Fab 5® Activities

10 Tips for PE Summer Camps

10 Tips for PE Summer Camps

 

Create a safe, inclusive, well-organized, and fun summer camp experience for every student. With an incalculable number of games and activities, every individual can get active and interact with their peers. These tips are specifically designed to enhance the physical education experience of every participant all summer long! 

  1. Plan Dynamic Activities: Prepare a diverse range of physical activities that cater to different skill levels, interests, and abilities. Ensure you have all necessary equipment ready and in working condition.
  2. Promote Teamwork and Sportsmanship: Design activities that encourage teamwork, cooperation, and fair play. Students should foster a sense of community and mutual respect among students and staff.
  3. Encourage Inclusivity: Design activities that are accessible and enjoyable for all students, regardless of their physical and emotional abilities. Promote a culture of respect, kindness, trustworthiness.
  4. Be Flexible: Prepare to adapt activities based on weather conditions, student energy and interest levels, or other unforeseen circumstances. Flexibility is crucial to maintaining a positive and engaging summer camp experience.
  5. Prioritize Safety: Conduct safety checks of all sports equipment in all facilities. Train staff in first aid and educate them on emergency procedures specific to physical activities. Establish clear rules to reduce the risk of injuries and offer treatment if needed.
  6. Stay Organized: Maintain detailed records of student information, including medical histories, allergies, and emergency contacts. Checklists can help ensure all equipment is accounted for, activities run smoothly, and even allow an easy way to share plans.
  7. Conduct Pre-Camp Training: Provide comprehensive training for staff on proven instructional strategies, injury prevention, and effective communication with children and parents. All parties should know proper protocols.
  8. Effective Communication: Maintain clear and consistent communication with students, staff, and parents. Provide detailed information about daily schedules, activity rules, and emergency contact procedures so that everyone can be kept in the loop.
  9. Evaluate and Improve: Regularly ask feedback from students, parents, and fellow staff. Use this information to continuously improve your summer camp activities, organization, and overall experience.
  10. Make It Fun and Engaging: Create a positive and energetic atmosphere where students feel excited to participate and play. Incorporate games and challenges to keep the experience enjoyable and motivating.
     

Remember, the most important part of summer camp is for everyone to have fun! Students and staff should have an enjoyable experience making memories and staying active. There are many ways for everyone to participate safely, while engaging in exciting physical and educational activities that will help build healthy habits for life.

Posted in Fab 5® Activities

BLOG: You Don’t Have to Let Field Day Stress You Out!

By: Kristy Cobbs, 2021 INSHAPE Elementary PE Teacher of the Year

 

Planning a memorable and enjoyable field day can be daunting, but I’m here to help you make it easy breezy! I’m excited to share my expert tips and game recommendations to ensure your field day is a stress-free success!

 

  • Start early  

Set your date at the beginning of the year and put it on the master calendar. Advertise the date to the students’ parents in advance to ensure lots of volunteers. If you have difficulty getting volunteers, classroom teachers and aides can help run stations.

 

  • Stop worrying about structured timed rotations  

Instead, create 25-30 mini games and allow students to rotate freely in student-picked friend groups of about four to six. No competition, no keeping score and no sticking to a strict rotation schedule.  Just fun. See the list below for some of my favorites.

 

  • Keep a record

Make sure to save your list of activities each year along with a brief description of each.  Every year, add about five new activities and take out five older ones. Rotate old activities back in every few years. Students never get tired of the classics like the 3-legged race and tug-of-war.

 

  • Organize equipment ahead of time

Use cardboard boxes from the cafeteria to sort equipment according to the stations, making sure to include the activity description.  On the morning of the big day, grab the boxes and set up the stations.  Give the description write-ups to the parent volunteer so they know how to instruct the game.  

Optional Equipment:

PALOS™ Foldable Storage Baskets, Large

PALOS™ Foldable Game & Storage Baskets, Small

 

Some of my favorite Field Day activities.

