May 27, June 3, 10  Parachute Activities
The parachute is a great tool for injecting a little teamwork into our lessons.  Plus, so much fun!
 Lifeguards on the look-out!
 Children love the Sharks & Lifeguards game!

May 6, 13, 20  Mat Travel  What fantastic focus & creativity for safe travel & mat movements!!  Great job!!

Safe Travel in General Space

 Egg Roll across mat
Travel between mats with jumps, hops, gallops, then 1 at a time egg rolling across mat :)
Children also did Bear Walk and Frog Jumps.  Ask your child which he or she liked best.
Snake or Alligator movement across the mat 

April 29 or May 1  Obstacle Course with Rope Swing
I combined many skills into our obstacle course around the gym and added a rope swing.  Children bounced a ball, climbed across the wall, hula hooped, tossed a beanbag at a bucket, tried climbing the rope, tossed and caught objects, stepped across balance stones, hopped across stars, and ducked through a hoop.

Apr. 8 or 10, then 15th or 17th: Underhand Tossing- Tick Tock Arm, Step with Opposite Foot & Reach
In these lessons, I observed each student and prompted for stepping with the opposite foot and reaching toward the target as they practiced underhand tossing.  I called it "balance & reach."  We had buckets and boxes for targets.  

Apr. 1  Skill Stations for me to make and receive an Underhand Toss with Every Child
The Wednesday 1/2-day K students had class, but no school on Friday for Good Friday.  Kindergarteners explored 11 stations of skills for 1-minute each.  Stations were:  stepping stones, ribbon wands, self toss & catch, hula hooping, low traversing the climbing wall, overhand throwing at the basketball hoop, climbing the ropes, and trying to jumprope.  This gave me the chance to stay at a station and underhand toss to each child and cue them for underhand tossing back to me.  Taking bowling cues (tick-tock arm, stepping with opposite foot) into an air toss was challenging for so many kindergarteners.  But I loved how they were thinking and trying to get that opposite foot step right.  Parents could help children readily identify their crayon/pencil hand (for drawing or printing their letters) as their ball hand too.  :)

Mar. 25th (1/2-day Ks) or 27th (All-Day K)  Overhand Throwing
I instructed the children on basic cues for overhand throwing.  First we identified our crayon or pencil hand for printing letters.  That will be our Throwing Hand.  Then our cues were:  Stand sideways to target, crayon hand has ball and is closest to curtain, arm is up like the letter L, Turn and Reach Ball in Front.  Kids counted their steps to their ball.  We finished with Messy Backyard!

Mar. 18th or 20  Game to Apply Jumping & Tapping Skills
Kindergarteners learned the game Ga Ga Go, where children tap volleyballs that are rolling on the floor.  Watch out though!  You've got to dodge the balls too.  If a ball hits your leg, head to the Jumping Zone to try jumping up onto a step with 2 feet twice.  We also did an exploratory game for Overhand Throwing:  Messy Backyard.  Kids looked at pictures of older kids overhand throwing, got basic cues, and then were cleaning up the yarnballs that were on the floor on their side.

Mar. 11th (1/2-day Ks) or 13th (All-Day K)  Step Ups, Running, Hula Hooping, Tapping & catching
This week, Ks practiced skills at 4 stations:  Step or Jump up onto steps, Hula Hooping, Tapping bottom part of ball to get ball to move over pull-up bars, and running across the gym.  Then, classes played Messy Backyard- ask your K how to play! (See 1st for photos.)   Parents of All-Day K students, check out the Service Learning your children did with their 6th Grade buddies this week.

Mar. 4th (1/2-day Ks) or 6th (All-Day K)  Step Ups, Hand tapping, Game
1/2-day Kindergarteners played the Crows & Cranes Tag Game, while All-Day Ks played Messy Backyard.  But both classes practiced 3 skills:  Stepping up on plastic steps, Tapping a small beachball off a hand tee, and Catching partner's ball.
Feb. 25th (AM and PM K) or 27th (All-Day K)  Skill Stations (Tap with Hand) and Crows & Cranes Tag Game
After Warm Ups, I divided the class into 3 groups for the following stations:  Jumprope exploration, Tossing & Catching, and Tapping a Beachball.  I provided instruction for tapping or striking a beachball. I demonstrated holding your "non-crayon hand" up to make a "tee" to hold your ball.  Then, I demonstrated bringing your "crayon or pencil hand" close and giving the ball a High-5.  If the ball does not reach your partner, try to tap it a little harder next time.  If it goes too fast or hard, try tapping more gently next time.  The partner tries to catch the ball and then holds it on his a tee hand and high-5s the ball back.  I observed & assisted so every Kindergartener could achieve this.  This is a Manipulative Motor Skill that could be practiced at home with a balloon.  Children love tapping a balloon to try to keep it up!  Because we try to keep Merriam School latex-free, we tapped beachballs in pairs.  Striking a balloon and jumping a self-turned rope 1-time are Kindergarten outcomes in the National Phys. Ed. Standards (see under tab above).  We later played a very fun game: Crows & Cranes.  Crows run from the Cranes, and Cranes run from the Crows.  Each group has a head-start, standing about 6 feet away from the other.  I call out one group and the running begins.  I did not see one single Kindergartener fall down during this game.  Hooray for staying on feet and playing safe!

