“Jumping Through March” Fitness Challenge

 

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The Jumping Through March fitness challenge is all about jumping and building core strength. This daily exercise routine consists of two parts.

Click March Fitness Challenge for an editable copy of “Jumping through March!”

 Part One – JUMPING

  • Choose either to complete jumping jacks or jump rope. Both exercises are an awesome way to increase your heart rate. If you are just learning to jump rope, you can begin each workout with jump rope, and then finish with jumping jacks. Combining the exercises is perfectly fine.
  • Choose Level 1 or Level 2. Each level consistently increases in repetitions each day. Notice that level 2 is more challenging than 1. You may switch levels at any point based on your level of fitness. Remember, if you find that you’re barely breaking a sweat, increase the repetitions at your own rate each day.
  • Complete the number of repetitions on the calendar each day. For example, on March 1, you will complete 25 jumping jacks/rope turns for level 1 or 75 jumping jacks/rope turns for level 2. If you miss a day, simply pick up where you left off.

Part Two – PLANK CHALLENGE

  • Hold a plank pose for as long as you can each day. You can choose either a traditional low plank or a high plank.
  • Try to increase your maximum time each day. Throughout the month your core strength will increase as long as you put in the work and push yourself!
  • Log your time. Each day you complete the plank challenge, be sure to add your time to the calendar so you can track your progress.

Click March Fitness Challenge for an editable document of the fitness challenge!

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Turn in your calendar to your PE coach at the end of the month to earn an award certificate and a fitness charm! Good luck!

 


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Simple Coffee Can Games for PE

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I began my teaching career in the Washington, DC public school system back in 1995.  I worked at a small elementary school with an even smaller budget for supplies and equipment. Each year I was allotted $200.00 to purchase and replace equipment including recess balls.  Countless teachers are annually faced with a similar financial dilemma.  They are challenged to delve into their creative minds in search of resources to ensure that students reap the benefits of a quality educational experience.

 Only after a brief amount of time as a physical education teacher, I discovered one such practical, inexpensive resource.  COFFEE CANS!  Despite going from aluminum to plastic, and the assortment of shapes and sizes throughout the years, two things remain constant, durability and functionality.  My classes would use them as stepping stones in cooperative games, create coffee can stilts to use as a locomotor station, and as drums for rhythm stick routines.  Using coffee cans also allowed me the opportunity to reinforce and encourage the reduce, reuse, recycle concept.  

To this day, despite working at an amazing school with ample resources, I still incorporate coffee can games into my curriculum.  Here are few of my all-time favorites:

The Percolator/ Partner Percolator

Percolator is an opportunity for students to work individually and with a partner on hand-eye coordination.  As shown in the video, the object is to repeatedly strike the ball ( Lite Flight Softballs) in the air using the bottom of the coffee can.  Once the students masters the basics, they can advance to more challenging tasks at their own pace.  Such challenges include:

  • Striking with different parts of the can
  • Consecutive strikes challenge
  • Striking then catching the ball
  • Tossing the ball up from inside the can (serving) before striking.
  • Partner striking

Just when I think I’ve seen every possible percolator challenge, a students will surprise me with something new.

Strikeball Junior

Strikeball junior can be played cooperatively and competitively.

Cooperatively: The object of the game is for partners to pass a ball back and forth using the bottom of the coffee can.  For each successful catch, they receive a point.  I usually with have a series of one-minute challenges. “How many catches can you and your partner make in one minute?”  Another way to play strikeball cooperatively is to challenge partners to count the number of consecutive catches they can make.

Competitively: The object of the competitive version of strikeball junior is for serving player to throw a ball off the bottom of the can so the opposing player in unable to catch it.  The serving player can throw the ball off the can from any distance.  The ball must hit the bottom of the can cleanly.  If the server throws the ball off side or edge of the can or completely misses the can, a point is award to the opposing player.  If the ball is cleanly served, the opposing player must catch the ball. If the ball is caught, that player returns the ball by throwing it off the bottom of the can. Play continues until the ball eventually hits the ground.  Points are NOT awarded for catches.  The player receiving the point earn the right to serve.  First player to seven wins the game.

