November’s PLANKS-GIVING Fitness Challenge


Are YOU ready for the (click for calendar)Planks-Giving Challenge? This menu is chock full of delicious exercises ready to be consumed by your students, families, and even your faculty and staff! Anyone interested would simply need to print out the Planks-Giving calendar to use as a fitness log for the month. Then simply check out the Planks-Giving Dinner Menu and select two appetizers, two main dish exercises, and two side dish exercises. Each day the three-course meal of exercises is completed earns a check on the calendar.  Oh, and one more thing! For dessert think of something or someone you’re thankful for, and write it on the calendar each day the workout is completed.

At the end of the month, all participants add up the total number of days completed, have their parents sign the bottom of the calendar, and return it to a PE teacher for a certificate and shoe token.

Each exercise on the menu is linked to video description. Simply scroll over the name of the exercise and click.

Scroll over an exercise and click for a video description

There’s also a link to the Planks-Giving Exercise YouTube playlist at the bottom of the menu.

Planks-Giving YouTube Playlist

Click Planks-Giving Challenge for an editable copy of the calendar and challenge.

Click here for the Planks-Giving YouTube playlist for video descriptions of each exercise.

Click Planksgiving Certificate for an editable copy of the Planks-giving award certificate

A HUGE thank you to my kiddos for helping with the videos.

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11 Soccer Activities for PE


I hope you can use a few of my favorite soccer activities for elementary-level physical education. Be sure to share some of YOUR favorites with the PE community!

Soccer Ball Tabata

Throughout the soccer unit, we like to incorporate some of the skills into our fitness.  Soccer Ball Tabata is a perfect way to do just that. We use the Tabata Pro application on an iPad as our timer.

Single Cone Soccer

Once we cover many of the basic soccer ball-handling skills, we like to introduce single cone soccer. All you need is one cone and a couple of evenly matched students. You’ll find that many components of soccer are practiced in this simple game including defensive positioning, ball handling, strategy, and a ton of fitness!


2-Team Soccer Pin Knockdown (

We like this game when we need to be inside.  Each team sets up 5-7 pins on their baseline.  The goal is for each team to knock over their opponent’s pins. Once a pin is knocked over, it is taken to the other side where it is set up on the opposite baseline. The goal is for each team to collect all of the pins, then set them up on their side of the field. I usually play with two balls per game.


 4-Team Quadrant Pin Knockdown

Four teams battle it out for pin supremacy in this fast-paced soccer game.  Each team sets up six pins on their corner of the field (3 on the baseline side and 3 on the sideline side). This game is played like 2-team pin knockdown however, each team can knock down any of the other three team’s pins. To begin the game, each corner gets a ball.  Therefore, four balls are played at once.


Dribbling Gates

We use this as an agility, ball control, and fitness drill. Set up about 16 sets of color-coordinated cones (gates( throughout your space. Each gate is approximately three feet wide. Give your students a challenge to see how many gates they can dribble through in a given amount of time. Let them rest for 30 seconds, then do it again. The key to this drill is ball control. I tell my students to control the ball with all parts of their feet while changing speed and direction.  For an added challenge I sometimes have five gatekeepers. Gatekeepers run from gate to gate, blocking them so students can not dribble through. The gatekeeper does not block the ball. His presence between the gate deters the student from dribbling through.


Deck Ring Soccer

I like to use this activity in the gym with my first through third-grade students. It’s a simple dribbling exploration game where students count how many deck rings they can place their ball in using only their feet. It helps the students discover the importance of using all parts of each foot.


The Lord of the Deck RIngs

Divide the play area in half. Set up 10-15 cones behind each team. Spread out an even number of deck rings on each side. Players move their ball across the midline, into their opponent’s territory, and attempt to place the ball onto a ring using only their feet. Once the ball is in the ring, the player then completes 3 jumping jacks or another predetermined exercise (Sometimes I have exercise options on the screen). The player then picks up the ball with his hands and sprints to the opponent’s cones. There, a cone is picked up, and the ball is placed onto the cone. Then the payer runs the ball back to his side where he drops off the cone. Which team can finish the round with more cones?


2 versus 2 – Single Cone Soccer 

This version of single cone soccer incorporates a teammate and passing along with dribbling, defensive strategies and fitness. I’ll usually play this immediately following games of 1 versus 1 – single cone soccer.

Stop and Go Soccer

Usually used as a warm-up, stop-and-go soccer focuses on fast-break dribbling and stopping on a signal. Before the drill, we’ll discuss the differences between a fast break and dribbling through traffic. Students begin on one end of the field. On the signal, students begin to quickly move the ball up the field. On the whistle, students must immediately stop the ball. A player who continues to dribble after the whistle is blown must head to the back of the group. The same is done when a player is lacking ball control.

Passing Through Gates

Passing through gates is a great follow-up to the dribbling through gates drill. Students partner up and try to pass through as many gates as possible in a given amount of time. Once a partner passes through a gate, she then runs to position herself at a different gate. Meanwhile, the partner who received the pass quickly dribbles to the gate where her partner is waiting. Pass and go!


Small-Sided Soccer Games

Our goal in any of our units is to provide as many touches as possible throughout an activity. When we do play actual soccer games, we play on small fields with no more than five players on each team. In this setting, students have numerous opportunities to be a part of the action.