Feb. 11 or 13  Smaug's Letter Jewels & Healthy Heart Choices
Combining fun & core-strengthening scooter travel, letter recognition, and vigorous exercise in a silly game!  Kindergarteners were working in pairs to travel to Smaug's mountain and take 1 letter (from the dragon's precious stash) and return to their village.  Meanwhile, their partners did jumping jacks, scissor jumps, mountain climbers, jogging in place to build a healthy heart. 
 Lots of nice jumping jacks!
  Mountain climbers!
 Love the effort!
 Love the safe hands!

Jan. 14/16  Scooters & Blast-off!
We've keeping our practice of Hopping on each foot 5-10 times during our warm up.  Different levels of travel are our focus for now.  Low travel and slow travel on scooters keeps all travelers safe.  Students motor around the gym on bottoms, knees and bellies, paying attention to looking where they are going, keeping fingers safe, and avoiding collisions.  We've also gotten some fast running for our Blast-off activity.  Waiting for the final counts and blasting off together is such a challenge for some!  But running fast, when in a safe format, is so much fun!
  • Keep hands & fingers safe
  • Look where you are going- no crashes
  • Sit over the middle hole

Jan. 7/9  Skill Stations
After not seeing Kindergarteners for 3 weeks, I wanted to start back with an informal assessment on children's ability to hop on each foot and also provide students with opportunities to practice lots of skills.  Children's endurance levels cover the whole range, so stations allow for brief practice sessions and practice for many skills (balancing, tossing & catching, hula hooping, low rock wall climbing...).  I observed each child in the 1/2 day-K classes hopping on one foot 10 times and switching to the other foot.  For a hop, the foot must leave the floor, and the child may not spin in a circle.  For many children, they could hop 10 times like this for their dominant foot but needed to hold on for the non-dominant foot.  What terrific persistence they demonstrated!  I allowed children to touch the wall or a table with one finger for stability if needed.  Children could practice this at home a few days each week!  Ask your child to show you how they hop on each foot!

Here are the All Day K students practicing skills.  I added a few new stations:  climbing the ropes and shooting at hoops.
 Tossing and...
 Shooting at mini-hoops
 Climbing the rope
 ...hard work!
 Hula hooping
 Low traverse on wall (feet under tape)
 Balance Boards
 Obstacle course
 Jumprope and hula hooping
 Also new:  scooters!

Dec. 17  Sleigh Ride and Spiderball Tag
Riding a one-horse open sleigh can be great fun if you are safe!  In the gym, riders need to let go of the rope if they are falling or feel they are going too fast.  Check out the Favorite Games link above to see photos of what that activity is.  We also played a brief game of Spiderball Tag to reinforce the concept of getting our 5 servings of Fruits and Veggies each day, especially during the holiday season!  Happy holidays!  

Dec. 10 Skill Stations & Walking Tag Game:  Turkey Tag
I love using stations with stepping stones (for balance walking), balancing on a balance board while tossing & catching a scarf, climbing across the climbing wall, and hula hooping to "wake & shake."  I'm looking to get muscles on both sides of the body activated and using equipment most kids don't have regular practice with.  I was just chatting with our Physical Therapist, Anne Dempsey, and she reminded me of the importance of basic balance and core activities.  Kindergarteners present the greatest skill range of all the grades, and these activities help get all muscles alert and active.  I introduced a walking tagging game around eating more than we need.  The holidays are a time when lots of us eat more food than we need when we gather with family and friends.  It's important to balance out the extra food intake with extra physical activity.  If a farmer tags a turkey with the extra food ball, the turkey goes to the secret turkey gym to do 5 exercises:  jumping jacks, mountain climbers, or tossing and catching a beanbag for example.  Getting out for a walk in the late afternoon or evening is a great way to get some extra minutes of physical activity during the holidays.  :)

Dec. 3  Moving at safe speeds in general space & looking for open spaces for a tag game
We practiced our Whistlestop Game activity of traveling at safe speeds through "general space" with galloping, skipping and hopping.  I broke down skipping as a hop and a step, a hop and a step.  A few non-skippers got a few skips for the first time.  It will take lots more practice for that to be an "anchored" movement and learned skill, but it's a start!  Then a walking round of Turkey Tag.

