Did you know SHAPE America’s National Physical Education and Sport Week is May 1-7? The month of May is also National Physical Fitness and Sports Month. This special week is a great time to encourage both children and adults to try new activities in physical education and raise awareness about the importance of being active. PE teacher Justin Cahill shares a few great activities that he uses in his class that combine cooperation, fitness, and a touch of friendly competition.
Cooperative Kickball with Aerobic Steps to Maximize Movement
My students love this cooperative activity based on a game called Alaskan Kickball.
The kicking team lines up on the sideline, much like they would in a baseball or softball game. The difference is each kicker has a 6” aerobic step. Rather than simply standing while waiting for a turn to kick, each offensive player must perform step-ups or jump-ups on his aerobic step. Each student can choose his own pace.
The ball is placed on home plate. The kicker kicks the ball in any direction. Instead of running bases, the kicker must run along the first baseline to retrieve a small plastic ball from a bucket. He returns the ball to a second bucket placed near home plate. The kicker continues to retrieve balls, one at a time, until the fielding team records an out.
Once the ball is kicked, a defender quickly fields the ball. The rest of the fielding team must immediately file behind the player with the ball. As the line is taking shape, players pass the ball in an over and under pattern (over the first player’s head, under the legs of the second player, etc.). Each defender MUST touch the ball. When the ball reaches the last person in line, the kicker is out. If the kicker is holding a ball when the out is recorded, it is counted toward the score.
Once the entire kicking team has kicked, both teams switch roles. The kicking team’s points are tallied and the balls are returned to the original bucket.
This is a quick and active game combining competition, fitness, cooperation, and fun!
Pivot, Pass, and Catch Relay
This is another cooperative activity combining passing and catching skills with fitness to increase heart rates.
Organize students in teams of 5-7. Each team member is spaced out evenly in a straight line. I use poly spots to mark each space. The distance between each spot is based on the grade level. The first student in each line begins with a ball. On the first whistle each student, except the one with the ball, begins to perform an exercise. I often choose jumping jacks or squats. On the second whistle, the relay begins. The first person passes the ball to the second. The second passes to the third. This continues until the ball makes its way to the last person. When the last person receives the ball, they sprint to the front of the line while the rest of the group moves back one spot. The relay continues for two minutes. One point is scored each time the last student sprints to the front of the line. Students without the ball must continue the chosen exercise throughout the relay.
Use a basketball. Instead of sprinting to the front of the line, the last person can dribble the ball.
In honor of SHAPE America’s National Physical Education and Sport Week, I hope you’re able to use these activities. Be sure to share your own ideas with students and adults in order to promote lifelong fitness!
About the Author:
Justin Cahill has been teaching physical education for 21 years. He began his career in Washington, DC before moving to Atlanta in 2007 to work at Trinity School. To learn more about his program check out his blog at jcahillpe.wordpress.org. You can also follow him on Twitter @justybubPE and check out his Facebook group called Keeping Kids in Motion for ideas, articles, blog posts, and videos promoting lifelong fitness for today’s youth.