The Race to 2 – Sportsmanship Game

One of my favorite “coffee can” games is the Race to 2 (Race to 3 for older students).  Before the students arrive I set up the cans throughout the gym, each with two hollow plastic balls.  When students enter the gym, they immediately pair up and go to a coffee can.  The object of the game is to be the first to bounce a ball into the can three times.  Once a match is over, each player MUST shake hands and say, “good game.”  Each player then finds a new player to challenge.  I use this activity as a way to reinforce SPORTSMANSHIP with my students.  It also happens to be an all-time favorite among students.

Espresso (End Zone)

End Zone keeps students moving while enhancing teamwork, hand-eye coordination, and strategic thinking.  Each set of partners has one coffee can and on ball.  The goal is to successfully pass the ball across the gym.  Beginning on the end line, one partner has the ball and the other has the coffee can.  The partner with the coffee can runs out in the direction of the the opposite end line or end zone.  This partner needs to choose a distance that’s not too far for the throwing partner.  The throwing partner then tosses the ball while the partner holding the coffee can attempts to catch it.  For younger students, I allow a one bounce rule. The partners switch roles at the point of each successful catch.  If the ball is dropped, then the ball goes back to the spot of the last successful catch.  When partners catch a ball in the end zone, they receive one point, then sprint back to the beginning to try again.

Coffee Can Points Challenge -Level 1

Coffee Can Points Challenge -Level 2

Using either cones, poly spots, or the lines in your gym, mark off four catching zones.  The size of each zone is determined by the age and/or ability of your students.  Each zone has a point value.  Zone one equals 2 points, zone 2 equals 4 points, zone 3 equals 6 points, and zone 4 equals 8 points.  With a partner, students line up behind the throwing line, which is the edge of zone one.  One the signal, one partner runs out to one of the zones with a coffee can.  The other partner tosses a ball from the throwing line.  If the partner with the coffee can catches the ball, they are awarded points based on the zone where the ball is caught. If the ball is caught on one bounce, partners receive half the point value per zone.  So instead of receiving 6 points for zone 4, partners will earn 3 points.   No points are awarded if the ball is dropped.  After each throw, partners switch roles.

I always play multiple rounds.  Between rounds each set of partners has an opportunity to discuss strategy.  Specifically, what worked and what didn’t work, and how they can adjust their strategy for subsequent rounds.

Coffee Can Hot Spots

I like to play this game during my underhand tossing unit.  Students are partnered up around the outside perimeter.  The goal of the game is to collect as many dome cones as possible.  One partner sprints out to a cone while holding the coffee can.  Partner two tosses a ball out to partner one.  If partner one catches the ball inside the coffee can, he picks up the cone and returns it to partner two.  Then each partner switches roles.  With my younger groups, I allow the ball to bounce.  I often play this as a whole group cooperative challenge.  How long will it take the class to clear all the cones?

Freedom to Explore and Create Coffee Can Games

Throughout the school year, I’ll set up a variety of stations for my students.  One station will usually consist of placing various pieces of equipment to challenge the students to create a new game.  Student never cease to amaze me in what they discover!


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10 Turbo-Charged Basketball Activities

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Basketball Tabata

This Tabata-style workout will increase heart rates while strengthening core muscles.  Students will exercise for 20 seconds, then rest for 10.  My students will complete multiple rounds depending on age and ability.

Recommended age: 3rd-12th Grades

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Basketball Tabata in Action

Dynamic Dribbling Lines

Dribbling lines are nothing new to many PE teachers.  After all, they’re an awesome tool for improving ball control while changing speed and direction, using both hands.  Here are three more ideas to add to your line dribbling arsenal.

Recommended ages: 1st-12th Grades

Basketball Stations

Basketball stations can be a great culminating activity for your basketball unit.  They also give you an opportunity to assess your students.  Below are a list of station we recently presented to our classes.  The eight stations focused on passing, shooting, dribbling and fitness with a dash of competition!

