to Balance Beam! + Banked Shots (using backboard)
I am so thankful for having a parent volunteer to belay!  Meredith's mom, Dr. Abraham belayed for both Annie's and Michele's classes and provided over 30 kids chances to climb!  Having a volunteer belayer allowed more 4th graders to climb to the beam than ever before in 1 day!  :)
Thank you, Dr. Abraham!
Children choosing not to climb worked on Banked Shots, aiming at the backboard to bounce their shots off the glass toward the hoop. 

Feb. 22 Finish Flying Squirrel, Choice to Belay + Climb or Practice Shooting Hoops:
Wall Climbs with Australian Belay (and special volunteer help from Meredith's mom, Dr. Abraham)
or Set Shots on hoops.
Feb. 8- Snow storm, Feb. 15- Winter Break
Feb. 1 Start of Harnesses & Flying Squirrel- fun team activity + strength work too!

Leah's class: Up


Leah's class: Down

Jan. 25 Transferring weight to hands, Creating Angles with Body for Balance 
Poses, Identifying types of angles:  Obtuse, Acute, Right and Symmetry/Asymmetry

 Cartwheels, side Donkey Kicks, climbs!

Jan. 18 Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday- no school
Jan. 11 Making Angles with Bodies, Parallel Movement with a Partner
 What kind of angles are kids showing?

Jan. 4 Assessment result review
In today's PE, I shared with each student his or her results from the last Overhand Throw Assessment (from the rubric scoring).  Kids were excited to hear how they'd done!  Nice progress!  

Dec. 21 Overhand Throw Final Assessments + Castleball Games
Today was the 4th graders' lesson for showing their overhand throwing technique and accuracy at our target assessment.  The kids did a great job!  I was impressed at the students' focus and quality of effort. :)
Here are just a few examples of the awesome quality effort (despite background chaos) I saw:

Well done Robbie!


Great focus Hailey!


Nice effort, Sebastien!


Dec. 14  Overhand Throw Review & Practice:  Castleball Game
Nov. 30  Tchoukball with Turnovers if Pass is Dropped

Nov. 23 Tchoukball!  Brand new kind of game!

Nov. 16  Overhand Throw Assessment Results for pre-instruction knowledge
We've moved on to a new unit!  I reviewed with students the most important cues for Overhand Throwing and the two scoring checklists for their October video of 3 tennis ball throws.  I shared with students their scoring sheets showing their separate Form and Accuracy scores from throws made 25 feet from a 6'X6' target hung 3' off the ground.  Then, we practiced throwing at the Tchoukball nets, the "goals" for the new game.  Students practiced throwing and catching skills with an opponent to try to understand how to play this brand new game.  Here is an explanation of the Assessment and the Scoring.

Overhand Throw Assessment for PE


2 Scoring Lists for Overhand Throws

Nov. 9  Team Handball Mini-games outside
With perfect weather outside, we headed to the Turf Fields for 3 side-by-side Team Handball games.  I was looking for students to demonstrate the essential skills of passing, catching, shooting on goal, and defending but also to play with respect for all teammates and fair play.  The kids did a great job!  Excellent progress!
Next class, we're moving on to the new game of Tchoukball. Here's a preview: Tchoukball Preview Video

Oct. 26 Team Handball mini-games
My goals with 4th grade Team Handball games are:  providing students with lots of practice with passing & catching, improving offensive movement toward and around the goal, developing defensive awareness, and instilling leadership and scripts for fair play that gives all students chances to practice skills and learn.  I'm seeing progress from last week (as well as quicker passes and decision-making) and mostly good, clean play!  Here are some video clip highlights:

Handball Mini-Games ‎(with Zone Defense)‎


Nice Handball Play!

Praise for 4th Grade Fair Play

Oct. 19 Team Handball skills & mini-games
As a 4th grader observed, Handball is like soccer with hands.  You pass the ball down the court and try to score with thrown shots on a goal.  It is the 2nd most played sport in the world but seems to be mostly a Physical Education game in the US.  This week, we worked on passes that all teammates could catch:
-to the chest
-gentle rainbow pathway
-when teammate is looking and ready

Then, I gave guidelines for how we would play Handball mini-games in PE:
-must pass to all teammates before taking shots on goal
-move the ball down the court with passes (and move closer to the goal to receive a pass)
-zone defense in front of the goal only (up to 2 feet from zone markers)
-defense should watch and follow the ball
-this week:  no goalie

Each week, I'll amend the rules to fit the classes' increasing skill sets, including the social responsibility to captain games for fairness that give all kids a chance to learn.  The 4th graders are off to a great start at Handball!
     Nice quick shot!

Oct. 5 Visit the Turf Fields for Stations and Overhand Throw Videos for Assessment
4th graders continued their tossing & catching skills with teammates and played mini-games of Bucket Ball (advantage to the offense) and Box Ball (more evenly designed).  I videoed each child throwing 3 tennis balls at a 6'X6' target that was 25 feet away.  I'll use a rubric the AB Phys. Ed. teachers have adapted from the National PE Metrics Assessments for accuracy and form for Overhand Throwing.  This will guide my instruction of that skill, and later we'll do a post-instructional video for comparison.  The goal is to demonstrate student growth.  I'm planning to share with 4th graders their growth in a few of the PE Standards this year.  Overhand Throwing is Standard 1.

Sept. 28, Visit the Turf Fields for Bucket Ball
Today was a perfect day to be outside!  Our PE times line up with recess times so we need to go through the woods to the Turf Fields for adequate outdoor space.  Students jogged 1/2 lap around the soccer field, did a brief warm-up, reviewed proper form for Plank Pose, and practiced some Tossing and Catching with a few partners.  I demonstrated with a student, and classes identified key elements of:  tossing to the chest area, using overhand or underhand tosses, and using a gentle force.  The goal was to make each toss catchable by your partner.  Then, we finished with a little game of Bucket or Box-ball.  I loved that Matthew said that the game looked like Handball, a game that his cousin plays professionally in Brazil!  This was a lead-up game for Handball.  Made my day!

Finally, on the 4th week of school, we had our first Monday!  I kept seeing 4th graders in bus lines or in the hallways and they wondered, "When will we have PE?"  September 21 was our first day and we had a lot to learn and review:  entering activity (hula hoops), warm up routine, making a trip to the bathroom before heading to the turf fields, watching out for Poison Ivy on the pathway...   I reviewed my expectation that all children need to work respectfully with partners and teammates and we played the People-to-People partner game.