Archive for the ‘PE Lesson Plans’ Category


Awesome Activities for the Last PE Lesson of the School Year

Thursday, June 15th, 2017

gym teacher holds a basketball in front of his young students

PE classes are a great way to end the school year on a high note and get children in the habit of staying active over the summer.

As PE teachers already know, encouraging kids to stay active should entail a lot of fun. The key is creating activities that are physically demanding, while also being entertaining and engaging. Read on to discover exciting games that will make the end of the school year more of a celebration and less of a chore.

Scavenger Hunts

Armed with imagination, energetic workout routines and a few fun clues, students will be instantly inspired to embark on whatever adventure you choose to send them on. Students will learn the value of teamwork while cheering on teammates during challenges, and improve their cognitive and reasoning skills as they decipher clues to keep moving forward.

What You’ll Need:

  • Written clues to lead students to destinations where they will perform exercises (one for each student)
  • Exercise sets which have been carefully thought out and planned ahead of time (one for each student)
  • Colored markers that students will locate at their assigned tasks (one color for each team, one marker of that color for each team member)

How to Play:

Prior to starting the game, instructors hide the markers at each “challenge area.” At the start of gameplay, decide the order in which students will perform tasks. Give them the first exercise at their “home base,” such as 20 jumping jacks, and award them with their first clue. Students must then decipher the clue as a team. This will lead them to their first location, where they will hunt for their team’s colored marker.

 

Upon returning to the “homebase” with the marker, the next student performs the next set of exercises for the next clue. This is repeated until each student has had a turn, each clue has been given out and gameplay is concluded.

 

Dance Parties

It’s no secret that grade school children love to dance, but did you know that dance improves emotional and social skills, as well? Why not turn their favorite activity into a fun end-of-year extravaganza? Students will happily try out complex cardiovascular fitness routines when they’re having a blast. So, find some upbeat music and make it a memorable last day of class.

What You’ll Need:

  • A device with a speaker to play positive music which is suitable for school and ideal for dancing. You can even take music requests from students beforehand.
  • A few carefully choreographed, age-appropriate fitness routines. Modern dance crazes like the Cupid Shuffle, Whip/Nae Nae or the Cha-Cha Slide are easy to learn and probably already familiar to some students.

How to Play:

This activity is as simple as pressing play on a music device. Try adding a little extra difficulty by instructing the kids to freeze every time the music stops – it’s amazing how long a child can stand still for competitive reasons.

Old-Fashioned Field Games

Set up some Field Day favorites, like sack races and egg-and-spoon races. Have stations for kids to try all the activities and either keep score on teams, or just make it about having fun. The great thing about these games is that most students won’t know how to do them well, so it will be an even playing field for everyone.

What You’ll Need:

  • Potato sacks
  • Eggs or ping pong balls
  • Spoons
  • Any other items for your Field Day ideas

How to Play:

Decide which Field Day activities you want to include, and then go online to find out the official rules and supplies. Feel free to tweak the games to fit the children’s age or interests.

The last days of school should favor fun, and with these great PE activities your students are sure to start the summer with a smile. Check out our lesson plans for more PE inspiration.

How to Include Dance in Your Lesson Plan

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017

Children dancing

Just as with most sports, dance has many benefits beyond the physical. It has been shown to improve a child’s social and emotional skills, with teachers reporting that dance made their students more accepting of one another and respectful of their body and that of others. Dance is also a good means of fitness for children who may shy away from team sports, where coaches and competition can be a bit much to handle for younger students.  

With these benefits in mind, dance could be the perfect activity to incorporate into your next lesson plan.

Selecting the Style

 

From conga lines to square dancing to Irish jigs, there are so many types of dance you can use to inspire your lesson plan. The dance that works best for you will consider a number of factors, including the size of activity space and the age of your students.

For kindergarten to grade two, the best style of dance is one composed of simple movements. The teacher makes a series of individual body movements, such as touching his nose, then swaying his hips, then jumping in the air. Children are asked to mimic those movements while maintaining their personal space, an excellent way to teach simple choreography, coordination, and balance. Most movement is on the spot, so modeling can be done in a regular classroom or gym.

