First off, I have lots of experience with Physical Education: coaching middle school volleyball/softball/basketball, coaching young kids multi-sport programs (1-6 years), 8 years of summer camp experience, and my own background in a variety of sports. But let me tell you, sometimes when I’m standing in the gym with a group of 8th graders who tower over me and I’m supposed to teach them floor hockey – I’m nervous! I can handle the games part of PE and I really love getting out of the classroom and running around with the kids, but the sports specific side of gym class is definitely out of my comfort zone. I’m working on it though and feeling more comfortable by the day

Back here I walked about my favourite games to play in Phys Ed class when I’m a sub teacher so today I thought I would share some of my favourite activities to use for sport specific lessons in the PE class.

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Basketball

I usually start class off with a variety of dribbling/passing relays to get everyone warmed up (one hand, other hand, back and forth then add chest/bounce pass). For the main activity I make two squares in the gym and we do keep away in the square. The basic rules: you must keep dribbling, try to protect your ball, try to knock other people’s away (safely – no fouls allowed), and if your ball gets knocked out you switch to the other square. I like this activity because it keeps everyone in the game at all times and there isn’t much confusion – Plus you can set a goal of trying to stay in the same square the whole time for your basketball all-stars.

Soccer

With soccer, I pick a drill to get them warmed up. Usually a short-short-long passing drill works if you have a good sized field or relays will work as well. The activity that I use for soccer requires teams of three, four can work too but three is best. Each team gets one ball and one cone (tall orange cone). The team picks one person to be the guard and they stand around their cone – they can block shots but can’t touch the cone. The other two people on the team dribble the ball around the field, passing between them, and try to knock over another teams cone. If a cone gets knocked over the whole team needs to come to me and I’ll give them a challenge (from jumping jacks to singing “O Canada” depending on the age group). Whenever I yell “Switch” the teams have to switch who is guarding the cone so that everyone gets a chance. Most groups seem to really enjoy this game and its nice that they are just working with their partners so you don’t have to worry about a discrepancy in skill levels.

Volleyball

I find volleyball a tough one for PE class, partially because I’m used to coaching a team of players who have been training but also because the skill level can vary so much in a class of 30 students. The game that I usually like to play with groups is called “King/Queen of the Court.” This game was a favourite of mine back in my club volleyball days and I find it relatively easy to adapt to a PE class. I usually let the students select their level (competitive/recreational) if we have two courts and then I put them in teams of 4 from there. One side of the volleyball court is the throne court (the side you want to be on) and then there is another team on the other side and the rest of the teams are behind the serving line. If your team is not on the court you start serving – if you miss your serve you go to the back of the serving line. If the serve goes over it is played out by the two teams on the court. If the team on the throne side wins the rally they get a point, if they lose then they are off and now in the serving line. If the other team wins they get to head to the throne side to try to win some points and the team that served the ball over gets to come onto the court.

Kickball

Okay so maybe this isn’t one of your “regular” sports but it is something that gets played a lot in schools – and one of my favourites! Now come spring time this is often a go to activity for gym time outside so I like to switch it up a little bit with an adaptation I call, Reverse Kickball. In Reverse Kickball all the kids are up to bat and it’s just me in the field (grab a student or two to help you if you aren’t a runner and/or you are playing with older students). The goal for the students is to try to be the last one standing in the kicking line. Basically, if they kick the ball and I catch it in the air or tag them out then they join my team. If they are safe they keep running and once they get home safe they return to the end of the line. Once you start to build a team in the outfield it gets much harder for the students to get all the way around without getting out. What I like most about this game is that it seems to really balance who the winner is and it’s often not the hardest/farthest kicker. Adaptation: When they are in the field, if they catch a ball in the air they get to return to the kicking line up and the person who kicked it is in the field.

What activities do you do with these sports or others?

Meaghan