Rivendell Physical Education


We are taking advantage of the continued nice weather to play volleyball outdoors with Middle and Older Kids. We’ve practiced our serve, pass, set and spike.

Younger Kids and preschoolers worked indoors with a beach ball, learning proper technique to bump and set.

Fun Run and more

The Fun Run was a big success! The kids did a great job, everyone cheered, and the weather was nice and cool. Please remember to turn in your pledge money.

Preschoolers and younger kids have been working on all sorts of locomotor skills and movement: walking, shuffling, skipping, hopping, movements using the hands like a bear or crab. They get to use their imaginations acting like different animals and objects. How do you move like a cloud or a tumbleweed? We also include basic eye-hand coordination with throwing (both overhand and underhand) and catching objects. And we include the popular “Monster’s Closet” game where we learn about personal space. It can be tough to try and fit 18 monsters in a single tiny “closet” (hula hoop) a few feet across, but they sure did try!

Older and Middle Kids are working on eye-hand coordination by playing volleyball. We’ve introduced the pass (bump), set, and serve (again overhand and underhand). Next week we will get to the spike (or kill) and get to the rules of game play.

Fundamentals, ROOTS and running

The weather sure has cooperated with us for PE so far this fall. In fact, if anything it has been a little too warm! We’re looking forward to an actual autumn cool-off soon.

As always, we start off the year with fundamentals: good athletic stance, footwork, and basic catching and throwing skills.

We always review the ROOTS of sportsmanship: having respect for the Rules, the Officials, our Opponents, our Teammates and Ourselves. While we don’t emphasize competition, learning to win and lose gracefully is a big part of growing up.

Everyone is excited for the Fun Run coming up, our first ever in the fall. The 5th- and 6th-graders who are graduating will be able to use the fruits of their exertion!

I give them three “secrets” for the Fun Run when we practice:

  1. It’s not a race—do your best but don’t worry about other people. Someone who runs 3 laps can help the school just as much as someone who runs 30.
  2. Don’t stop moving! If you get tired, walk for a bit until you get some energy back, but keep going.
  3. Don’t start off too fast. Pace yourself, start strong but leave something for a finishing “kick” at the end.

Of course, “Have Fun!” goes without saying—it isn’t even a secret.

Who’s on First?

We started our unit on kickball by working on the basic skills of rolling (pitching) and kicking—it might seem easy, but often things are harder than they look. Rolling involves bending the knees to get the ball to ground level, taking a step towards your target and looking at the target for accuracy. Kicking, on the other hand, involves looking at the ball (not the target), keeping the feet loose, and taking a step towards the ball.

With the fundamentals down, we had to learn about the field, positions, running and fielding. After we learned about the various bases and positions, we were ready to enjoy the classic Abbot and Costello routine, “Who’s on First?”:

Everyone loved it, and now knows the answer to that particular question!

“Dem Bones…”

Lots of people make New Year’s resolutions to be more active and healthy, so January is a great time to do a unit on health and fitness.  We learn about various types of exercise that can help you be fit, balance and agility, and a little anatomy–names of major body parts (Preschool/Younger Kids) or major bones and muscles (Middle Kids/Older Kids). One activity I call “skeleton building”. We learn that bones are strong, light and made of rock! (Well, essentially–calcium is major component of limestone.) After doing various weight-bearing exercises that can help make bones stronger, kids can earn bricks to build a skeleton



We’ll also be learning more about the circulatory and respiratory systems, and cause and symptoms of a heart attack, and of course how to help prevent heart attacks with lots of healthy exercise.


We finished up the semester with a short unit on yoga. Not only do yoga poses require control, balance, flexibility and strength, but it can be a lot of fun. We do lots of animal poses, especially with the preschoolers and Younger Kids, that go along with stories and games that keep them engaged. For the Middle and Older Kids, we advance to partner poses as well as power yoga that can be quite difficult (a real challenge for those older boys and girls).

There’s also the added benefit of ending each session with relaxing poses where we get to listen to the music, rest and come out refreshed for the rest of the school day.


We were able to take advantage of some of the nice fall weather to play basketball. All age levels worked on fundamental skills of dribbling and shooting. Middle and Older kids also developed teamwork with passing skills, and learned the basic rules. We finished with a mini tournament, with 3 teams in each class playing each other round-robin.




When the weather didn’t cooperate, we played netball inside. Netball is a sport that isn’t very popular in the United States, but is played more in Europe and Asia. It involves passing and shooting, but no moving with the ball or dribbling (similar to Ultimate). That made it a great fit for the small space in our indoor gym. Believe it or not, netball has been around almost as long as basketball itself!


Being able to strike an object with another is an important skill in many sports: baseball & softball, hockey, and racquet sports. One of the most user-friendly striking sports to start out with is badminton. At least it seems that way when you’re playing it with your family at the park.

But did you know that the shuttlecock, or birdie, can travel over 200 miles per hour when hit by the world’s top players? Yikes! That’s as fast as a race car! Fortunately, with a lot of air drag from the feathers, the birdie slows down quickly. But it makes top-level badminton an incredibly quick sport.

We practiced serving, forehand and backhand strokes, and smashes, and the kids had a great time playing badminton… in fact, it was pretty good minton!

More Discs

Older Kids enjoy a game of Schtick, and younger kids play disc golf. One of the neat things about many disc sports is that, by tradition, there are no referees. Players are expected to show good sportsmanship and play by the rules without any outside help. It can be a great learning experience if there’s no teacher to rely on to settle disputes. With Older and Middle Kids we discuss ways we can respect the game and our ROOTS (Rules, Opponents, Officials, Teammates, and Self).

Double Disc Court

The Middle Kids really enjoyed playing Double Disc Court! It’s a simple, fun and fast-paced (almost frantically paced!) game. We did modify the rules a bit, with no zone between the two courts (they were adjacent) and discs out-of-bounds were simply out of play and had to be gotten and put back into play as quickly as possible (no point for the other team). Everyone got to catch & throw the disc and be involved in the team’s strategy.