Recommended ages: 3rd-12th Grades (with modifications)

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Basketball Stations in Action

4-Corner Passing Challenge

4-Corner Passing is one of my favorite drills.  Set up a square of cones.  One defender stands in the center of the square.  The other three players are on offense.  The goal of the offense is to pass the ball around the square without the defender stealing it.  A pass can only be made to an adjacent corner.  Therefore a diagonal pass is NOT allowed.  The offense needs to move quickly by sliding from corner to corner.

Recommended ages: 4th-12th Grades

Dribble Pass Exchange – Level 1

The Dribble Pass Exchange can be modified to fit various ages.  Set up a square of cones.  The size of the square is determined by ability.  Two students stand in diagonal corners.  On the signal, students continuously pass the ball to each other.  Following each pass, each student trades places.  The student who passes the ball sprints to the opposite corner while the student who receives the pass dribbles to the opposite corner.  To differentiate for advanced players, I will have the student without the ball stop in the center of the square in a defensive stance (she will NOT try to steal the ball).  The player dribbling to the opposite corner must do a crossover, spin dribble, or dribble through the legs in order to get around the defender.

Recommended ages: 1st-6th Grades

Dribble Pass Exchange – Level 2

Level 2 has the same set up.  Once each student passes or receives the ball, they each move clockwise to the next corner.  Upon hearing a whistle, students change direction, moving counterclockwise.  Encourage students to use both dominant and non dominant hands.

Recommended ages: 1st-6th Grades

Rainbow Light Basketball

A huge thank you to my colleague, Coach Jedd Austin (@jeddaustin) for this exciting game. Rainbow Light Basketball is derived from the game Red Light, Green Light.  However, this game has countless colors and lights, each determining a specific movement.  It challenges students to think quickly while associating the color of the light to the appropriate movement.  The game includes multiple colors and other lights including Disco Light, Rock and Roll Light, Sunlight, and Super Light.  You can create your own lights and movements.  Be sure to check out some of ours in the link below.

Recommended ages: 1st-5th Grades

Constant Dribble Challenge

One of my goals during the basketball unit is to keep a ball in the hands of my students at all times.  Constant Dribbling Challenge is one of my games that does just that.  Set up a square of cones.  One student dribbles in the center of the square (crossover) while another student dribbles around the square two times, once clockwise using the left hand and a second time counterclockwise using the right hand.  Then each student switches. Sometimes I’ll have a student perform an exercise in the center of the square instead of doing the crossover dribble.  This option may work better if you have a limited number of balls.

Recommended ages: 1st- 3rd Grades

1,2,3 GO!

This is a simple shooting game based on the larger group game called Knockout.  We play this with either partners or in groups of three.  Each person in the group has a ball and stands side by side. At the same time, they each say, “1,2,3, Go!”!  At this point, they each shoot their ball and try to be the first to score a basket.  The first to score, receives a point and gets to choose the next shooting spot.

Recommended ages: 3rd-12th Grades

Poly Spot Relay

In relay fashion, arrange the class in groups of no more than three.  Set up as many poly spots (or anything else, i.e.:  cones, stuffed creatures, etc.)  as possible on the opposite side of the playing area.  The first student in each line dribbles across the playing area and picks up one spot without stopping the dribble (I allow younger students to stop dribbling).  Students then return to the starting line, drop off their spot, and tag the next player.  Play until all spots are picked up.  With my younger classes I play this cooperatively.  I time the whole group to see how long it takes to clear the spots.  We play a second round to see if we can beat the first recorded time.

Recommended ages: 1st-6th Grades

Pivot, Pass, Catch Relay

There are different variations of this relay.  I like to have small groups of no more than four students.  Each player lines up at an equal distance from his teammates.  The first student in line pivots and passes to the next person in line.  When the ball gets to the last students in line, that student dribbles the ball to the front of the line.  Teammates move back one spot so the student dribbling to the front can take over the first position.  Teams score a point each time the last person in line receives the ball.  The relays continues for two minutes.

Recommended ages: 1st-12th Grades

When I have larger teams, players waiting for a pass must perform an exercise such as squats or jumping jacks.


Thank you Paul Ward for the photographs.

Thank you Jedd Austin, Laura English, and Brian Balocki, my colleagues, for sharing ideas for this post.


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