For primary school children, dances such as tap and jazz will build the strength and flexibility of students’ legs and feet, as well as introduce them to different types of music. Once students get older and are able to better memorize routines, ballroom, Latin, and faster jigs are ways to challenge students. These dances will require a larger activity space, such as a gymnasium.

Whatever the age of your students, make sure all lessons include a proper warmup and cool down!

Consider the Learning Objectives

 

It could be that you want to incorporate dance into your lesson plan because of its myriad of health and wellness benefits. While this may be true, have you considered the other learning objectives dance can help achieve?

Increased Coordination and Rhythm

Partner dances that incorporate extra movement are effective in increasing coordination and rhythm. For early primary students, dances like the Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride involve movements performed by individual children and performed with one another. Once the music is played, children are asked to time their claps and knuckle taps to the music, which will teach them to listen to the natural rhythm of a song.

Encouraging Creativity

Dance is an artistic expression of creativity. This is the case with any form of dance, but free-form interpretive is the best style to get students to move as they feel. While there are definitely nuances to contemporary interpretive dance, younger students can participate in this type of dance by simply moving along to a piece of music. Try an interpretive “free dance” session at the end of your class — let kids do what they want, and be amazed by the results!

Cultural Education

Almost every style of dance has its underpinnings in some historical and cultural context. For middle school and high school students, dance is an excellent way to complement history lessons, giving teens a less conventional look at the social and cultural side of a certain period.

For more inspiration and helpful instructional videos that will guide you every (dance) step of the way, pick up your SPARK dance DVD today!

What Activity Should You Add to Spice Up Your Lesson Plan? [QUIZ]

Thursday, February 16th, 2017

Don’t let your Physical Education routine become stale – take our quiz to shake things up for your students!

 

New Year, New PE Lesson Plans

Monday, January 9th, 2017

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The New Year is a great time to try new things. With people taking the time to reflect and set new personal and professional goals, why not also refresh your physical education lesson plans in order to keep kids engaged in the curriculum?

Luckily for physical education teachers, it’s often a bit easier to get students engaged in PE class than it is in a math or science classroom. Physical education already has a distinctive advantage: kids are moving, which makes them better learners. Research from leading institutions across America has found that when kids move, their cognitive skills increase and attitudes improve, which leads to better performance in PE class and in their academics overall.

Still, there’s always room for improvement — and here at SPARK, we’ve got you covered!

Re-Assess Your Lesson Plans

Any physical education teacher knows that a class requires more planning than simply tossing kids a ball and having them kick it around. Just as with other subject lesson plans, it’s important to take stock of what you’re trying to accomplish with an activity, and during the setup you need to do that.

Take a game of basketball. A classic PE activity, a teacher needs a number of class materials, such as a certain sized gymnasium with activity lines on the floor, and the right type of ball. A physical educator also needs to know the rules of play and a game time limit.

Perhaps the guidelines and materials listed above are all that’s currently written in your PE lesson plan. That’s a great start, but it’s not all you should include. This New Year, take the time to do a “content analysis” of your PE lesson plan where you consider the learning outcomes you want to accomplish from each activity.

Basketball has a number of learning outcomes for students: improved hand eye coordination; increased locomotor skills from movements such as running and jumping; and expanded teamwork and cooperation as they plan with their teammates and work together to win the game.

By determining the specific physical, social, and intellectual learning outcomes for each class, you’ll be better able to guide students towards meeting those goals. Not only that, but at a time when physical education classes are being cut across the country, it will be beneficial for you to provide very specific learning outcomes to administration so they’re sure to see the inherent value of PE class.

Introducing New Games

As well as determining learning outcomes for your existing activities, the New Year is also a good time to add completely new games to your lesson plan roster.

Introducing new games doesn’t mean tossing aside your existing lesson plans. Just as in a science class where students may learn about the parts of the body, then cell structure, then cell reproduction, physical education lesson plans should be all about building on existing learning. That means taking a classic game like basketball and mixing it up a bit!

Look at the activities that you currently incorporate into the curriculum and find some way to modify them. Or, do this in reverse: write a list of the learning outcomes you’d like to achieve from your PE curriculum and then develop activities to match those outcomes.

SPARK has various activity plans designed specifically for elementary, middle school, and high school students. Each plan comes with instructions, learning outcomes, assessment tools, and more, so you can focus on what’s most important: creating an engaging physical education class for your students.

