6th Grade Update

After starting the school year with a focus on strong body positions for plank/push ups and team games for playing fair and safe (Yoshi), we moved on to a Football Unit.  With the emphasis on how to throw & catch a football and practice for both, we played mini-games of 3-on-3 in early October.  Sidelines, Line of Scrimmage, Endzone, Touchdown, Quarterback, Receiver, Man-to-man defense, and spiral are some of our field and game vocabulary.  

New School Year 2017-18

June 5 Soccer Skills & Games with Soccer Skills
With only 3 lessons remaining, I wanted to maximize time for each student to work on dribbling and passing a soccer ball in PE.  Once students had a little practice dribbling a ball with all parts of each foot, we progressed to playing a tagging game while dribbling.  Then, classes practiced and either progressed to Soccer Bull in the Ring or Soccer Pinball.  Really nice work keeping the ball on the ground during passing & Pinball.  

May Giants'Ladder & Firecracker Climbs + Paddles/Badminton
After seeing the tremendous teamwork and risk-taking in the supportive MerrowVista environment, we had a unit of belayed climbing on the McCarthy-Towne side of the gym for climbing the partner challenge of the Giants' Ladder and the Firecracker Ladder.  For those not interested in climbing, we had paddle challenges and built up to badminton and a mini badminton tournament.  

April 3 Climbing & Belaying and Handball Game (plus balance poses & Hand Transfers)
Tasha's class rocked with safe belaying today!  The students belayed using the Australian Belay at one climb and a friction device belay at two- first time ever for two student-belay stations using friction belay devices!  Well done!  Such nice form and good focus!  And 5-on-5 Handball Game on a diagonal across the gym.  I'm so impressed with how the games adapt to the climbing needs.  :)

March 13 Harness Elements + Mini-games
Some students eagerly await when we begin our Climbing/Belaying Element unit in PE.  We started on March 13 with Flying Squirrel.  Students got to choose whether to participate in the Haul Team/Flying or to play 3-on-3 basketball games (on scooters and with 1/2 court on feet).  Loved seeing the continued progress in the mini-games as well as the joy of students getting to Fly Away!  Check out the Favorite Games & Activities tab above for photos of Flying Squirrel.

March Offensive/Defensive Game Skills
Classes did fantastic work playing 3-on-3 Basketball at two stations on March 6.  The main offensive goals were:  moving to get open for a pass from a teammate, catching catchable passes, and making catchable passes in open passing lanes to a teammate.  On defense, students demonstrated defensive stance, using your location to block passing lanes, and trying to intercept passes.  I've really liked the progress the 6th graders have made in these areas over the past month, as well as playing with the right force for passes and shots to be safe for all activities happening on our side of the gym.  Nice work!

February  Basketball Mini-Game Skills
Oh no!  Another month with just a few PE classes for 6th graders.  Just two lessons for February due to a snow day and vacation week.  Nonetheless, students made nice progress on passing and defending, demonstrating nice movement to get open in Monkey-in-the Middle games.  We even got a chance to have 3-on-3 basketball mini-games.  Plus, students got to climb the ropes, always a favorite PE activity.  

January  Basketball Skills:  Dribbling, Shooting, Passing
My Monday classes had PE three times in January, so we focused on building basic skills for basketball play.  Students played Dribbling Tag to improve dribbling while moving.  Each lesson, we also practiced bounce passes and shooting at the hoop.

Dec. Quidditch!
We started into our mini-games with a Throwing and Catching Unit and Muggle Quidditch.  No brooms and flying, but 3 hoops as targets and, eventually, bludgers too!  Students showed nice progress on passing, defending, and sharing shots on goal.

Nov. 7 Perfect day for Football!  Throwing & Catching, Mini Games

Nice defense!

OCT. 31 Outside PE:  Football #2, Throwing & Catching a Football
Fantastic day to be outside throwing & catching a football.  
Really liked how students with more experience assisted 
students with less experience in this activity.  Then we 
advanced to a 3-player-offense drill with everyone getting 
a few snaps at Quarterback, Center and Wide Receiver.  
Really appreciating the kids' enthusiasm for learning and
sharing football basics.  