 

  • Catch a Cannon Ball:  Using School Health PE Cannon Launchers, students take turns launching cannon balls to their partner.  Partners try to catch the cannon balls with a small bucket or with their hands.  

Optional Equipment:

o   The Zone™ Cannon Launchers

o   The Zone™ Buckets 

 

  • Ice Cream Scoop Relay: How about a “cold treat?” Students race back and forth trying to add scoops of ice cream to their cone.

Optional Equipment:

o   The Zone™ Ice Cream Scoop Relay

 

  • Tic Tac Toe: Zip tie nine hoops together forming a three-by-three grid.  Students take turns throwing discs or bean bags into the squares playing tic-tac-toe.  

Optional Equipment:

o   Deluxe Hoops 12-Pack

o   The Zone POWRDisc

o   Canvas Bean Bags

 

  • Water Balloon T-Ball:  Using batting tees and plastic bats, place water balloon on tee and have students hit it off. Watch out for the splash!

Optional Equipment:

o   The Zone™ Plastic Bat Set

o   Heavy Rubber Batting Tee

 

  • Junk in Your Trunk: Take empty tissue boxes and cut a slit in the ends near the base.  Slide belts through the slit. The Zone Super Straps work great. Add miscellaneous items like poker chips, dominoes, or plastic letters inside the tissue box.  Secure the tissue box to the student’s waist and then turn on some music and let them shake it out!

Optional Equipment:

o   The Zone™ Super Straps & Flags

 

  • Jenga®:  Create Jenga pieces with 12 pack soda sleeves.  Stuff sleeves with newspaper to add weight so they don’t blow away, then tape shut.  Use about 27-30 sleeves per game. Play Jenga as normal.

 

Bonus: Student Favorite!!

  • Belly Bumpers: Create a circle with cones.  Students climb into the belly bumpers and bump into other students trying to knock them out of the circle.

Optional Equipment:

o   Belly Bumpers

o   Standard Colored Half Cone Sets

 

I hope these tips help reduce your stress and help you have a successful Field Day!

Posted in Fab 5® Activities and The Whistle: PE Blog

Fun With Fractions

Set-up:

 

Fun with Fractions

A fun way to learn about fractions! 

Grade Level: 2-5

Equipment: 

Set-up #1 (for full class)

On one half of the gym, scatter the cut pool noodles. Choose 2 people to guard the noodles. Give every other student a Super Strap to wear. Set a timer for 3 minutes. how to play: When the teacher says go, all Super Strap wearers try to run to the other side and grab one noodle piece to bring back to their side, without losing their flag. You are not safe anywhere on that side of the gym.  Once you return back to your side, you put the noodle piece on the end line. You keep playing until the 3 minutes is up.  At that point, your team will add up the noodle pieces, stacking up the smaller pieces to equal 1. What is your grand total? Play again and beat that total. Choose new taggers (flag pullers). 

 

Set-up #2 (for 6 teams)

Put all the noodle pieces in the center circle. Put 6 hoops equally around the perimeter of the gym, and split the students onto teams. Choose one team to guard the circle and give them pinnies to wear. The taggers have to stay in the circle. Set a timer for 3 minutes. how to play: When the teacher says go, all flag belt wearers try to run to the circle and steal one piece of pool noodle to bring back to their hoop, without losing their flag. You are not safe in the circle, or even near it. If you can steal a piece, you bring it back to your hoop and go again. If you lose your flag, either before or after you steal a piece, you take it back, go back to your hoop, put it on, and try again. After 3 minutes, stop the game and ask the students to return to their hoop and add up their pieces. Stack them so they equal 1. What is your grand total? Whichever team has the most can be the next taggers.  variations: Travel to other side or circle using different locomotors.

Posted in Activities

BLOG: Getting Students Excited About Nutrition

BLOG: Getting Students Excited About Nutrition

 

It seems the sight of children running around a playground is few and far between. Tablets, television and video game consoles are the new slides and swings, and it is taking a toll on children’s eating habits and physical health.