Big Results in a Short Period of Time

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

New Research on SPARK Middle School PE program Published!

By: Paul Rosengard, SPARK Godfather

Did you know today’s SPARK’s Middle School Physical Education curriculum and teacher training program evolved from the three largest studies of MS PE ever conducted? It’s true. The three National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded research projects, M-SPAN (Middle School Physical Education and Nutrition), TAAG (Trial of Activity for Adolescent Girls), and The Healthy Study contributed to the exemplary and award-winning program being disseminated today.

While the last of these studies concluded in 2010, middle schools across the country have partnered with local universities to conduct ongoing tests of the SPARK program and better understand its effects on students and teachers.

One such effort titled, “Effect of the SPARK Program on Physical Activity, Cardiorespiratory Endurance, and Motivation in Middle School Students” was recently published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health*. Several significant takeaways from this paper:

Background: This study examined the effect of a 9-week SPARK Middle School Physical Education program on physical activity levels, cardio-fitness, and motivation of 174 sixth through eighth grade students from two urban, private schools in Salt Lake City, Utah. This intervention group (using SPARK MS PE) was compared to other students in the same grades and schools who continued with their usual physical education program (Controls – referred to in the paper as Traditional group).

Measures: To ascertain student activity levels, students wore high-quality, research-validated pedometers. To determine their levels of cardio-fitness, students were administered the PACER test. To assess students’ motivation and enjoyment of the SPARK activities, they completed questionnaires (Sport Enjoyment Scale).

Results: Despite the very short intervention timeline, students participating in SPARK Middle School PE were more active, increased their cardio-fitness scores, and showed they were more motivated by the SPARK lessons and enjoyed them more than their “usual/traditional” PE program.

Here’s one interesting quote from the paper:

“The results from this study indicate that there were increases in-class PA for both the SPARK and Traditional groups from pre-test to post-test. However, the SPARK group had statistically greater increases on in-class PA compared with the Traditional group in younger children. These results support that SPARK, as an established health-related PE program, was significantly more effective in increasing middle school students’ in-class PA levels than the Traditional program in younger children.”

SPARK wishes to thank the authors, the University of Utah, and the participating schools and teachers for their time and subsequent contribution to the scientific knowledge base.

If your school is conducting research using any components of any SPARK program, please let us know via email, spark@sparkpe.org.

Ready to bring SPARK Middle School Physical Education to your school?

  • Click here to download free sample SPARK Middle School PE Lesson Plans
  • Click here to shop for SPARK Middle School PE curriculum sets
  • Click here to request a proposal for the full SPARK Middle School PE program (professional development training, curriculum, and content-alighted equipment)

*Article citation:

Fu, Y., Gao, Z., Hannon, J.C., Burns, R.D., Brusseau, T.A. (2016). Effect of the SPARK Program on Physical Activity, Cardiorespiratory Endurance, and Motivation in Middle-School Students. Journal of Physical Activity and Health 13, 534-542.

Click here to access the research article.

What are The Components of a Successful Physical Education Lesson Plan?

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

A requirement for a successful physical education program is a strong foundation. The physical education lesson plan that you choose to include in your curriculum is one of the most important tools in your arsenal to help provide a well-rounded, engaging, and effective class. Choices for layout, focus, and supplies abound, but most all of them include a few primary factors.

physical education

Every great physical education curriculum brings in elements such as strength training, collaboration, cardio, and of course the element of fun.  Let’s take a look at how to get all of these elements into a lesson plan for each age group, and how to use national standards to help you do so.

Foundations for Each Age Bracket

Lesson plans can vary greatly depending on the audience. Students in each chapter of their education require work on different skill sets, and their interests diverge as well. Let’s take a look at some of the foundational items for elementary, middle school, and high school lesson plans.

