Run, run, run! The kids are preparing for the Fun Run on September 28. We have three "secrets": One, it's not a race... you can help the school just as much doing two laps as doing 20. Run at your own pace. Two, don't start off too fast! Save some energy for the end so you have a good "finishing kick". And three, whatever you do, keep moving! Walk if you need a rest, but even going slowly will eventually get you where you want to go. I think that's good advice for lots of things!
Sportsmanship is always important, win or lose. A great resource for parents and coaches is the Positive Coaching Alliance, an organization that seeks to develop better athletes and better people through sports. If you coach, I highly recommend the Double Goal Coach certification: one goal is winning, but the second is developing character and sportsmanship.
PCA wants athletes to respect their ROOTS: Rules, Officials, Opponents, Teammates and Self. In Middle and Older Kids, we discuss ways you can show this respect and good sportsmanship.
We’ve done a lot in PE this year: learning athletic fundamentals, the Fun Run, flying disc games, three different kinds of football (soccer, rugby and American), learning about nutrition, yoga, teamwork and sportsmanship, track and field. Whew! It makes me tired just thinking about all of it.
The end of the year brings out the classics: jump ropes, capture the flag, and the parachute. These are always big favorites!
The end of the year also brings around the Poudre District track meet for Older Kids. Unfortunately due to rainouts, it got rescheduled right on top of our Spring Program, but a few kids were able to get to their events and be awesome! Congrats to our Rivendell kids who got to compete.
I hope everyone has a great and active summer!
Every spring we set the clocks forward, and at Rivendell we jump forward—literally! It’s always time for our track and field unit after spring break, and the long jump is one of the events on the program.
We cover basic sprinting and distance running technique, and run sprints of 50, 75 and 100m. Then we learn the long jump and triple jump. Throwing events include the softball throw and experiencing the shot put (MK and OK, using a student-size 6-pound shot). We do some distance running and might even experiment with race walking! The relays are always popular, from preschool on up to Older Kids.
Older Kids even get the chance to participate in the Poudre School District elementary track meet if they want by qualifying in our own mini-meet here at school. Let the games begin!
Many physical skills can be difficult to learn, but teamwork skills can be just as important. Teams perform better when everyone is working towards a common goal and respecting what each member has to offer. Teamwork requires communication skills, positive attitude and respect.
We spent several weeks on cooperative team-building games. Rather than competing against others, the objective was to complete a task together (regardless of what another group might be doing).
Games ranged from the Human Knot game to Nuclear Waste Transfer to various parachute games, the activities challenged the students to work together. That’s a vital skill for far more than just PE class!
You wouldn’t think that circus-performer skills would be valuable for everyday life. But balance and eye-hand coordination certainly are! Two fun activities that develop these skills are the “Double Balance Challenge” and juggling.
In the Double Balance Challenge, students have to balance stacks of foam bricks they are holding while simultaneously balancing themselves on a beam. This kind of challenge adjusts nicely to the level of the individual student, who can vary the stack of bricks and which balance beam they use (we had several of varying widths).
Juggling is a skill that looks really difficult, but I learned how to juggle as a kid and I think anyone can do it. Even preschoolers can get scarves to float in the air! Once a student understands the basic pattern, it just takes practice. It is always exciting to see a student who thought they couldn’t do it start to get it!
We kicked off the new year with a unit on yoga. While there are lots of varieties of yoga, we are focusing on two main aspects. Poses can require balance, flexibility, strength and body awareness–things that are valuable in many other sports and activities too. Breathing and control are also important, making sure you can be balanced and strong yet still relaxed. Our unit included fun partner poses and even some yoga-inspired games.
You are what you eat, or so they say. We finished up the first semester with a unit on nutrition. The emphasis was on understanding what is in your food, and how to make reasonable choices. No particular food is “bad” or “good”, but we want to choose foods that have a good balance of nutrients to keep us going. For preschool and younger kids, it can be as simple as “eat a rainbow”: having a colorful plate, with bright green, red, orange, yellow, purple brown and white will include lots of nutritious food. Middle and Older Kids learn more about food groups, vitamins and minerals, and how to read labels to make informed choices.
We have moved from soccer to rubgy and now on to American football. Preschool and Younger Kids are learning the basic skills like kicking, running and throwing used in the various codes of football. Middle and Older Kids have been learning about how and why rules changed for enjoyment, excitement, fairness, and, yes, safety.
People think of rugby and American football as rough, physical sports. They always have been, and at older and higher levels of play, they certainly are. Here at Rivendell, though, safety is paramount, so we play flag versions of both sports. Players are downed by having their flag belt pulled, and opponents must stay on their feet and use care when tackling (running into, pushing or grabbing a player while trying to pull a flag is a penalty).
Dodging and weaving skills are important for all kinds of sports and activities, not just physical agility but vision and awareness of space to avoid collisions. All classes from preschool up get practice with this, starting with basic tag games and progressing to the flag football and flag rugby enjoyed by the Older and Middle Kids.
The objective is to learn the skills, rules, and history of the games—some of the most popular sports in the world—in a safe and fun way.
Bad weather often forces us inside (I’m the only teacher who has to change their lesson plan based on the forecast!).
We have to be creative inside. Middle and Older kids were supposed to learn how to do a rugby scrummage (or scrum). We at least got to practice it indoors. The front line players have to bind together with their arms, then engage with the opponent’s line. One team puts the ball into the scrum, which is “hooked” out by the feet.
In actual rubgy, the two teams push mightily against each other to get an advantage and either team can get the ball. As you might imagine, the scrum can be quite a rough place. We use an uncontested scrum, where there is no pushing, and only the team that puts the ball in can hook it out.
Another bad-weather activity is bean-bag horseshoes. This works on throwing skills. Bean bags tossed that land completely inside the hoop for a “ringer” are worth three points, touching the hoop is worth two, and the bean bag outside but closest to the hoop gets one point.