Archive for the ‘SPARK Blog’ Category


iRun 201

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017

Happy high school student standing on track before big race

By: Dr. Derek J. Mohr & Dr. J. Scott Townsend, Appalachian State University

In our last blog, iRun 101, we outlined the scientific training principles, fitness guidelines, and training methods used to help students create individualized training programs, be active on a regular basis at an appropriate level, and achieve their personal fitness goals. Today we will extend the conversation, focusing on how the SPARK HS iRun unit specifically applies these principles, guidelines and methods.

101 Refresher

The SPARK iRun unit is a fitness-based unit designed to promote personal health, fitness and running performance. This unit challenges students to create a personalized aerobic training program based on their personal fitness level and goals.

iRun in SPARK High School PE

iRun is the latest SPARK HS PE program web unit and can accessed on SPARKfamily.com. iRun is considered a hybrid unit, combining aspects of both integrated fitness and games-based units in one. iRun is similar in structure to group fitness units (implements SPARK Fitness Instructor Certification and includes Basic Training and Create Your Own lesson formats) and uses lesson formats from games-based units (Personal Best, Fun-day-mentals Jigsaw, Adventure Race, Event). This unit draws on the best of both unit types to create an inspiring and supportive atmosphere where each student’s goal is to be their personal best.

iRun is comprised of user-friendly activity plans, instructional materials and assessments. iRun addresses SHAPE Standards 1-5.

1. Activity Plans

SPARK iRun Activity Plans follow a step-by-step process to ensure students and teachers are successful.

Step 1. Design – Students work individually or in similar fitness level groups to master aerobic training methods by creating personalized training programs to improve their current fitness levels.

Step 2. Practice & Refine – Students perform their personal workouts and adjust as necessary based on training principles and fitness guidelines.

Step 3. Compete – The unit culminates with a race (5k or other distance determined by teacher and students) where students are challenged to set and meet or beat their own personal goal time.

2. Instructional Materials

SPARK provides all necessary resources to support the successful implementation of activity plans.

  1. Content Cards – Defines components of health-related fitness, training methods and running form.
  2. Scorecards – Organizes multiple team scores and collects running times on one page.
  3. Workout Wristbands – Daily workout plan designed to be worn on student’s wrist, which provides quick and easy access to pacing information.
  4. Racing Bibs – Pre-made racing numbers for use in culminating event.

3. Authentic Assessment: Create a Program

In SPARK iRun, students are challenged to create a program that includes continuous, interval and circuit training workouts. Students create this personalized program by applying fundamentals mastered in basic training instruction. As part of the process, students practice, refine and, if they choose, lead classmates through their created workouts. iRun Create a Program focuses on SHAPE Standards 4 and 5.

iRun Teaching Tips

  • Utilize iRun Pace Chart to ensure accurate calculations as students develop workout pace.
  • Make sure students are racing the clock, not each other.
  • Encourage students to drink water before, during and after a run to ensure proper hydration.
  • Remind students to modify their programs as they become increasingly fit.

Get Equipped

Share Your Knowledge

Have you used a unit similar to iRun? What’s your experience? Any tips or hints you could share? Post a response below and let us know!

Current SPARKfamily members with High School access can find the new iRun unit under High School Web-Based Units. If you are not a current SPARKfamily member, you will receive 3-year access to the digital content when you purchase a SPARK High School curriculum set.

iRun 101

Tuesday, September 26th, 2017

High school athletes at starting line for track meet race

By: Dr. J. Scott Townsend & Dr. Derek J. Mohr, Appalachian State University

iRun 101 is the first installment of a two-part blog series highlighting the latest SPARK High School web-unit: iRun.

R.U.N. SHAPE?