The inactivity of children has turned childhood obesity into a global epidemic and according to Benioff Children’s Hospitals, media use has been identified as a main contributing factor. Studies from Benioff states children between 8 and 18 spend about 6 hours and 43 minutes a day on media devices. Limited physical activity is an obvious reason excessive screen time is unhealthy, but the ads that come with the media they are consuming can be harmful as well. Children’s media often contains ads for foods that mostly have high sugar and high fat content.

Getting children away from their tablet completely is a tough task, but being able to limit screen time by finding something more entertaining is a big first step, and that first step can be at school.

What a child replenishes with after physical activity is just as important as the activity itself. FamilyDoctor.org explains the lifestyle benefits for children that eat healthy as well as what these healthy habits can prevent.

As teachers, it is important to educate your students on the benefits of good nutrition, and work to introduce them to some healthy snacks. School Health provides numerous ways to educate children on what a balanced meal looks like. The MyPlate Real Plate is a teaching aid used at mealtimes to show food groups and portion sizes for each meal.

Helping your students understand what it takes to maintain a healthy lifestyle can be essential for their future and taking a fun and rewarding approach through games and engaging educational resources can make it easier for them to remember key components.

Posted in The Whistle: PE Blog

BLOG: Negative Effects of Fast Food

BLOG: Negative Effects of Fast Food

 

We all know that fast food is not a healthy option when deciding what to eat. There is plenty of well-researched evidence showing that regularly eating fast food can harm a person’s health. Eating a poor quality diet high in these types of foods is linked to a higher risk of obesity, depression, digestive issues, heart disease and stroke, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and early death.

People who eat fast food four or more times a week up their risk of dying from heart disease by 80%. Fast foods create a much higher risk of heart disease because of the high levels of saturated or trans fats found in much of the food. Those fats can clog the arteries and over time contribute to high cholesterol levels.

A well-balanced meal contains nutrients which are necessary for human development. Fast food lacks these essential nutrients which in turn is not giving your body what it needs to thrive.

The high calorie count and sugar levels associated with fast food contribute to increased weight gain. Even small amounts of fast food can increase your calorie intake considerably. When looking to lose weight, dropping fast food from your diet is an absolute must.

Type 2 Diabetes is another problem that can arise when consuming too much fast food. This is a chronic condition that affects the way the body processes blood sugar. Symptoms include increased thirst, frequent urination, hunger, fatigue, and blurred vision. A diet high in fast food along with an inactive lifestyle can put you on the fast track to diabetes.

Teaching students at an early age the benefits of eating healthy and avoiding fast food is a great way to lower our youth’s risk of obesity.

Here is a great resource for teaching students the importance of proper nutrition in a fun way.

The Zone™ Fast Food Foolery
Introduce proper nutrition concepts through active play.
Perfect for Health and Nutrition classes, or even as a quick “brain break.” Randomly chosen students begin the game holding one of the 3 included fast food components (cheeseburger, fries, drink). The remaining students try to avoid being tagged by the unhealthy food. If tagged, they must take the food component and try to get rid of it by tagging another student. Game teaches proper eating habits and spatial awareness. Includes: soft drink, loose fries/container, cheeseburger with bun and toppings. Meets national standards 1 – 5. Two or more sets recommended for large class sizes.

Posted in The Whistle: PE Blog

BLOG: Helping a PE Substitute Teacher Succeed

BLOG: Helping a PE Substitute Teacher Succeed

 

Substitute teachers are often at a disadvantage when walking into any classroom. It can be even more difficult for a PE teacher. There are no seating charts and, in many cases, very few ways to maintain control of an entire classroom of children no matter what their age. If you know you are going to have a substitute in your class, there are a few simple things you can do to make their job easier.

Announce to your class that there will be a substitute teacher instructing the class. Talk to your kids about the type of behavior you expect from them in your absence. Encourage them to be as helpful as possible by getting out any equipment that is needed and then helping to put things away when the class is over. Give extra credit points to those who go above and beyond to help the sub have a good day.

