February’s HOP, SKIP, and a JUMP into LEAP YEAR!

The year 2020 is a LEAP YEAR! Let’s celebrate by hopping, skipping, and jumping our way through the month. You’ll need to tune-up your fine motor skills in order to cut out 15 different exercises geared to enhance muscle strength and endurance. The majority of the exercises focus on hopping, skipping, and jumping. These exercises are intended to strengthen both upper and lower body muscles along with aerobic endurance. I’ve also included 5 core exercises. “Core exercises train the muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips, and abdomen to work in harmony. This leads to better balance and stability, whether on the playing field or in daily activities. In fact, most sports and other physical activities depend on stable core muscles.” Therefore, the stronger your core, the stronger you’ll be at hopping, skipping, and jumping.

The instructions are simple:

  1. Cut out each of the 15 activity cards.
  2. Spread them out face down on any flat surface.
  3. Randomly select 5-10 Increase the challenge throughout the month by picking 1-2 extra cards to begin each new week.
  4. Complete the exercise on each selected card.
  5. Write your initials on the calendar each day you exercise.
  6. At the end of the month, fill out the information on the bottom of the calendar, then return it to your physical education teacher.

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FYI – I’ve also laminated these activity cards and used them as an instant activity for my PE classes. I spread out several sets around the gym. Students pick up a card and complete the exercise. They continue this process for three minutes.

Click Hooping, Skipping, Jumping for Fun for a downloadable copy of the challenge

Mayo Clinic Staff. “Why Your Core Muscles Matter.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 2 Aug. 2017, http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/core-exercises/art-20044751.

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Tag Team Fitness: A simple format certain to motivate your students

Keeping students motivated for fitness can be a challenge. I find myself regularly researching and designing new and improved workouts that are not only engaging but also functional and purposeful for each child. Throughout the last two years, I’ve been occasionally implementing what I call, Tag Team Fitness

What is Tag Team Fitness?

Simply stated, Tag Team Fitness is a partner workout where each partner takes turns doing a particular movement. Typically, one partner will do a muscle strengthening or endurance movement while the second partner performs a locomotor movement across the floor. The second partner doubles as the stopwatch. When she returns from performing the locomotor movement, she tags her partner and they switch roles.

How long is each workout?

The length of each Tag Team Fitness routine is determined by several factors.

  • Grade level/age-appropriate
  • Chosen movements – some movements are more exhausting and place more stress on the body than others.  In this case, a Tag Team Fitness workout will be shorter than one with less intense movements.
  • Time constraints – the amount of time with a class can be a factor. For a 30-minute class period, you may have to budget a smaller amount of time for fitness in order to accomplish the rest of your lesson plan.

The combinations of movements are unlimited making this such a versatile fitness format. You can even add movements or skills related to a particular unit as you’ll notice in the workouts below.

Along with the physical benefits of Tag Team Fitness, students are engaged and encouraging to one another. The advantages of working together toward a common goal, while having fun are limitless.

Here are a few examples of Tag Team Fitness workouts from my classes.

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Modify the Tag Team Fitness to increase the challenge

TagTeam Fitness can also be done in groups of three or more with a couple of varying formats:

  1. Assign a number to each of the three students. While student number one is moving across the floor or around the gym, numbers two and three are holding a static pose such as a plank. When number one returns, number two then runs while number one gets into a static pose and number three continues to hold the pose. So each student is holding the pose for twice as long.
  2. You can also assign three different exercises for each of the three students. For example, number one does 10 burpees, number two hold a plank, and number three does a wall sit. When number one completes 10 burpees, the three students rotate exercises.

The combinations for Tag Team Fitness are unlimited. You can customize each workout to fit your students and curriculum. Let us know how Tag Team Fitness works for you and your kids!

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30 Day Challenges – Step outside your comfort zone!

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Below, is a 3-minute TED Talk by Matt Cutts called, Try Something New for 30 Days.  Upon watching this video for the first time, my mind erupted with ideas on personal challenges I could set for myself. Should I cut out certain foods? Challenge me physically? Meditate for 30 days? Read every day?  Walk the dogs twice a day rather than just letting them run around the back yard?  Once I completed my initial brainstorm, I needed to slow down and remember Matt Cutts’ advice.  He simply stated, “small change = sustainable.”  I  realized that setting a reasonable goal would more likely turn into a habit that could last far beyond 30 days.

My 30-day challenge:  I am presently on day 16 of running at least a 5K every day.  Although there are days when I just don’t want to run due to weather, fatigue, or schedule, my competitive nature (along with my wife) keeps me motivated.  During each run, I think about the pathetic excuses I tried to make to not run, celebrate the fact that I can mark another day off the 30-day goal chart, and appreciate the emotional rush (and slight joint pain) I experience after finishing.  I also wonder what I’ll do on day 31…yoga, plyometrics, daily naps?

How about professionally?  How can I apply the 30-day challenge to my job as a physical education teacher?  How can I use this challenge to motivate my students?  How can I take advantage of trying something new for 30 days to help bolster my planning and strengthen my curriculum? How will I answer all of these questions in under 30 days?

For now, I’ll continue plugging along on my first challenge.  With only 14 days left, I’m hoping to discover my next 30-day challenge at the finish line.

I hope this post has inspired YOU to try something new for 30 days either personally or professionally. Tell me all about it.  I could use some ideas.

“Try Something New for 30 Days.” Matt Cutts:. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Jan. 2016.

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