SPARK HS’s newest web-only addition, iRun, is a fitness-based running unit designed to promote personal health, fitness and running performance. Regardless of your students’ current fitness levels, iRun will inspire and support each individual student on the pathway to personal success.

iRun takes scientific training principles, fitness guidelines, and training methods and makes them easy to understand so that students can create individualized training programs, be active on a regular basis at an appropriate level, and achieve their personal fitness goals. Read on to learn more about the foundational components of the iRun unit:

Training Principles

A system for developing long-term changes and improvements in fitness levels:

  • Overload – adding resistance or increasing difficulty
  • Progression – rate of overload, resistance or difficulty
  • Individuality – personalized goals
  • Specificity – align program and exercises to personalized goals
  • Reversibility – use it or lose it

FITT Guidelines

Recommendations for providing details to a program:

  • Frequency – how often to workout
  • Intensity – how hard to workout
  • Time – how long to workout
  • Type – which method of training to use

Aerobic Training Methods

The approaches for applying training principles and FITT guidelines:

  1. Continuous – single activity, moderate intensity, extended period of time with no rest.
  2. Interval – single activity, short bursts of high intensity alternated with brief rest periods.
  3. Circuit – a series of different activities performed at high intensity, brief rest at end of series.

Moving On!

Be on the lookout for the iRun 201 blog where we will look at the specifics of the SPARK HS iRun unit, illustrate strategies and identify resources to assist you in successfully implementing this unit in your own program.

Share Your Knowledge!

What are your experiences using aerobic conditioning programs? What advice would you give to someone who is planning to use this type program for the first time? Post a response below and let us know!

Current SPARKfamily members with High School access can find the new iRun unit under High School Web-Based Units. If you are not a current SPARKfamily member, you will receive 3-year access to the digital content when you purchase a SPARK High School curriculum set.

Does Your Physical Education Program Meet Federal Guidelines? [QUIZ]

Thursday, September 14th, 2017

Are you a witness to fitness at your school? Take our quiz to see if you clear the hurdle.

SportFIT 201

Monday, September 11th, 2017

Group of young girls spinning on bicycles in gym

By: Dr. Derek J. Mohr & Dr. J. Scott Townsend, Appalachian State University

Welcome back! In our last blog, SportFIT 101, we provided an overview of SportFIT, which is SPARK’s High School PE high intensity, sport-like training program located on SPARKfamily.com. In this blog, we will showcase the SportFIT unit by sharing resources and tips to help you successfully implement this unit in your own program.

SportFIT Unit Overview

To foster an experience that is authentic, personally meaningful and fun, the SportFIT unit is formatted like a season. The season sequence is outlined below:

Pre-Season

  • Personal Best: Presidential Youth Fitness Program health-related fitness pre-assessment
  • Fun-day-mentals Jigsaw: Students learn and teach each other functional fitness moves

In-Season

  • Basic Training: five lessons, each with exercises to master and a workout to perform
  • Create Your Own: Students design their own SportFIT workouts
  • Adventure Race: SportFIT teams cooperate to complete a series of fitness challenges

Post-Season

  • SPARK Event: Culminating experience designed to bring the unit to a festive end

SportFIT Resources

Like all SPARK HS units, SportFIT is comprised of user-friendly activity plans, instructional materials and assessments. SportFIT addresses SHAPE National PE Standards 1-5.

  1. Activity Plans

SPARK SportFIT Activity Plans follow a step-by-step process to ensure students and teachers are successful. For example, Basic Training Activity Plans include four steps:

Step 1. ASAP. Students begin the day by completing previously mastered functional fitness moves as an Active Soon As Possible warm-up.
Step 2. Basic Training. Students practice, master and assess one another on the day’s exercises.
Step 3. SportFIT Workout Challenge. Students complete a workout using one of three formats: How many? How fast? How heavy?

  1. Instructional Materials

SPARK provides all necessary resources to support the successful implementation of activity plans.

1. Content Cards. Provides pictures and cues for each exercise.
2. Practice Plans. Includes sequential learning tasks and teaching tips for student coaches.

