Scope & Sequence
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The SPARK 3-6 Physical Education Program is designed to encourage maximum participation during class time. Active participation and practice are the means for improving students' fitness, skills, and enjoyment.
SPARK Physical Education offers instruction and practice in a realistic number of diverse skills and activities appropriate for third through sixth grade children. The curriculum present a variety of standards-based and developmentally appropriate lessons that don't overwhelm students or teachers. Repetition within classes and units allows students to develop sufficient skills so they become comfortable with an activity.
SPARK includes only activities that can be realistically implemented in a variety of school settings, including those that have limited space, equipment, and supplies. SPARK activities have been tried and tested with intact third, fourth, fifth, and sixth grade classes. Only activities that are manageable in diverse settings and produce substantial opportunities for children to actively engage in moving and learning sport and dance skills are included. Inactive games and drills, as well as activities requiring specialized equipment (e.g., formal gymnastics) are excluded. The curriculum has been implemented successfully by both physical education specialist and classroom teachers.
SPARK emphasizes health-related fitness activities; however, it is also designed to reach other traditional physical education outcomes, including the attainment of motor skills, knowledges, and social values. The focus during class time, however, is on children being actively engaged. Rather than using valuable class time to disseminate fitness knowledge, this content is provided via SPARK Home Play activities and during the cool-down and closure segment of each lesson.
SPARK promotes quality, daily, physical education for ALL students. However, due to the time constraints of classroom teachers, and the reduced role of many physical education specialists, the SPARK yearly plan suggests the following minimum: three days a week, for at least thirty minutes a class, throughout the entire school year.
The SPARK 3-6 Physical Education curriculum consists of two activity themes:
Focus on Fitness - 10 units of instruction designed to develop and maintain the 5 components of health-related fitness: aerobic capacity, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, and body composition. SPARK Focus on Fitness activities "disguise fitness" so students play up a sweat, learn the components of fitness, and apply them in creative and enjoyable ways. Activities in this section have red page borders.
Spotlight on Skills - 12 instructional units designed to develop sport-specific skills, rhythmic competency, and social skills. In the sport-skill units, students practice basic skills and apply strategies during individual skill builders, partner challenges, and small-sided modified games. The Cooperatives unit strategically engages students in active challenges that require problem-solving, communication, and social values. The Dance unit consists of cultural dances, contemporary line dances, and traditional and non-traditional square dances, and creates a non-threatening instructional environment where all students can feel successful developing rhythmic competency. Activities throughout this section have blue page borders.
Equal time (or nearly equal time) is recommended for the two types, at least 15 minutes each during a lesson. Game play is regularly incorporated into each.
Warm-up and cool-down activities that require little explanation are integrated into the main lesson rather than being separate components. For example, children can warm up for a tag game by first using walking as the locomotor skill and then progress to running. In this manner, SPARK reduces both the number of different activities a teacher needs to plan, and the possibility of inactivity due to transitions. In the newest version (2007) of the SPARK 3-6, a new section called "ASAP" (Active Soon As Possible) has been included. This section is full of activities to help get students active from the get-go. They use little or no equipment, are fun and challenging, and promote health-related fitness.
The SPARK Program encourages positive interactions (i.e., "good sporting behavior") in all activities. SPARK encourages teachers to instruct activities from the Cooperatives section at the beginning of the school year and reinforce cooperative behavior throughout the year. Both good sporting behavior and skill performances are reinforced during classes; and games throughout the manual are modified to promote the development of positive interaction skills.
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