Leave your substitute teacher a note, welcoming them to the class and provide them with a list of other teachers they can look to if they need immediate assistance with the class. Let them know how much you appreciate their willingness to take over your duties and that you have informed the class to be on their best behavior. Lastly, include any information you feel may be beneficial that will make them look forward to meeting your students.

Have a clipboard ready with a list of the student’s in each class and a few game ideas. If the substitute is confident with teaching an actual class, lay out the lesson for the day and add any notes that will be useful. Many classes have student helpers that are chosen on a day to day basis. If you have a helper, create a list for them as well. They can work with the teacher by answering questions about the class or making sure all of the class goals are accomplished for the day.

If you can meet with the substitute teacher at least once before they teach your class. In some cases, this won’t be possible, but if your substitute will be assuming your duties for longer than two or three days, meeting with them will be extremely helpful. You will be able to answer any questions they may have and allow them to get a feel for your teaching style. If they can visit your class during school, it will allow the students to meet them prior to them taking over the class. This way, there will be no surprises and the kids will already know who will be waiting for them in class.

It’s important to remember that not all substitute teachers know the rules of certain games or sports so asking them to teach a lesson in basketball or another sport will be difficult. Make sure to provide them with activities they are able to teach with confidence. Depending on their level of experience, they may be a little nervous teaching a PE class simply because it is taught differently than other academic classes. Include instructions for simple games and divide the students into smaller groups so they are easier to manage.

No one wants to miss a day of teaching but when it happens, you need to make sure your students are properly taken care of. Leave as many notes as you feel comfortable with. If it makes you feel better, call the school and talk to the substitute at lunchtime. Find out how they are doing and if they have any questions or concerns. Keep the lines of communication open and let your substitute know they can count on you or other faculty if help is needed.

Posted in The Whistle: PE Blog

BLOG: Tips to Win Over Your Students

BLOG: Tips to Win Over Your Students

 

By: Kelly Zerby

It’s time to go back to school, are you ready?  Whether you are going back to the same school you have been in for many years, or if you are starting at a new place, you need to start the new year off on the right foot with your students.  Here are a few suggestions for you.

Smile and Stay Positive

Set a welcoming tone for your students.  Greet them on the playground and tell them you are happy to see them.  They are nervous coming back to school after having been gone for 2 months.  They are going to be so excited to see a familiar and welcoming face. 


Set Routines

Children thrive on routine, and teachers do too.  Once you set it up, and keep it consistent, things will fall into place.  For example, my students do instant activities when they enter the gym most days.  During the first few times the students come to PE class with me, I teach them all the instant activities, and we practice them.  Then as the weeks continue, when they enter PE, they know all the activities. 


Give respect, get respect

You have to set up an atmosphere of respect in your gymnasium.  My students know I care about them and want them to learn. I make sure they make decisions about what they want to learn and how they want to learn it.  If I see a student in distress, I make sure to have a one on one conversation. I also feel it’s important that your students know you are human too. I often tell them stories from when I was a kid, or when I was a high school athlete.  My students are always eager to learn more about me, and tend to listen better because I am human, not just a teacher to them.


Remember, things take time.

Whatever the case may be, remember that back to school procedures takes time.  The students need to be re-taught all the school expectations and they need to practice them.  It may seem tedious, but if you are structured and consistent, your students will learn and follow the routines.  

Try something new. 

As teachers we should always be looking to change for the better. Challenge yourself to improve in one or more areas. Reflect on last year or previous years and ask yourself what can I make better? Ask for feedback from colleagues in and out of your building. Talk to other professionals via Twitter or other means. The changes may be small but the impact may be huge. Think outside the box and be brave enough to try that new idea. 

Posted in The Whistle: PE Blog

BLOG: Building Strength and Character Through Sportsmanship and Encouragement

BLOG: Building Strength and Character Through Sportsmanship and Encouragement

 

Sportsmanship is a learned trait. While many athletes are naturally gracious, no one likes to lose. With that being said, much of the behavior they exhibit on the field are learned traits that they pick up from their peers and their parents. Competition is a good thing when it is used as a motivator to encourage student-athletes to do their very best.

