My name is Cathy Moffitt and I teach at Charlestown Elementary School in Charlestown, RI. This year I moved out of my comfort zone in PE and planned Parkour activities. We went from having students balancing on a few standard objects to then climbing, crawling, jumping and moving on, over and around equipment.
They loved it! Given the chance to explore and challenge themselves, they excelled.
An important part of planning this lesson is working out what equipment you will use, and also safety guidelines for students.
- Folding mats
- River stepping stones
- 2 balance beams
- Round tunnel mat
- Stability balls
- Balance walker
- Aerobic steps
- Poly spots
- Pull up bar
- Other misc equipment
We have used almost all of these pieces in other lessons but went over safety concerns with each before the lesson.
Grade Level: K-4
Parkour Activity Description
I combined all the clips I have been watching on FB and Twitter into a lesson that would work for us. I went through the closet and pulled out all the equipment the students have used to balance on in any way and created a lesson that worked for us. My focus for these lessons were:
- Travels safely demonstrating a variety of relationships (over, under, etc.) with objects such as hula hoops, mats, parachute, etc.
- Demonstrates balance using body parts and actions as twisting, curling, stretching through a variety of physical activities with teacher support
- Works cooperatively with others during physical activities
The first week of the unit I set the gym up in stations and let the students rotate through the stations as they wanted. They had directions to go to as many of the stations as they could get to. They had to try each thing at least three times before they could move on.
Parallel balance beams – Students used the balance beam like parallel bars, they could put both feet on one and their hands on the other and move sideway or right hand and foot on one and left hand and foot on the other and move forward.
Square mats – Students practice using them to slide on moving body weight with slippery side down and used them stick side down to land on and mark distance of jumps.
Mat cylinder – Students climbed or jumped over or crawled through. Students discovered ways to go over the cylinder trying to accomplish touching the cylinder with minimal body contact.
Stability balls – Students tried balancing on their bottoms, bellies or knees on the stability ball.
Aerobic steps – Students jumped over steps or stacked and climbed on and jumped off.
Balance boards and pogo ball – Students balanced on boards using one foot or two feet.
Pull up bar – Students practiced pull ups or traveled across the bar.
Tires with stability balls in them – Students climbed over the balls trying not to touch the tires.
Stepping stones – Students set up stones in a variety of pathways, stepping and balancing on each.
The students also used one section of the wall to step or jump into and push off to see how far they could rebound to. (They run into the wall all the time, I figured I would focus their energy).
The second week, I took most of the equipment and made it into an obstacle course. Using an idea I saw online, I had the students work together in groups of two or three, one student ran the obstacle course, one was the pit crew, they fixed anything that was moved. The third and fourth grade had a third person be the timer – they used stopwatches, iPads and Chromebooks to time their teammates.
The obstacle course I set up wrapped around the room with arrows marking the pathways. The students had to go over the stepping stones under a tunnel set up using the parachute, over the mat cylinder, jump over the steps walk on a small balance beam, cross the pull up bar, walk across the balance boards, climb over the stability balls, carry a medicine ball from dot to dot, ride the scooter and then cross the balance beams to the finish line.
About the Author:
My name is Cathy Moffitt, I have been teaching health and physical education in the Chariho Regional School District in Rhode Island for 30 years, the last 10 at Charlestown Elementary. I earned my Bachelors and Masters degrees from the University of RI and my Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Johnson and Wales University. I try to provide students and their families opportunities to learn and practice skills that can be used in the future allowing students to choose a variety of activities. Health and physical education also provide opportunities for students to practice social and emotional learning skills. I am always looking for ways to update and enhance our curriculum. Please follow me on Twitter @CharlestownPE.