  1. Authentic Assessment

Multiple authentic assessments are provided in the SportFIT unit. An example of one such assessment is the SportFIT Performance Log. As part of daily practice during Basic Training, students are challenged to master the assigned primary exercise (PX), using the log to evaluate form, safety and etiquette. In addition, students calculate an estimated 1-repetition maximum weight for the PX. This assessment process engages students and makes learning more personally meaningful.

SportFIT Teaching Tips

Use the tips below to promote movement competence and confidence in SportFIT, giving students yet another great option for leading an active lifestyle.

  • Maximize Activity. Avoid waiting time by staging teams at different exercise stations.
  • Safety is Critical! Monitor students at all times to ensure safety cues are followed.
  • Technique is Key! Require students to use lighter weights until they master technique.
  • Modify Exercises. Match activities to students’ fitness levels and increase difficulty as students progress.

Get Equipped

Share Your Knowledge

Have you taught a unit similar to SportFIT? What’s your experience? Any tips or hints you could share? Post a response below and let us know!

Current SPARKfamily members with High School access can find the new SportFIT unit under High School Web-Based Units. If you are not a current SPARKfamily member, you will receive 3-year access to the digital content when you purchase a SPARK High School curriculum set.

7 Tips for Getting the Most Out of a Small PE Class

Thursday, September 7th, 2017

small PE class

Managing a big PE class can be tough, but dealing with a smaller one presents its own unique set of obstacles. How do you scale down your lesson plan and adapt your approach if you find yourself teaching a divided class or move to a less-crowded school?

Fortunately, the challenges of lesson planning for a small PE class are greatly outweighed by the advantages for your students. Read on to discover why you should cherish a smaller class size, and how you can turn it to your advantage with exciting activities.

Small Classes, Big Benefits

A lower student-to-teacher ratio reduces the amount of class time lost to tasks like taking attendance and transitioning between activities, which can cost students as much as 21% of their in-class time.

With fewer classmates, each student gets more opportunities to practice activities and refine their skills, while spending less time standing around waiting for their next turn. The luxury of extra time with each student allows teachers to devote their energies to individualized instruction, enabling students to master skills faster and with reduced risk of injury.

If you’re used to teaching PE to larger classes, these 7 tips will help you ensure big fun with a small group:

1. Keep Up the Activities

 

Maximize time by getting your students involved in the traditionally non-active parts of the class. Try turning attendance into a challenge by asking students to jump on the spot until their names are called. You can also make setting up the next activity into a game of its own, so none of your PE lesson goes to waste.

2. Provide Personalized Instruction

 

A smaller class affords you more time to spend with each student. Consider assessing each child in advance to determine what they can do. This way, you can ensure personalized instruction, more suitable goals, and a better student-teacher relationship, which will boost engagement in PE classes.

3. Teach the Finer Points

 

Personal instruction is one of the best ways to teach mastery of a skill, while also encouraging kids to take responsibility for their own learning. Teach physical literacy and coach each student to fluency in a way that speaks to them as individuals. Not everyone needs to learn the same activity at the same time or pace – nor do they have to in a smaller and more flexible class.

4. Create Appropriate Teams

 

If your focus is on skill development, partner students of comparable abilities together so they can both learn from your feedback and coach each other. Shy students can be teamed up with consistent workout buddies to help them stay engaged and overcome any reluctance they might feel in a larger class. With a smaller class, you can get to know your students better and find out what works best for them.

5. Promote Cooperative Learning

 

Let your students work together to increase their self-confidence among other more specific skills. Simple games in which participants collaborate to accomplish tasks, like folding a tarp into various shapes, teach teamwork, cooperation, and problem-solving. What’s more, they’re ideal for smaller classes and limited space.

6. Scale Down Games

 

Many games designed for big groups can be easily pared down for smaller classes. Basketball, soccer, volleyball, and other sports are easily scalable and can take advantage of smaller spaces and limited equipment. Instead of defending two separate hoops or nets, for example, have both teams attempt to score on the same one. This turns a standard game into one of quick transition and possession.