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My 10 Favorite Pieces of Equipment for Primary PE


Top 10 lists are everywhere. They catch your eye, draw you in, and give you quick information. Perfect for our busy lifestyles and my waning attention span.  Walking through a sporting goods store, a banner titled: “10 Tricks to Make Your Camping Trip a Success” caught my eye. Camping was not part of our vacation plans, but after perusing the list, I was ready to pitch a tent anytime!  Magazines are loaded with such lists including this one I just read in a health magazine; “Top 10 Male Health Problems…” Now I should have known better but I couldn’t resist. Even though I knew the list would scare the heck out of me, I HAD TO KNOW! Am I eating the top 10 healthiest fruits on the planet? Not according to I’m only batting 20%. Do I drive one of the top 10 most fuel-efficient cars? Nope! Not even close according to Consumer Reports. In fact, in the same report, I learned that I drive one of the top 20 “biggest gas guzzlers.”

In my research of why top 10 lists are so appealing to readers on the internet, the very first article to pop up was called, “The Top 10 Reasons that Top 10 Lists are so Popular…” There’s a list for EVERYTHING! In my opinion, the reason they’re so appealing is that they pique our interest. Top 10 lists are quick to read and simple to understand. They let us know how we fare on a given topic, and on many occasions, provide useful information to the reader.

With that goal in mind, I thought I’d jump in on the action and share my Top 10 Must-have Pieces of Equipment for Primary Physical Education. The intention of my list is twofold.  First, I’d like to share what has been helpful to me and my colleagues who share more than 70 years of combined experience. Second, I would like YOU to share how my list compares to yours! Don’t hesitate to share your top 10 must-have pieces of equipment in the comments. Click on pictures of equipment to purchase today and start playing!

1. Swim NoodlesClick on noodles to purchase now!

Whether full size, cut in half or sliced into small pieces, swim noodles have been used regularly with our students. A quick search on the internet will yield countless tag games, teambuilding activities, and competitive challenges. You can’t beat the price as well. I recently found some for $1.00 apiece at Five Below. Check out a few tag games you can play in the post called Tag Games with Hoops and Noodles.

2. Jump Ropes
Click on jump ropes to purchase now!

It is my opinion that like riding a bike, every child should be able to jump rope. The jump rope is a dynamic piece of exercise equipment. It’s small enough to fit into your backpack, improves coordination and enhances cardiovascular fitness while strengthening muscles. Most importantly, jumping rope is FUN! You can cater your lessons to any level and differentiate for advanced jumpers with a variety of challenges.

3. Gator Skin BallsClick to purchase!

I remember ordering my first set of gator skin balls in 1995. I was impressed by their practicality, durability, and level of safety. They come in a variety of sizes and styles. Our favorites are the six-inch Gator Skin Softi Balls. We use them for throwing and catching drills, team hand ball, rolling challenges and drills, lead-up games for baseball (gator ball), and Ultimate catch. Without question, there are thousands of other ways to use this incredible ball.

4. Foam Activity Pins

Click on foam pins to purchase!

Foam activity pins, or foam cylinder as they’re commonly called, are safe, easy to store, and unbelievably useful. We most commonly use them as targets and goals in rolling, throwing and kicking activities. If you’re familiar with my Twitter feed (@justybubpe), you’ve without a doubt seen these gems being utilized to the extreme! Trust me when I tell you, you’ll quickly discover them to be one of your favorite pieces of equipment.

 5. Beanbags/Yarn Balls

Although they’re two different pieces of equipment, I’ve placed them on my list together. Both are excellent implements for younger and older students to practice their tossing, catching, sliding and rolling skills. Kindergarten through second grades, in particular, can practice tossing and catching with a partner confidently, without fear of getting bonked by a heavier, traditional ball. Yarn balls are also a great choice when using plastic scoops and introducing indoor games like bocce.

6. Scooter Boards

Scooter boards make many appearances throughout the year in our PE classes.  Early on, we use them during our cooperative lessons. Later, we break them out for a variety of tag and invasion games like scooter soccer, scooter handball, and ultimate bucketball .  Finally, scooters have become a main fitness tool.  Check out this blog post called Scooter Fitness – 11 Exercises Using Scooter Boards. Be sure to instruct your students on scooter safety prior to use.

 7. Plastic Scoops

For years, plastic scoops sat in my PE storage room gathering dust. It was until recently that I discovered numerous practical uses for them. I’ve discovered ways to sprinkle in the scoops throughout our PE curriculum. Check out a previous post called 8 Group Games Using SCOOPS in PE. Here you will discover simple games to help students enhance their hand-eye coordination and tossing and catching fundamentals.

 8. Hula Hoops

Try placing a stack of hula hoops out for a station during one of your PE classes. Give the students simple instructions such as,  “How many ways can you and your group use the hula hoops?” You’ll be blown away by the jumping, spinning, building, and overall creativity that will ensue. The versatility of a hoop is limitless. My students have used them as targets, bases, steering wheels, goals, obstacles, agility patterns and much more. Try a few of these games found within a post called 11 Hula Hoop Activities You May Not Know About.

9. Screen/Projector

Our screen and projector hanging in our gym has been a godsend. Great for our visual learners, our screen allows us to project our daily lessons, directions to an activity, timers, scoreboards, rubrics, and expectations. It works wonders for instant activities! Students enter the gymnasium, and automatically check the screen for their first task of the class.

  10. Cones

We have cones of all colors, shapes, and sizes. Primarily used to make boundaries, cones can also serve as batting tees, megaphones, targets, and hurdles.  Bonus!  Turn the cone into a  sign holder by taping a rubber band to the back of your sign, and  slip it over a cone!

Did any of my equipment make your list? Share your Top 5 with your PE teaching peers. Let us know what we might be missing.

If you enjoyed this post, consider following my blog to receive future posts and fitness challenges.

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