It can be extremely challenging when it gets taken to the extreme and a win must be achieved no matter what the cost. As an educator, it’s up to you to teach your students the true value of sportsmanship and that even a loss can result in a victory if you learn something in the process.

Strength and Power Are Two Different Things

Even incredibly weak people have the power to say the most hurtful things. They may be strong when it comes to physical strength, but if their strength isn’t supported by compassion their words can be incredibly damaging. When training your students, remember to strengthen their minds as well as their bodies. Encouragement is something that can be passed on. While you are encouraging them to improve, remind them to encourage others. Supporting others who may be struggling is not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of character and it works to strengthen the group as a whole.

It Takes Two

Many student-athletes are so driven by the need to win that they forget the value of their opponent. Without someone to compete against, there would be no victory of any kind. It’s important that you remind your athletes that the true value of any competition shouldn’t be weighed only by who won or lost. It should be weighed by the value of the teams and the players who make up the field. Any championship team can struggle and falter, but it’s in how they recover that their value and worth is shown. After losing a game, it isn’t the winner’s value that increases. The sportsmanship qualities both teams exhibit to one another makes sure both teams share the value. One in lessons learned that will allow them to improve and the other in respecting their opponent.


Lessons Learned from Loss

A team can lose and only lay the blame at the feet of others, or they can look at their level of play. What could they have done better? Was someone just not on their game? Did everyone work together as a team? The only loser is a team that doesn’t take the loss as an opportunity for growth. A true sportsman is one who accepts the loss and then commits to doing better the next time. Congratulating the other team and sharing your support for their hard-earned win is what will make both teams stand out to others. Each student-athlete will look at loss differently. It’s up to you as an educator to help them realize how important it is to support and respect others, no matter who wins or loses.

It’s All About Respect

Whether it is as a member of a team or an individual competitor, each athlete is responsible for their own behavior and their own level of play. Winning may be the desired goal, but a loss will eventually occur. The athlete’s character will be determined by how he or she reacts to not just losing, but winning as well. An athlete who respects his or her opponent will be gracious no matter the outcome. Belittling an opponent who has lost a competition does not make them a better winner. It actually detracts from their character. As a teacher, it should always be your goal to encourage your students to be respectful both on the field and off. Building character starts with teaching your athletes respect in all situations. Win or lose, it’s their character and sportsmanship that will define them as a model athlete.

Whether a student has natural athletic ability or not, when they enter a physical education class it is up to the teacher to educate them on the importance of good sportsmanship. Teach them to encourage and appreciate one another, no matter what their skill level, and you will eventually begin to see the better athletes stopping to encourage those who are struggling. Teach respect and sportsmanship will follow closely behind. The result will be a student-athlete with a strong character who understands that even a loss can be counted as a small victory towards improvement.

Posted in The Whistle: PE Blog

BLOG: How Smartphones and Social Media are Affecting Students

BLOG: How Smartphones and Social Media are Affecting children


We know smartphones are a large distraction in the classroom, but the psychological toll that these devices have on our youth is a growing problem that can have dire consequences on a child’s mental health.

When students were surveyed asking if they felt obligated to constantly be on social media
most agreed they did. They felt they needed to keep up with their friends and what they were doing.

With constant posts, pictures, check-ins and stories being posted to social media, it paints a picture of perfect and happy lives. But, we know no one has the “perfect life” and we know everyone struggles with their own unique ups and downs, –but “the downs” are never broadcasted on the internet, giving the illusion that not everyone is struggling. “What is wrong with me?” one might ask. “I am struggling and it seems no one else is. Everyone else is active and happy and always enjoying life.”

Are students jumping on social media with the intent of comparing their lives to others? Are they trying to find a way to feel bad about themselves? Probably not. But, it’s human nature to compare. We place value on the cool stuff we have, the awesome things we’re doing, and the amazing places we’re going. We feel obligated to show our “friends” the positive aspects of our lives while simply leaving out the negative.

So here leaves our students…absorbing all this “information”. Making them constantly question if they are good enough. Thoughts like these are easily brewed into feelings of anxiety and depression.