Elementary

  • Focus on motor skills and coordination, and keep activities short and engaging

  • Promote personal responsibility, rules, and safety

  • Use collaboration and tandem exercises to increase confidence

Middle School

  • Focus on social confidence through cooperative group games

  • Promote individual confidence through goal-based activities

  • Begin introducing the foundations of strength training and an exercise routines

High School

  • Encourage students to find their interests through trial and error

  • Teach personal physical responsibility and how to incorporate exercise into daily life

  • Enhance foundations of strength training, stretching, and cardiovascular workouts

  • Promote the importance of sports that they can incorporate into their lives both today and well into the future

Supplies are also an important supporting tool in the creation of a great lesson plan. Balls, balance beam, mats, bean bags, hula hoops, climbing ropes, jump ropes, cones, and free weights can all help support and bring variety to any good curriculum. For programs needing financial assistance in buying physical education supplies, grants are available across the country.

Using the PECAT and HECAT

The Physical Education Curriculum Analysis Tool (PECAT based upon the NASPE national physical education standards, and the Health Education Curriculum Analysis Tool (HECAT), created by the CDC, can help you and your school district conduct a comprehensive self-assessment of your curriculum, ensuring that it is well-positioned for your particular students. The PECAT assesses:

  • How closely your curriculum aligns with national standards for high quality physical education programs

  • How well your content and student assessment corresponds to national standards for physical education for your grade level

  • How to identify revisions needed in district or individual school program curricula

Building Off Of Existing Resources

With a quick internet search, physical education lesson plans can be found from far and wide. But depending on your particular group of students and their accompanying school activities, it’s important to ensure that your plan is up to regulatory standards, and also dovetails neatly into after-school sports as well as the rest of the school curriculum.

Launched by the National Institutes of Health, SPARK PE provides new and innovative approaches to PE content, with lesson plans that have been tested in real world settings. Comprehensive lesson plans have been carefully created under the support of 20 years of ongoing research and field testing. Through the SPARK PE site you can find sample activity lesson plans for early childhood, the classroom, elementary, middle, and high school PE classes, as well as curriculums specially designed for after school activities.

Physical education is of growing interest in today’s population of expanding waistlines. The right curriculums help instill healthy habits that can follow children throughout their primary education all the way through adulthood.

How to Use SPARK Integrations

Friday, February 7th, 2014

If you are a SPARK physical activity or physical education program user, you’ve most likely heard about our fabulous, but not-yet-famous SPARK Integrations on the back side of each activity plan. Found next to the Extensions and just above the Tips and Pointers, these little nuggets are a not-so-hidden gem that can be used to help integrate other subject areas into your PA/PE program, or to infuse some wellness messages or physical activity elsewhere throughout the day. Each program has their own unique topics appropriate for the participants of that program.

  • Early Childhood integrations are all of the Academic persuasion and include Art, Literacy, Mathematics, Music, Nutrition, and Science.
  • After School integrations reinforce learning from the activity, increase MVPA (Moderate to Vigorous Physical Activity) at home, and coincide with the Think Abouts used at the end of the activity. They are all Home Plays, meaning they give information to kids to use in their home life and include Move More, Character Matters, Fitness Focus, and Food Facts integrations.
  • K-2 Physical Education features Academic, Home, and Wellness integrations.
  • 3-6 Physical Education includes Academic, Home, Wellness, and Fun Fact integrations.
  • Middle School Physical Education has Home, Wellness, Global, and Multicultural integrations.
  • High Schools Physical Education includes Home, Wellness, Global/Multicultural, and Sport Literacy integrations.

Please explain these!

Academic integrations link PE to the classroom and back. These range in subject matter from literacy to math to science. These are one of the many ways SPARK helps to address the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts and Mathematics (Examples: 3-6 Flying Disc: Corner to Corner Give and Go and EC Super Stunts: Animal Movements 1)

Home and Move More integrations promote physical activity at home with friends or family members. (Example: AS Cool Cooperatives: Kin-Ball Cooperative Golf)

Wellness integrations provide tips on nutrition, safety, health, etc. (Example: K-2 Catching and Throwing: Switcheroo)

Fun Facts are only found in the 3-6, but these are some doozies! They include an interesting short story or tall tale that you and your students will get a kick out of and share with others. They are connected to the activity by name or theme, but not necessarily by a straight line. (Example: 3-6 Soccer: Soccer Golf)

Multicultural connect activities to diverse cultures found locally and regionally. (Example: MS Dance: Create a Poco Loco)

Global connect activities and/or units to history, customs, and practices of countries around the world. (Example: MS Golf: Bocce Golf)

Sport Literacy integrations provide useful skill, strategy, or game regulation specifics that pertain to each unit. (Example: HS Badminton: Win the Point)

Character Matters help develop social skills and positive character traits like fair play, initiative, trust, etc. (Example: AS Cool Cooperatives: Hog Call)

Fitness Focus and Food Facts: I don’t think I need to describe these other than to let you know they are great! (Examples: link to AS Great Games: Builders/Bulldozers and AS Super Sports: Mini-Basketball

 

Sounds cool, but how am I going to use them?