Oct. 24 Outside PE:  Football #1, Field/Boundary Vocabulary and Practice
Kids with football knowledge shared and explained terms:  Endzone, Sidelines, Line of Scrimmage, Out of Bounds.  We played a game called No Ball Football with kids wearing quick-release loop belts.  They matched themselves to a student with similar speed, experience.  When on Offense, the goal was to run from across the Line of Scrimmage to the Endzone to score 6 points.  I encouraged those students to try a strategy to avoid their defensive match:  fakes (jukes), spin move, being screened by other players.  When on defense, students tried to pull a loop on their match's belt to pull it off.  If out of bounds or belt removed, you were done for that round.  Next week, we'll throw and catch and practice receiving routes.

Oct. 17 Finally- after 2 Mondays off, a Monday school day to have 6th Grade PE for  Final Volleyball Skills
 Trying a pull-up during Warm Up
 I like how each square was involved in a play or series of strikes and how well students are covering their zone within their square.

4-Square Volleyball Game

What nice work the 6th graders have done with partners and small groups on Volleyball Bumping and Setting.  Sept. 26 was so nice outside that 3 of the 4 classes went outside for skill practice.  :)
 I love how 3 students demo nice bumping in this brief clip and especially how Nick backs up so quickly to control his pass.  :)

3 Seconds for 3 Nice Bump Passes!

 ...and such controlled sets in the afternoon!  
Great Outside PE!

YouTube Video: Setting

Sept. 19 Volleyball Skills #1:  Striking with hands, Passing

Ga Ga Go Dodging/Striking Game

We're jumping into a mini-unit of 
Volleyball Skills for 3 weeks.  First week, 
play Ga Ga Go, learn about and practice 
the Bump pass with a partner, then try 
some Keep-It-Up with partner.  Ga Ga Go 
is a fun dodging game with 5 exercises as 
the consequence for being hit with a ball.  
Love the variety of exercises the kids 

New updates for the school year 2016-17 begin here.

Check the Welcome page for photos & videos of focused 6th grade Disc throwing from June.

May 31 Belays + Climbs or Badminton #2
 Love the belayers' support for the climbers!  "You got this!"

May 24  Belays + Climbs or Badminton #1
Sometimes working with Merriam kids just kills me.  The 6th graders had so much enthusiasm and fun with our new warm up, Garbage Aerobics!  A variety of exercises to warm kids up and have some fitness fun, but the kids' smiles and vigorous embrace of the new and sometimes silly exercises just made me feel so lucky.  Then, the kids showed such nice support for climbers on our new challenge- the Giants' Ladder!  Climbers showed fantastic teamwork and persistence, pushing themselves through sticky zones of challenge & discomfort.  Great effort today!  Even Badminton practice had kids working in new pairings, along with climbers in new pairings.  Nice openness!


  Plus- nice Badminton serving and volleying with a partner (in small space) 

May 17 Post-MCAS Monster Ball Games
Lots of post-test energy for a walk to the turf field for a fun game.  This round was on their knees and very speedy!

YouTube Video

May 10 Hockey Mini-Games with focus on Offensive and Defensive Awareness
I asked the 6th graders to demonstrate offensive and defensive strategies in their last 3-on-3 hockey games.  Love how these little clips show turning the body to protect the ball, passing away from defender's sticks, and rushing to retrieve intended passes, as well as anticipating ball movement on defense.  Nice work!

YouTube Video

So many skills demonstrated!!

April 5  Hockey #1
After watching the 6th graders make visible progress on their offensive and defensive skills with basketball, I'm hoping to continue that trend with Hockey.  For many students, a stick and plastic ball are easier to manage than a bouncing ball with all kinds of rules.  This was our first practice with Stick-Handling, traveling with control of body and equipment, and managing safe passes and shots.  Next week, we'll see if we can use those same skills of: turning your back to a defender, moving to create an open passing lane or defending by closing a passing lane with mini-games.  We covered a lot of skill practice today!  Nice work after losing a week to MCAS!