 

Studies have found over 70% of teens feel anxious or depressed due to smartphones. While older students have reported they realize they need a break from social media and will delete apps or shut off their phones, younger students need help taking these breaks. Some schools have taken up banning cell phones on campus but many find it hard to do so. Often assignments and grades are posted online so students are constantly checking into them. While online they find it too tempting not to respond to the dozens of messages they have received. Having so much new information popping up, they feel pressured into addressing every single one. It’s addicting in a way. Once you look at one message you feel guilty not reading the other ones.

In order to help young students from becoming too caught up and overwhelmed by smartphones and social media, many parents are agreeing to hold off on the purchase of cellphones until their children are at least in 8th grade in a movement called ‘Wait until 8th’. This program ensures the majority of children in your child’s grade will not have smartphones so no one feels left out. This is a small step forward in preventing students from becoming overcome by the social media craze at such an early age…and hopefully keeping our student’s mental health in check a little longer.

Posted in The Whistle: PE Blog

BLOG: At-Risk Students: How to Spot Them, and What to Do

BLOG: At-Risk Students: How to Spot Them, and What to Do

“At-risk students” is a catchphrase that gets thrown around without much explanation. “At risk” of what, exactly?

The term is usually used to describe students in danger of failing or dropping out of school. While there can be a correlation, this is different from the possibility of substance abuse, criminality, or victimization. 

What does “at-risk” look like? Here are three major signs to watch out for as a P.E. teacher.

1. POOR GRADES.

P.E. teachers may not know their students’ math or English scores. Those scores could become very relevant, though, if you are about to lose a star athlete due to low grades. 

We walk a fine line here. We don’t want to present the impression that we only care about those grades to protect our lineup or a shot at a championship. Remember, character counts on any team. A student-athlete who is academically failing may feel “stupid” and not have the strategies to tackle a challenging subject.

Conversely, a pupil who performs poorly in P.E. may just not like P.E. Consider other approaches to motivating such a student. However, you may want to have a conversation with the student’s other teachers and see if the poor performance is reflected across the board. A student might avoid talking to a math teacher about being “bad at math.” He or she might open up to “Coach” about it, though.

2. ABSENTEEISM. 

You might not notice a student’s poor math scores. It is a lot easier to notice, however, if a student is not showing up at all. Absenteeism is a warning sign for numerous risk factors that could imperil the student’s prospects.

Take attendance seriously. A student might consider P.E. a “throwaway” class, easy to justify cutting. Make it clear that you disagree. P.E. class is valuable and you hold your students to high standards. They can meet those standards by showing up and doing their best. 

3. DISRUPTIVE BEHAVIOR. 

P.E. teachers have a unique perspective on who the disruptive students are. You may be in a position to observe bullying or antisocial behavior. Students may try to “disappear” from P.E. class to engage in risky behavior. A student may get into fights easily, especially if his or her adrenaline is up from a sporting activity. He or she may have difficulty following rules or demonstrate disrespect for authority. 

WHAT DO I DO IF I SUSPECT A STUDENT IS AT RISK?

As teachers, we are committed to every student’s success. If a student demonstrates signs of academic failure, we owe it to him or her to intervene. A one-on-one conversation showing that you care may be all it takes. You might be able to provide a sounding board, model coping strategies, or refer the student to counseling services.

If a student resists, a call to the parents might be warranted. Try not to pre-judge — just make contact. Can you be of any help? The parents might be surprised to learn of their child’s risk profile and may take steps to correct course. Run it by a trusted administrator if you are unsure of your footing.

You may discover a home environment that does not value education. It might be appropriate to take a more involved role to get an at-risk student back on track. Consider alternate study schedules and partnerships with high-performing students they respect.

Many young people crave mentorship from an attentive adult. As a P.E. teacher, you are in pole position to offer this. While it can be fun to focus on successful students, helping at-risk students find their feet will be a source of great satisfaction throughout your career.

Posted in The Whistle: PE Blog