Teachers of physical education and physical activity (PE Specialists, Classroom Teachers, Activity Leaders, Early Childhood Leaders, etc.) use the integrations in a variety of ways. Here are a few ideas:

Read during Warm-ups: As students/participants are warming up (e.g. during Perimeter Move) read the Integration aloud to set the stage for the activity to follow. This works best with the types of integrations that give information about that activity, like the Wellness, Multicultural and Global, Fun Fact, and Character Matters integrations.

As an Extension of the Activity: Many of the integrations are actually hidden extensions in that they change the way the activity is played and the focus has now been placed on something math, literacy, or science-related. These Academic Integrations (found in EC, K-2, and 3-6) can be used during the middle of the lesson as an extension to integrate these academic subjects INTO Physical Education. These vary from a quick science fact about aerobic capacity to a math extension that changes the focus of the game to utilize mathematical skills. (E.g. 3-6 Jump Rope: Jumping Color Tag)  When using any of these, it’s wise to check with the classroom teacher to see if the level of academics is appropriate for his/her class and to prepare for teaching the extension instead of the activity as written on the front page.

Read during Cool-down:  While students are cooling down (e.g. stretching) read the integration and discuss using pair/share. For example, after playing Durango Boot (AS Flying Disc) read the Character Matters integration and ask students to discuss the how competition motivated them in the game with a partner. Call upon 3 pairs to share what was discussed. This tends to work best with Home Plays, Move Mores (in AS), Character Matters (as a reflection on behavior during class) and Sport Literacy (to review rules/concepts learned during the lesson.)

Put on Bulletin Boards: Print copies of the integrations. (For MS they can be found on SPARKfamily.org under each unit’s instructional media in the Planning section, just below Unit Plans but all other programs they are on each activity’s backside.) Post the integrations for each week’s lessons so students can read throughout the week as they pass by. This use works best with all types of integrations except those providing an extension to the activity by changing the focus to something academic. Ask students questions about them during roll-call or warm-up to assess their learning. Reinforce students who respond appropriately.

Share with Classroom Teachers: It’s all great to integrate other topics into PE to help address Common Core State Standards, but what about a little reciprocity? To help integrate PE concepts into academic classes, share integrations with your classroom teachers. If you are a classroom teacher, they could be used as short physical activity breaks and an infusion of wellness facts throughout the day. The types of integrations that work best here are those pertaining to Wellness and any Home Play activities.

Use with the Little Ones: If you are a leader of a pre-school/early childhood program, there are a variety of ways you can use the integrations. They serve as academic enrichment tools for before, during and after a SPARK lesson. Use the Music integrations during circle time and the Art integrations during center time. E.g. “We made an umbrella with our parachute today. Can you draw an umbrella?”  (Example: EC Parachute Play: Umbrella)

An example of a Science integration is a discussion about baby animals in a SPARK activity called Guppies. Math integrations may include the concepts of shapes, counting, and grouping. Many of the Literacy integrations suggested in SPARK can be easily added to circle time because they prompt children to act out a story using a skill learned during movement time. All of the books suggested in the Literacy Integrations coordinate with the lessons and relate to one or more of the following themes: colors, language arts, mathematics, movement skills and knowledge, nutrition, personal development, science, self-image, and social development. (Example: EC Building Blocks: Creative Words and Movements)

The Early Childhood program also includes Family Fun activities (in the bottom left corner on the backside of activity plans) which serve as a type of Home Play to promote physical activity at home with their families.

 

Please share how you use them!

Have you been using integrations in these or other ways? If so, please share with us at SPARK. Email your ideas at spark@sparkpe.org. We’d love to share your best practices with the SPARK family!

Holiday-Themed Tag Games

Monday, December 9th, 2013

Here are four fun holiday-themed tag games submitted by teachers across the country – these games will get your kids moving and put everyone in the holiday spirit!