Nov. 21 & 26
Spiderball Tag
Kindergarteners in the All-Day K and AM K played their first tagging game with a game that used the bowling skill and also some tossing & catching.  Ask your child how it is played.  

Nov. 14 & 19
Stations for Skills
I used this lesson as a chance to reinforce the stepping with the opposite foot with 2 or 3 students at a station at a time.  I observed the bowling station, but students also explored:  low traversing on the climbing wall, tossing and catching objects, ribbon wands, balance board tosses & catches, obstacle course stepping stones, hula hooping, and first time ever- jumping rope.  Here are some photos of the PM Ks on Wednesday.
 After completing 5 catches of the scarf, students switch to a different balance board.

Nov. 5 -12  Bowling Game & Stepping with the Opposite Foot for Bowling
We played Ghostbusters in PE.  Ghostbusters is a bowling game that all grade levels love!  You have your own pin that shadows you- your ghost.  Your job is to protect your ghost while trying to bust others' ghosts by bowling a ball at them.  It's a great game for:  bowling practice, playing fair, being a good sport by saying, "Oh well!" if your ghost gets busted and starting over in a new spot, and taking a risk by leaving your pin to grab a ball to bowl.
AM Kindergarteners playing Ghostbusters

Oct 29 & 31
Kindergarten practiced bowling!  We practiced bowling a ball to knock down a pin.  The cues were:
  • Tick tock arm
  • Lunge with opposite foot
  • Bend down and reach to the floor
  • After releasing ball, point hand at pin
Next class, we'll use the bowling skill for a game of Ghostbusters.

Oct 15, 2014
The kindergarteners are demonstrating so much progress so early in the year!  We have firmly established our warm up routines.  We get ready to move with our Circle Warm up:   toe tapping & side to side taps, circle with knees, circles with hips, shoulder rolls, arm circles, criss-crossing arms, gluing our feet and twisting side-to-side.  During our Square warm up around the outside of the gym, students maintain space between students for:  walking, jogging, sideways shuffling, galloping, skipping (if able to), walking on heels, and lunging.  Students hop to Personal Space for:  downward dog, mountain climbers, table position, straddle stretch, butterfly stretch, jumping jacks, scissor jumps, and criss-cross jumps.  Children are also understanding behavior expectations for controlling one's body in crowded spaces and moving to empty or open spaces in the gym as well as traveling through the gym without touching anybody or anything.  

Today, we practiced rolling a ball and eventually, rolling a ball to an empty space in the gym after tossing and catching it 3 times and jumping 3 times with it.  This was our first time using equipment and practicing skills while moving around the gym.  Children are demonstrating appropriate safety and are building endurance for our routine!  One of my goals is for children to last for the whole warm up without flopping down for a sudden rest.  Children are improving with each week!

Oct 8, 2014
Hooray!  Today, after our warm up routine, classes explored four stations:  
-Hula hooping (they've all improved at getting started and getting their hoops to spin)
-Ribbon Wands 
-Tossing and catching a scarf
-Stepping stones
Kids practiced the skills of:  taking turns, practicing a skill over and over, and finding personal space to be safe with their body and equipment.  Our Freeze Pose was Tree Pose and we shook off all our leaves.  

Oct 1, 2014
This week, we built on our Warm Up routine by adding a Freeze Pose of the day.  I have a bendy skeleton who takes on different yoga poses each week.  The children can see the Freeze Pose of the day by glancing at my media cart in the corner of the gym as they do their Square Warm Up.  The bendy skeleton was Triangle Pose.  Once the children learned it, they were so quick to demonstrate the pose each time I called, "Freeze pose!"  We also did a little Deep Sea Diving through open space in our gym filled with imaginary water.  This was so children could focus on traveling at a safe speed, looking where they walked, and choosing empty areas of the gym for their destinations.  Then, we swam like minnows or guppies, small fish.  Finally, we progressed to swimming like a clown fish to Finding Nemo music.  A few children wanted to run, but children had fun showing they could travel at safe speeds through the gym.  Just watching where they are traveling and anticipating when they and others will arrive at the same spot takes practice and development.  Otherwise, trips to the nurse for bumped heads takes up the rest of their PE class time!  We progressed to Builders and Bulldozers with our finger bulldozers.  Ask how we played this game!

