The adventures of a fourth grade teacher in East Central Illinois.

Exploring P.E. Equipment

I may have mentioned this before, but over the summer I had the opportunity to help organise all of the P.E. equipment we have in our building. In the process of doing so, I discovered all sorts of neat things that had been squirreled away under the stage or in the P.E. closet: a huge collection of jump ropes, several balls of different sizes and textures, bowling sets, paddles, and a host of other items. I am making a point of using different equipment in P.E. so that my students are doing something other than dodgeball and kickball every week.

I decided to break out the various balls we have for P.E. the next couple of weeks. We will do some organised activities with them next week, but I decided to simply let my class explore this week. It was interesting to see what kind of games the boys and girls were able to come up with.

Some of the students started tossing, throwing, and even kicking the balls to each other while running back and forth across the gym. While they may not have realised it, they were exhibiting a variety of important skills, such as balance, locomotor control, and object handling.

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Other students started playing a game that was not quite basketball but pretty close. (I’m sure it would have turned into a full game of basketball if they’d had access to the full gym, though.)

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Still other students engaged in races. Some of the balls are specifically labeled to prohibit sitting on them, but we have a collection of balls with handles that are designed to bear the weight of students.

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There will be one more day of exploring with the equipment (Thursday) before we start some more specific activities with the balls next week. It is always fun watching students explore, whether in the classroom, the gym, or the playground. It is a good reminder for me to give them more opportunities to explore on their own and allow them to have a hand in directing their own learning. Of course, I’d never turn things over to them completely; they aren’t ready for that. But I hope that experiences like this will help move them along toward the ultimate goal of education: helping the boys and girls learn how they learn so that they can learn without me telling them what to learn!

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