  • Grinch Tag
    • Santa’s helpers vs. the Grinch. Holiday hustle has new meaning!
    • Grades K-2

 

  • Turtle Dove Tag
    • Limited space movement break with a hungry Turtle Dove.
    • Grades K-3

 

 

  • Tree Topple Tag
    • Chop down your opponent trees before they chop yours!
    • Grades K-8

 

For more December holiday games, login to www.sparkfamily.org and click on December Games in the Quick Links section.

Not a SPARKfamily member?  Click Here to learn how to join.

Lesson Plan: 3-Catch Basketball

Monday, June 11th, 2012

Here’s a glimpse into what a SPARK lesson plan has to offer. We’ll look at one very popular game called 3-Catch Basketball, which is from the SPARK 3-6 PE Program. It’s a fantastic way to increase coordination and teach teamwork and strategy for elementary students.

Let’s huddle up. Here’s how to play:

What is 3-Catch Basketball?

  • The object of this game is to complete three passes in a row.
  • When a team successfully does this, they earn a point.
  • The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.

Set Up the Boundaries and Teams

  • Boundaries: Create square grids on the court that are 10 paces on all sides using cones or chalk. Six players will be assigned to each grid, so create as many grids as you need for your entire class. (For example, if your class has 18 students, create three grids. For 24 students, create four grids.)
  • Teams: Each grid is split into two teams; three students to a team. One team wears pinnies on top of their gym clothes; the other team wears their normal gym clothes only. The team with the pinnies is offense and begins the game with the basketball in their possession.

Rules

  • Since the team wearing pinnies is offense first, it is their mission to complete three passes in a row in the same direction.
    • If player A begins with the ball, she can pass to player B or player C. If player B gets the ball second, he must pass it to player C before passing it back to player A.
    • Players cannot switch places or hand the ball to their teammates.
  • Players can pivot, fake-pass and move to open space in order to pass and catch the ball, but they cannot dribble.
  • Once the offense completes three consecutive passes, that team scores a point and becomes the defense. The defense now takes control of the ball.
  • Defensive players must attempt to break up the passing of the offense by using their hands to intercept the ball.
  • If the ball is intercepted, dropped, or goes out of the grid, possession goes to the defense and the teams switch roles.

You’ll soon have a lot of action happening at one time, so keep the following pointers in mind.

Tips and Hints

  • Defensive players stay with the same offensive player (no ganging-up on one person), but can rotate at your discretion.
  • The defense must stay three feet away from the person with the ball.
  • Offensive players can only hold the ball for three seconds at most. If they fail to pass in time, the ball switches teams.

Does it all make sense so far? Once you’ve mastered the basics, let’s add some difficult challenges to the game plan and Spark it up!

Alternative Game Options

  • Endline. This game utilizes the same grid but the players are arranged differently. Instead of passing in a circle, the offense passes in a line. The offensive players begin on their own endline and advance the ball toward the opposing endline using passes only. When the ball is passed over the endline, a point is scored (similar to a touchdown in football). If the ball is dropped or intercepted, the defense takes over.
  • Endline with shot. This is the same as regular endline, but in the opposing end zone, an offensive player picks up a hoop while his or her teammate shoots the ball through the hoop. A missed shot means no points and the defense takes over.
  • Endline with post player. This game type gives the offense the advantage. A post player stands at the midpoint of the grid and doesn’t move. He or she can help the offense pass the ball but must stay in one place (like a post). This player is rotated after each score so everyone gets a chance to be the post player.

Regardless of the age of your students, they will find 3-Catch Basketball challenging and fast-paced. It’s a game where you can add all kinds of stipulations that increase the difficulty level as well, like restricting the offense to using only one kind of pass (a bounce pass, one-handed pass, two-handed pass, maybe even a behind-the-back pass) if your students show an exceptional aptitude for 3-Catch Basketball.

Best of all, it meets several standards set by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE):

  • Passing and catching
  • Offensive and defensive strategies
  • Cardiovascular fitness
  • Cooperation

Ready… set… play!

Click Here to download the complete 3-Catch Basketball lesson plan, or Click Here for more Elementary Physical Education sample lesson plans.