March 1-22 Basketball Skills:  Dribbling, Passing, Shooting, Defending, Playing Offense
Wow!  Since returning after February vacation on March 1, the 6th graders have been making noticeable progress

YouTube Video

on their basketball skills.  We worked on Dribbling, Passing, and Shooting strategies for a few weeks, with some fun games of Knock-Out at the end of class.  Then, we progressed to the much harder skills of:  Moving to Get Open, Faking or No-Look Passing, Protecting the ball, and Passing and Moving.  To help with this, we practiced the drill of Monkey-in-the-Middle, beginning first with Statue-in-the-Middle.  But, after kids set specific Offensive & Defensive skill goals today, I saw the best skill work so far!  Nice persistence and focus to make some leaps in skill levels during 4-on-4! I showed classes this video demonstrating nice Passing & Moving and Windmilling-Arm-Defense from last wk.

Long Jumprope Creativity

Jan. 19 Long Jumprope, Belayed Climbs, Scooter Hockey (Monkey-in-the-Middle)
Sometimes the kids insert their own creativity
and teamwork in such awesome ways to our activities!  Loved seeing some of the Long Jumprope work the kids did!  :)  
Plus, kids have the choice of climbing up the 
rope ladder to the balance beam or up the wall- taking turns trying the friction belay device too.
Our belayed climbing and belaying is 
"Challenge-by-Choice," so the kids get
to choose if and how high to climb.

Jan. 5 Climbing & Spotting, Skill/Strength Stations + Game
Even 6th graders love Star Wars!  One class was singing the Star Wars theme song as they marched together with the Haul Team to lower the Flying Squirrel.  So today we played an oldie but goodie scooter game:  Scooter Star Wars.  Watch out for the stars and planets, not to mention the Death Star.  And don't get in the way of a moving laser.  Not everyone has Kylo Ren's power to stop lasers in motion!  Loved seeing their enthusiasm!
Dec 8 & 15  Creating a Sequence of moves/balance holds + Handball Mini-games
Sometimes the 6th graders put all their skills together and really break through!  During these 2 weeks, each student rotated through a station for creating a sequence of Movements/Balance Holds to perform together.  They had several choices and talked about whether to decide on 1 move to do simultaneously or individual choices within a category.  For example, for the Transfer of Weight onto Hands, some groups chose to do a type of handstand (self-standing or wall-assisted) while other groups chose to do Donkey Kicks.  The categories were:  Symmetrical Balance Pose, Asymmetrical Balance Pose, Transfer of weight to Hands with full leg extension, a Roll, and a Skill Pose.  Meanwhile, two groups played in a supervised game of 4-on-4 Handball.  On the 15th, we had enough time at the end of class to set up 3 areas for simultaneous 4-on-4 Handball Games.  Great job!

Group Sequence Performances: Hand Transfers


Dec 1 Last Tchoukball Games + Transferring Weight to Hands for Balance or Motion
 Students showed nice teamwork, passing & defensive readiness for catching rebounds in today's games!

Faster moving & great catches!

 I also saw nice exploration of movements or holds for transferring weight to hands on the sidelines.  :)

Strategizing to try to catch opponent off-guard


Nov. 24 Tchoukball Outside
Today was chilly out at the turf fields but clear and sunny.  We took advantage of all the space we can use there and played 2 separate, side-by-side Tchoukball games.  Most students were warmly dressed, and all students were good sports about our first chilly outdoor PE.  I was on the look-out for stepping with the opposite foot for all overhand throws at the target and underhand tossed passes to teammates.  The 6th graders are such good sports about sharing shots on goal and making sure all teammates are included in rounds of passes.  Nice effort!

Nov. 17 Continuation of Hand Transfers + Tchoukball
Hand Transfers included:  Wall-supported handstands, isometric suspensions on the climbing rope or pull-up bar, side planks....