Sept 26, 2014
Each week, we build on the previous week's skills!  Kindergarteners demonstrated the ability to keep some space between children during all phases of our warm up.  This was our best day so far for Personal Space!  We walked through General Space without touching others, doing our Pink Panther song and adding snaps, claps, slaps, 4 on the floor, slaps, claps, and snaps to the refrain in the song with rhythm!  Then, we reviewed using equipment in Personal Space with either Hula Hoops or Scarves.  

Sept 17, 2014
We put it all together today!  Circle Warm Up, Square Warm Up, Personal Space Exercises and Moving to Open or Empty Spaces.  We finished with the Pink Panther detective activity.  Students used their imaginary magnifying glasses and searched for empty spaces.  Moving safely in General Space is a key learning goal for Kindergarten!  It will be a work in progress for a while, but walking without touching others is a great start!  Plus, we got a little rhythm activity with snaps, claps, and slaps.  Here's a little video clip from the PM K. :)  Check back later for AM K photos or video.  2 thumbs up for all 3 K classes on Pink Panther song activity!  Well done!

Sept 12, 2014
This week, Kindergarteners completed the Warm Up routine and practiced a Personal Space activity, tossing and catching a scarf.  We performed a Circle Warm Up (tapping each of our feet several times and then making circles in each direction with knees, hips, shoulders, and arms).  This prepares the body for moving in a variety of ways during class.  Then, we do our Square Warm Up.  The goal is to move at a medium pace around the gym, maintaining a few feet distance from the student in front, while performing a variety of basic Locomotor Skills on cue:  jogging, sideways shuffle (or slide), galloping, and skipping.  While the children are galloping, I invite them to skip if they know how or to continue galloping if they aren't skipping yet.  This is a chance for me to see which of these skills children will need to learn and will require cuing to perform, which ones they are still developing and need reminders and practice to perform, and which they can securely demonstrate with fluidity.  As practicing Personal Space was a focus last week, maintaining safe space bubbles from neighbors during the moving Square Warm Up is challenging and will improve with cuing and practice.  Both are examples of a standard Kindergarten performance goal- maintaining safe space for practicing skills in place or while traveling.  Sideways shuffle to the left is a locomotor movement that many children are listening for my verbal cues, "Step, together, step, together" and focusing very hard to perform.  One of my goal is to provide all Kindergarteners with the cuing and practice to do this skill in both directions by the end of the school year.  

We reviewed Personal Space and performed exercises and stretches there:  Downward Dog, Table, V-stretch, Butterfly stretch, Jumping Jacks, Scissor Jumps and Criss-Cross Jumps.  We finished with Scarf Skills:  self-toss and catch, and imaginary painting letters in the alphabet.  Here are some pictures of children in Personal Space, practicing skills with a Hula Hoop or Scarf,

and leaving safe space during the Square Warm Up

Sept 6, 2014
Hooray!  Kindergarten PE is off and running!  My goals for our first lesson were to:  introduce myself and meet students, impress upon the kids the importance of wearing sneakers for PE day (Wednesday for 1/2 day Ks and Friday for All Day K), guiding them through movements that will be part of our Warm Up routine, and introducing the concept of Personal Space.  Personal Space, or self-space, is the bubble of space a child needs to move his or her body and use equipment safely, that is over arm's length from other children, walls or the curtain, or other equipment (like cones or racks).  We also practiced some traveling Locomotor Movements (hopping on one foot, jumping on two feet, galloping...) as well as Non-Locomotor Movements done in one spot (jumping jacks, tapping the toes of each foot, making circles with different body parts, and stretching).  We finished with practicing rotating a Hula Hoop around our waists.  I was impressed with children's openness to trying a new skill and flexibility about the color of hoop they got.  We're off to a great start in the gym!

Kudos to All Day K students (and parents) for having all students wearing sneakers for our first PE!  Thank you!

Aug, 2014  Check here for updates on what classes are learning and doing during Phys. Ed. (or P.E.) lessons every few weeks.  I am looking forward to meeting Merriam's new class of Kindergarteners!  We're going to have lots of fun together, moving our bodies and exploring lots of skills.