7. Develop Knowledge Circuits

 

Set up a series of activity stations that each feature a unique task where movement to the next station is contingent on the completion of the objective. These stations can cover a variety of topics, including fitness, research, or skill development. Students can share knowledge and develop leadership skills, while helping one another complete the tasks as a group before advancing to the next challenge.

At SPARK, we work hard to create the best research-based physical education programs for kids from pre-K through grade 12. Discover our PE lesson plans for all ages and class sizes now.

SportFIT 101

Monday, September 4th, 2017

Three fit and beautiful young women lifting weights in a fitness club. Focus on the first girl in front.

By: Dr. J. Scott Townsend & Dr. Derek J. Mohr, Appalachian State University

SportFIT 101 is the first installment of a two-part blog series highlighting the latest SPARK High School web-unit: SportFIT.

Sport of Fitness

What would you get if you combined the best aspects of sport with the best aspects of fitness-based activities? You would get SportFIT!

SportFIT is SPARK’s high intensity, sport-like training program designed to improve each participant’s overall fitness. SportFIT relies on the unique characteristics of sport to motivate participants to fully engage in fitness-based activities, making the experience more authentic, personally meaningful and fun. For example, the SportFIT unit is configured like a sport season with pre- in- and post-phases, participants are called “athletes” and are part of a team, workouts are formatted as individualized, formal competitions, and the season ends with a festive culminating event to celebrate each athlete’s progress.

SportFIT Focus

In SportFIT, athletes address a wide range of fitness including:

  • Health-related: aerobic fitness, muscle endurance, strength and flexibility.
  • Skill-related: skill or task-specific fitness such as power, speed, balance, agility, etc.
  • Functional: daily-living fitness to perform activities like bending and lifting without fatigue.

SportFIT Workouts

Individualized workouts in SportFIT follow one of three formats:

  • How Many? A series of exercises is repeated as many times as possible in a set amount of time.
  • How Fast? Defined sets and reps of multiple exercises are completed as quickly as possible.
  • How Heavy? Defined sets and reps of one exercise using heaviest weight possible while maintaining proper form is completed.

Types of Exercises

SportFIT workouts include any or all of these types of exercises:

  • Cardio: performed for extended time; rope jump, running, cycling, rowing, etc.
  • Bodyweight: uses own weight for resistance; push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, lunges, etc.
  • Weight-based: uses equipment for resistance; kettlebells, medicine balls, dumbbells, etc.

Get Your FIT On!

Stay tuned for SportFIT 201, where we will showcase the SPARK HS SportFIT unit, sharing strategies and resources to help you successfully implement this unit in your own program.

Share Your Experience!

What are your experiences using or participating in the sport of fitness? What advice would you give to someone who is planning to implement this type of unit for the first time? Post a response below and let us know!

Current SPARKfamily members with High School access can find the new SportFIT unit under High School Web-Based Units. If you are not a current SPARKfamily member, you will receive 3-year access to the digital content when you purchase a SPARK High School curriculum set.

Developing a Learning Roadmap – What Is It and How Can It Help?

Thursday, August 31st, 2017

Teacher sitting in front of eager students

A learning roadmap is a corporate technique that’s becoming more and more popular in educational institutions.

In the corporate world, it refers to an individual plan for your career and professional development, and in schools it’s much the same. At its simplest, a roadmap will identify milestones that the district, school, educator, or individual student should achieve. Those milestones are broken down into clear steps and components to achieve those milestones.

The learning roadmap can be especially helpful for students and educators to navigate physical education together. But how do you create a learning roadmap, and more importantly, how will it help with your physical education classes?

Developing a Learning Roadmap

A good place to start when developing your learning roadmap is by unpacking the national standards for physical education. With this approach, you can identify the actions of the curriculum outcomes and break them down into smaller parts.

Breaking down each physical education goal into individual components can make it easier to track a student’s progress and to understand where they need to improve. You can even break the learning roadmaps down into visual rubrics that explain in detail what defines progress. This way, you and your students can clearly see the different levels of physical education activities and what is required for each one.

