It’s official, school is back in session and for the most part everything ran rather smoothly the first week. I had a lot of people ask what I did for my first lesson, so I thought I would write a post to share. I hope this is helpful in planning your first day of PE! 😄
Please keep in mind that everyone is in a different situation. Some of us are in person, some are hybrid, and some are 100% virtual. I know some districts are not allowed to use equipment at all, while others are allowed to use limited equipment.
For my district, we are in person with all of our K-5 students being back. We are allowed to use minimal equipment and it needs to be disinfected after every time it is used.
First Day Notes
Planning for the first day of school is already tough, but this year was even more of a challenge keeping in mind social distancing.
It’s definitely a busy lesson and is probably the only day in P.E. where I talk more than what we move around, but it’s important to establish your expectations, routines, etc. from the very beginning.
We cover a lot of information, but I always try to play a small game or two as well.
Once my class arrives, I do a quick introduction of myself for any new students, talk about a few things I did over the summer, and let some students share as well.
This is important! The first thing we talk about as a class is being good listeners. I can’t stress this enough and really like to overemphasize it. We talk about the better listeners we are, do we have more time to play or less? We also discuss how you can help others by reminding them nicely they should be listening if they are talking during directions.
Assigning Floor Spots
The only thing students will need to remember is their color and their number. This system will last all year and you will never have to put floor tape down again!
I use a grid system for grades 1st-5th.
Coming Into The Gym
My expectations are students walk in, if they have a jacket or anything that needs to be put on the steps they go ahead and do it, and then take a seat on their spot ready to learn.
Helpful hint: In my experience, if you let your students come running, yelling, and sliding into the gym you are starting your lesson off with uphill battle in terms of behavior.
Masks & Social Distancing
For my district and state regulations, here are the guidelines for masks and social distancing we are following:
When students are sitting at their spot and listening to directions then they must have their mask on
When students are participating in an aerobic activity then they are allowed to pull their mask down
The best way I’ve found to teach social distancing to elementary students is by having them spread their arms out. If a student can touch someone, then they are too close and need to spread apart. This has worked really well so far!
Here are my class rules that we discuss as a class. Please ignore the fact I misspelled expectations when I had it printed 😆
If you want more details on how I use a whistle to improve classroom management you can find it here: The Best Thing To Use To Improve Classroom Management In P.E.
I highly recommend using music in your class if you don’t already! It’s a great way to motivate students and it can be used for classroom management.
When the music starts that is when the game/activity starts, but when the music stops and you hear 3 whistles you have 5 seconds to take a knee.
Warm up for K-2: Traveling Around The Gym
Students work on traveling around the gym while staying on the lines of the gym floor while social distancing.
We always start with walking (this is a good listening exercise) and I tell students the floor is lava, so they will try to balance themselves on the line.
We end up progressing this activity to include walking backwards, shuffling, galloping, hopping, jumping, and skipping.
Warm up for 3-5: Locomotor Challenge
Have your students spread out down the out-of-bounds basketball line
I gave my students 4 rounds, but you can adjust it as needed
To start the round, give your students a locomotor movement for example skipping.
When the music starts, students will skip to the out-of-bounds line on the opposite side and will touch it with their foot. Once they touched the line they just scored 1 point for themselves. Students will then skip back and touch the line they started on. Once they do this, they now have 2 points. Students will continue for a designated time period for example a minute.
Have students keep track of their points.
For each round, provide a different locomotor movement for students to perform
As an incentive, I tell students to earn a bronze medal you need 10 points, a silver medal is 15 points, and a gold medal is 20 points.
Water & Bathroom Breaks
Have students return to their spot and help anyone who may have forgot
I don’t allow students to bring a water bottle because our classes only last 40 minutes and I’ve never had good luck with it. When I’ve tried it before, I dealt with a lot of behavior issues and water spills.
I always tell students to get a long drink before they come to class, and they should be set!
Students can use the bathroom as long as they ask first. I always encourage students to use it before they come that way they don’t miss out on any game time.
By this time I have about 10-15 minutes left of class
Game for grades K-1: Red, Green, Reverse
This is a simple and easy listening activity that will also get your students moving!
You will need a green piece of paper, a red piece of paper, and a sign with an arrow that says reverse.
-Have your students line up on one side of the gym and spread apart
-Hold onto your cards and stand in the middle out in front of them.
-When you show the green card, students will run forward, when you show the red card students will freeze, and when you show the reverse card students will begin backing up
I always start easy and then you can begin trying to trick students by saying one command, but showing them a different one.
You can also add the rule where if you don’t stop right away you must take 5 steps back.
Game for grades 2-5: Noodle Dance Tag
I got this game from Ben Landers and have slightly modified it over the last couple of years.
You will need a couple of long 6 foot pool noodles or 2 smaller noodles taped together
-Select 1 or 2 students to be taggers
-When the game starts, students will try to stay away from the taggers for as long as they can
-If a student is tagged, they turn into a dancing robot machine which means they can no longer move/run in the game, but have to start dancing right where they are
-Students have 3 dance moves to choose from:
-Dance move #1: baby finger fist pump – put your pointer finger up in the air and start bending it up and down like your fist pumping (this is normally for the students who start off pretty shy in the game and don’t want to dance)
-Dance move #2: party fist pump – put 2 fists into the air and start fist pumping to the music
-Dance move #3: create your own dance move – students can create their own dance moves to the music (most students end up doing this)
-If a student is tagged, they must keep dancing till the end of the round. Once the round is over, everyone is allowed to run again.
Teacher Tip: I always write a dance move hall of fame on the whiteboard and usually have a friendly competition between classes for who had the best dance moves 😎
The very last thing we talk about is lining up!
I tell my classes we should be able to line up in less than 60 seconds
Students line up by their row number by walking and standing on the black line
A new thing we have included this year is making sure to put your hand out to measure your distance before standing in your line spot. This helps spread students out accordingly.
If you haven’t already, please feel free to join my Facebook Group called The P.E. Lounge and be sure to check out my YouTube channel called PE With Mr G.