One of the hardest things about being an elementary PE teacher can be classroom management. Not only are students moving around the gym and using equipment, but you also have the noise and excitement of everything going on.
My first year of teaching, I left school every Friday with a horse voice. Talking all day was one thing, but talking loud in a gym setting was really starting to affect my quality of teaching because I couldn’t do it by the end of the week. I knew I had to change something because this wasn’t going to work.
My first attempt to solve the problem was blowing the whistle once and having everyone freeze where they were. How I thought it would look of me being in charge and everyone listening:
What my students really thought of it:
I never found success in doing this. Yes, we practiced it a thousand times, I was strict about it, and we would even would review it, but it just never caught on or seemed to work.
The Solution To The Problem!
The problem with blowing the whistle once is you sometimes the game is still going on, the music may still be playing, students can’t hear, etc. The solution to this PE management problem?! Blow the whistle 3 times and have students take a knee.
It’s that simple! I can’t emphasize enough how much this has changed my classroom management, dynamics of teaching, and transitions. It has also allowed me to save my voice! Every now and then I’ll still have a sore throat by the end of the week depending on the unit, but nowhere near what it used to be.
Taking It One Step Further
Now there two additions to this that I use everyday
- After I blow the whistle I start counting down from 5 on my hands up in the air (typically silently) by the time I get to 0, I expect everyone is on one knee. By this time everyone should be silent and ready to listen.
- If we’re using jump ropes, hula hoops, scooters, etc. and you blow the whistle then students have 5 seconds to take 3 steps away and take a knee. This way no one should be touching equipment and they can be focused on you!
Who Can You Use This With?
- With grades 1st-5th this works perfect! I’m sure it would be great for older grades as well. Be patient with 1st grade at the beginning of the year, but they will catch on
- I don’t use this with kindergarten, but I think you could! For my K students I like to keep things as simple as possible.