Turning Goals into Components

So, how might you break physical education activities down into clear and effective components?

If the curriculum requires students to participate in 60 minutes of daily exercise, they’ll have to learn how to exercise first. To begin with, they’ll need to learn the basics, from good posture, to running, to throwing. Then, they can mix these basic skills together into different movements or activities, like playing baseball or even a game of tag. Creating a roadmap will allow you to guide your students through this development and inspire your lesson plans along the way.

Another curriculum requirement might be that students showcase fitness literacy, the evidence of which being that they can “demonstrate, with teacher direction, the health-related fitness components.” You could break that down into a spectrum, from a level one student who “cannot list or define the components of fitness,” to a top-level student who “can list the components of fitness and can provide a basic definition of each.”

In this example, the priority becomes teaching the students the components of fitness and their definitions. It helps if you focus your lessons on these components to ensure students reach the overall objective of improved fitness literacy.

How a Learning Roadmap Helps

At the end of the day, a learning roadmap should help schools meet the needs of today’s physical education students and prepare them for their future. This planning tool can be used as a flexible, forward-thinking accompaniment to the traditional curriculum.

As a physical educator, building a learning roadmap will help you define goals for your students, which can be broken down into components that will shape your lesson plans. This will steadily improve students’ understanding of fitness, as well as their overall fitness literacy, ultimately empowering them to take control of their learning. After all, when students have something to work towards, they make more visible progress.

One of the more long-term benefits of adopting a learning roadmap is that students will be ready to bring those skills out of the classroom and into the real world when they graduate. In that sense, the technique comes full circle to the corporate world from where it originated!

Contact SPARK today to speak with our knowledgeable team about other physical education innovations you can incorporate into your classes.

 

7 Approaches to Physical Education Grading

Monday, August 28th, 2017

teacher grading his students work

Gone are the days of rope climbing, forced laps, and now dodgeball. Today, physical education is being used as a tool for students to understand, enjoy, improve, and maintain their fitness and well-being.

But, with such subjective goals, grading can pose a major issue. A lot of educators just don’t like grading; however, some are finding ways to use grades to teach students, rather than label them. The results ensure more flexibility and personalization, which in turn encourages growth and a more comprehensive view of physical education.

Here are 7 approaches to physical education grading that might help you at the end of next semester:

1. Make a Mission Statement

Just like any other goal, to achieve it, you have to set it.

Your department’s mission statement will become the backbone of your program, lessons and grading. It should cover what you do and why you do it. By creating a mission statement that is clear and concise, you have something tangible to share with your students to help them frame the work they’re doing – and the grades they’re receiving.

2. Communicate Objectives

Explaining grades to parents can be a nightmare. How do you provide the evidence behind the grading if there is none?

Try and break down the objectives of your lessons for students and parents, so they can see what exactly is being graded. After all, it’s not just “volleyball,” it’s “teamwork, coordination, strength, speed, and improvement over time.” If this is made clear, they’ll understand that’s what they’re being graded on and not just winning the match.

3. “Unpack” Your Goals

Work with students to “unpack” the curriculum.

Unpacking means taking each outcome and breaking it into smaller, more measurable objectives. Like the example above, “volleyball” can be broken down into several sub-skills, but those can be broken down even further. Coordination, for example, could cover things like proper posture, correct form, accurate hits, etc. Write these out and communicate them to your students for better results.

4. Modify Expectations

Everybody and every body is different, and physical education classes can emphasize this in ways that could embarrass or disadvantage many students.

It’s helpful to modify classes to accommodate students who are overweight, living with a physical disability, or simply uncomfortable with certain exercises. Create an and inclusive environment by adapting lessons and activities, it can improve participation and morale and lead to better overall outcomes.

5. Give Second Chances

If a student tests poorly the first time, try giving them a second chance. This lets you stick to the curriculum and apply the same expectations, but allows the student to learn from their mistakes and ultimately improve their grade.

