My students have been twisting hoops for years. It began as a challenge. I would instruct 5-7 students at a time to “twist your hoop, then run to a wall and return before the hoop comes to a stop.” “Can you touch two walls and return before it stops? Three?” The students loved this challenge, pushing themselves to go for the extra wall.
*I allow no more than seven students to run to a wall at a time to avoid collisions.
I soon began to brainstorm other ways to use the hula hoop twisting skill.
The most popular hula hoop twisting activity without question is THE HULA HOOP FITNESS TIMER. This is when the hula hoop becomes a stopwatch. I use this activity throughout the year as an individual or partner activity. The premise is simple.
Sometimes, as a class, we’ll brainstorm ideas for different movements and write them on a whiteboard or add them to a google slide. This way the students have a visual from which to choose. For my older students we can choose a particular muscle group to focus on or a type of exercise. For example, as an instant activity students may have to focus on aerobic movements. Therefore, they must choose movements which increase their heart rate. Another time they may need to focus on static movements like plank variations, wall sits, and yoga poses.
The HULA HOOP FITNESS TIMER has proven to be an exciting way to motivate students to move. Below is a look at it in action.
INDIVIDUAL FITNESS TIMER
PARTNER FITNESS TIMER – one partner spins the hoop, one partner chooses the exercise
Another game I like to play with my students
In the early 2000’s BEYBLADES were gaining popularity, Beyblades are basically spinning tops that collide with each other. The goal is to be the last top spinning. With this in mind, my classes started playing a hula hoop version of Beyblades.
I use 1, 2 Switcharoo early in the year as a partner team building challenge.
For several years I’ve used coffee cans, metal vegetable cans from the cafeteria, milk crates, and laundry baskets to play a game called “The Race to 3, THE SPORTSMANSHIP GAME.” The premise of the game is simple. Two students shake hands or give knuckles to begin. Then they each attempt to be the first to bounce a ball into a can, crate, or basket three times. After each match, they look each other in the eyes, shake hands, and say, “good game.” Then off they go to find another competitor. A second version of the game, as seen below, includes a victory lap after each win.
The Race to 3 led to other bounce games including BOUNCE MOUNTAIN – The Race to the Top. I love using this game as a station in my classes. The first video below gives you a look at my setup along with a complete explanation of the game. The second video shows the game in action with a First-Grade PE class.
Like any game, you can adapt it so that it works best for you and your students. Maybe you have other receptacles or different types of balls that are more conducive. You may visualize a setup that better suits your gym. Perhaps making it more cooperative rather than competitive ties in better to your curriculum. There’s never just one way to play a game. This is one of the reasons social media and blogs are such a wonderful tool for teachers. You can discover a game or an activity , then make it your own.
Lucky Leprechaun’s March Fitness Challenge consists of three different workouts (white, yellow, purple) focusing on endurance, upper body, and lower body strength. As the month progresses, the time and/or number of repetitions for each exercise gradually increases. There is a built-in rest day every fourth day. Each rest day includes an additional non-fitness-related challenge.
Each student’s fitness level varies. Therefore, the guidelines on the calendar are not set in stone. With help from an adult, each of the exercises and/or repetitions and times can be adapted to appropriately challenge the student. For example, if a student doesn’t have a jump rope, he can jump with an “imaginary” jump rope. This will allow him to reap the healthy benefits of continuously jumping for the given amount of time. What if the number of repetitions for an exercise is too high on day one? If this is the case simply adjust the repetitions throughout the month. Never hesitate to contact the physical education department with any questions or comments regarding the challenge.
Don’t forget to turn in your calendar at the end of the month!
Mark each day a workout (including the “rest day” challenge) is completed with a checkmark. At the end of the month, count up the total number of checks, then write that number on the bottom of the calendar where it says, “Total Days Completed.”
Calendars can be turned in to a PE teacher any day after March 31st. All students who take part in Lucky Leprechaun’s March Fitness Challenge and return their calendar will receive an award certificate and a toe token. The names of the students who complete the challenge will be proudly posted outside the gym.
Students do NOT have to complete each day to receive a certificate. We understand that our students have busy schedules, or sometimes just forget to complete a workout. The goal is to have fun while getting fit!
Parents are encouraged to help and even participate in the workouts.
Your child may need a little guidance. We encourage parents to assist with form and necessary adaptations based on fitness level. Finally, students get so excited when parents and siblings participate in the challenge with them. What better way to lead by example and promote lifelong fitness!
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