Nov 10 Tchoukball Stations, Transfer of Weight onto Hands (Donkey Kicks, Cartwheels) + Motion Photo
Overhand Throwing at a target and Catching an opponent's throw off a Rebounder are two main skills in the game of Tchoukball.  We practiced a few skills in small groups at stations to prepare for playing the game next week.  Plus, students are exploring transferring their weight onto hands in a Combo Unit with Gymnastics.  We'll be exploring balance and transfers of weight onto hands over the next month while we begin & play Tchoukball.  Plus, students chose a movement to have photographed that could be the start of their Wire Sculpture creation for Art Class.
Oct 27 What a great fall day for Final Mini-Games:  Soccer or Football
6th graders demonstrated such nice "personal responsibility and social behavior" (National PE Standard 4) in playing games of their choice- either football or soccer.  Loved how kids played!  I had read a few of the 6th grade strands from Standard 4 for our behavior targets:
S4.M1  Exhibiting personal responsibility by using appropriate etiquette, demonstrating respect..., and exhibiting safe behaviors.
S4.M2  ...using appropriate strategies to self-reinforce positive fitness behaviors, such as positive self-talk.
S4.M4  Accepting differences among classmates in physical development, maturation and varying skill levels by providing encouragement and positive feedback.
These games also provided opportunities for all students to work on Standard 1 skills of passing & receiving with feet, controlling a ball with feet, and throwing and catching with hands as well as Standard 2 strands of creating open space and reducing open space on defense.
   So many examples of quality effort and skill work!

Great examples of teamwork with soccer!

Nice throw Brendan!  Sid is ready to make the catch!
      (click on a photo to enlarge)
Nice defensive coverage and attempts to create open space- football & soccer!


Oct 20  Soccer Skills #3 + Mini-Games of 2-on-2 or 3-on-3 with no goalie
Our emphasis is still on having each student have touches with their feet to the ball- dribbling, receiving and passing.  So, small-sided games makes the most sense to allow all students maximal contact but also getting th
e chance to engage in a mini-game.  I see skills for soccer improving!  Next up is teaching kids with lots of soccer experience how to have some fun with their soccer skills without having to use all the official rules.

Oct 13 Soccer Skills:  Dribbling, Passing, Receiving
Students practiced dribbling with their own ball.  Then, we practiced passing and receiving using the inside of the foot.  I could see students with less soccer experience were really working hard to receive the ball properly- lifting their bent leg and rotating it out to the side to meet the ball in the middle.
Oct. 6  International Futbol, or Soccer Skills
I reviewed specific skill work for 6th graders under the National PE Standards, and students practiced dribbling a soccer ball, receiving and passing a ball using the inside of the foot, and punting (drop-kicking) a ball.  In PE, the goal is to maximize students' chances to improve skills by having maximal touches.  Each student dribbled their own ball using the inside, outside, bottom, and laces of each foot.  The goal was to demonstrate control of ball within 3 feet of your own feet, and to attempt increasing and decreasing jogging speed while maintaining control.  Students ended the lesson by practicing punting (drop-kicking) a foam ball to a partner.  The goal was to kick the ball with the laces on your shoe and kick the ball further away than high up.  

(American) Football Skills- September 22, 29  Throwing & Catching, 3-to-an-Offense, Review of football vocabulary, Plank Pose.  The walk through the woods to get to the Turf Fields takes a few minutes each way, but the space is so ideal for 6th graders!  The kids enjoyed having so much room to spread out for many small games of football skills.  We finished with mini-games of 3-on-3, 1-hand touch, 4 downs football.
Center snaps football to the quarterback.....

Football vocabulary we've learned:  spiral, line of scrimmage, end-zone, reception, field-goal.
for a pass to the receiver in 3-to-an-Offense.


September 8  Fitness Bingo!  We started the 6th grade school year by learning (or reviewing) fitness exercises and played a few rounds of Fitness Bingo to use them.  Fun start! :)