Using a “request to retest form” puts the students in control of their performance and asks them to consider how they’ll improve before moving forward.

5. Mark for Improvement

Chances are there will be a huge gap between your most athletic students and your least athletic students.

Recognizing not just skill, but improvement over the course of the term, can illustrate more clearly how that student is doing. Whether you use National Standards or your state has its own standards, you’ll already be marking for both progress towards and the achievement of those standards. Now just make sure you’re weighting those two fairly.

6. Reflect

At the end of the day, grades are a part of teaching. They should inform students and their parents about how they are doing and help them move forward.

Grades alone can’t do that, but reflection on that grade can. Engage students in self-assessments following graded exercises like tests or exams, asking questions like, “How did you prepare? Were some parts easier than others? How do you think you could have improved?” This can help them plan for future tests to improve their grades.

You can’t escape the grading system no matter how much you dislike it, but you can make it work to your advantage. By communicating clearly with students and their parents, breaking down objectives, and taking a comprehensive approach to their physical education, you can make grades less of a label and more of a motivation.

Contact SPARK now to speak to our knowledgeable staff about more innovative ideas and expert advice for your PE lessons.

6 Tips for Helping Students Start Healthy Habits

Thursday, August 24th, 2017

Little girl eating snack at school

Building new habits is like learning to ride a bike. At first it can be frustrating and it might feel like you’re getting nowhere, but looking back years later, you realize how instinctive it’s become.

Just like riding a bike, healthy habits are a lot easier to master during the school years. And building a framework of healthy habits for young children isn’t just common sense – it’s also backed by science. Studies show that a child’s knowledge base is well developed by the time they’re four or five years old, and habits in children take root by the time they’re nine years old.

Fortunately, as a physical education teacher, you can help your students start healthy habits during this critical time. Read on for our 6 healthy-habit-boosting tips.

1. Build on Existing Habits

Integrating healthy activities into regular routines can help create habits. The school day is already based on a structured routine, giving you lots of opportunities to add in these so-called triggers.

Get your students into the habit of stretching for five minutes at the beginning of every PE class. They can also enjoy a piece of fruit or a vegetable snack and a glass of water at the end of each lesson to refuel. Try asking other teachers at your school if they’d be willing to incorporate these kind of triggers into their classes to promote healthy habits throughout the day.

2. Break Down Big Goals

Goals that are too broad quickly lose their appeal when the goal-setter feels like they’ve bitten off more than they can chew. Breaking overarching PE goals down into smaller, more attainable steps can help your students feel accomplished and keep them on track towards the larger goals.

Have them identify one big goal for the end of the year – getting stronger, for example – then break it down into smaller weekly goals, like running for 10 seconds longer or doing one more push-up. As they check off each individual goal, they’re one step – or push-up – closer to becoming stronger.

3. Leave Your Students Alone

Parents and caregivers often intervene in children’s activities because they don’t want to see their child do something incorrectly. Teachers are no exception to this tendency.

While you’re there to ensure your students are using proper form and staying on task, sometimes it’s just as important for them try physical activities without constantly being corrected. This helps children gain confidence and independence, so combine hands-on and hands-off teaching for the best results.

4. Lead by Example

Some say imitation is the highest form of flattery. It also happens to be one of the first and best ways children learn.

It’s essential to model the behavior you would like to see reflected in your students. Explain to them how you set and keep your own healthful goals, and show them with your actions. If you want them to eat healthier and get stronger, start by doing these things yourself. Join your students for a nutritious snack during recess, and get involved in some of the activities in your PE class.

5. Encourage Accountability

Receiving reinforcement is one of the best ways to stick to your goals.

As a PE teacher, chances are you’re one of the most reliable sources of accountability for your students when it comes to their healthy habits. Make sure to follow up with students to see how they’re doing with their PE targets and brainstorm ways to keep on track.

You can also get parents involved by having students share their goals with them. Set healthy homework assignments, or ask your students to come up with some simple exercises they can complete with their family.

6. Celebrate!

If your students are reaching their goals, it’s cause for celebration.

Acknowledging past victories can help people stay focused and driven. Try a rewards system of stickers or fun activities as your students check off their personal PE achievements. Recognizing hard work is one of the best ways to ensure your students keep up their healthy habits.

Contact SPARK today and speak with our knowledgeable team about how you can incorporate more healthy habits into your PE classes.

Up, Up, and Away! Superhero Lesson Plans

Monday, August 21st, 2017

superheros

If you can’t get your students into being more active, maybe Superman can!

If there’s one thing kids these days love, it’s superheroes. Even when you limit their screen time and they haven’t seen the movies, chances are they’ve still heard about Iron Man or Wonder Woman from one of their friends.

Fortunately, as a physical educator, you can harness this enthusiasm into some super lessons of your own.

Superhero Skills

Role playing in your class can be a great way to introduce younger students to basic fitness concepts and movements.

Start by having your students come up with their own superhero name based on a particular athletic skill like jumping, balancing or throwing. Suggest ideas based on the curriculum you are using, or find inspiration through other lesson plans for elementary-age students.

Next, have them invent a scenario where they need to use that skill. For example, maybe “Jumping Jane” needs to jump over a river to help her friend, or “Throwing Boy” needs to throw a life preserver to someone in the water. Help individual students perfect a signature move with your guidance for proper form.

Once their backstory is established, have each student share their superhero and their signature move with the class. At this point, all of your students should try out this move. Help them as needed to ensure they’re using proper form. You can even use the associated rubrics to score students based on this exercise.

Superhero Sounds

Boom! Pow! Zap!

Having students act out typical superhero sounds effects is another elementary-age technique that can be used alone or integrated into lesson plans like the one above.

Work with students to decide what physical movement each sound evokes: whether a big jump for “boom!”, a kickbox-style punch for “pow!”, or a double spin for “zap!” Decide on a series of sound actions and teach them to your whole class before integrating them into an exciting story. Your students have to act out each sound when they hear you say it.

Storytime just got a whole new twist!

Superhero Day

For older students, you can make a whole day out of superhero physical activities.

Try reframing the traditional track and field day as a superhero day. With a pinch of imagination and any middle school lesson plan, you can create a day-long mission requiring superheroes. Just make sure you relate the activities back to your school and district’s specific curriculum.

Start by setting the mood with superhero-themed teams and colored t-shirts to match. Divide the class into groups like the green Hulks, blue Wonder Kids, and red Iron People. Then, make a list of the skills and activities you’re due to complete and transform them into a day of superhero activities. You’ll turn traditional track and field on its head – superhero style!

A regular sprint and jump circuit fulfills National Standards elements of “running, jumping, analyzing and correcting movement errors” and “participation in physical activity, conditioning application.” But a Ninja Turtle circuit, where students sprint pizza boxes to their fellow “turtles” and jump over obstacles along the way, fulfills the fun requirements that National Standards might not cover.

It’s the perfect way to enjoy an entertaining, yet effective, day of physical education.

Superhero Sports

Every high school has a football team, but how many have an elite alien-neutralizing task force?

Something that works for K-12 students is turning their favorite sport into a superhero narrative.

Reimagining a football as an alien object that needs to be neutralized across the line adds an element of fun and imagination to a familiar game. Turning badminton rackets into Spider-Man’s extensions can do much the same. Take a look at some of the lesson plans for high school-age students that incorporate specific sports, and try to think of ways they can be reframed as superhero activities.

Just because students aren’t in elementary school anymore doesn’t mean they can’t use their imagination. Integrating imagination and creativity into physical education lesson plans at all levels has the potential to boost student participation and make physical education more fun.

But, at the end of the day, an educator who gets kids more involved in fitness is the real superhero!

Contact SPARK today to speak to our expert team about more lesson plans for your physical education classes.