Each year, on the first Wednesday in May -- which also happens to be the first Wednesday in National Physical Fitness and Sports Month -- millions of school children all over the globe exercise together as part of Project ACES.
"Project ACES (All Children Exercising Simultaneously) aims to educate children about the importance of lifelong fitness and to end the stereotype that children are fat, weak, and lazy," says Len Saunders, a Montville, New Jersey, phys ed teacher who created the program in 1989. "Project ACES aims to make fitness fun!"
"There is no specific routine to follow," adds Saunders. "The children might walk, jog, bike, dance, do aerobics, or a combination of all of them for 15 minutes. Many schools invite local celebrities to the event. Most schools get the entire school population out on the playground, put on music, and get everyone in the school have some fun by moving and exercising together."
If the students in your school didn't participate last week in Project ACES, now is the time to start planning for an All Children Exercising Simultaneously assembly in your school in 1999. Join five million students from all 50 states and almost 50 countries in "the world's largest exercise class"! Check out the Project ACES Web site or read an article about Project ACES from the New Bedford (Mass.) Standard-Times.
Are you in a rut? Tired of kickball games and the same old relay races? Want some new ideas for phys ed activities to motivate your students? The Web is full of them! Many Web sites offer unique ideas tried and tested by classroom and PE teachers.
Come along as Education World "runs" through a handful of those sites and shares some of the "active-ities" they offer!
Push-ups can be boring. If that's what you and your students think, you haven't tried any of the innovative push-up ideas offered at my favorite site for exercise ideas, PE Central.
Younger students might try the Partner Patty Cakes Push-Ups. These can be done from the modified or "crab crawl" push-up positions. Two people in push up position face each other. They alternate tapping right hand to right hand and then left to left. (For an added challenge, increase the distance between partners and repeat.)
Older students might enjoy Macarena Push-Ups! Practice the workout first, then add the music as your students place
Check out PE Central for additional fun push-ups.
PE Central's lesson ideas page includes many more activity ideas, arranged by grade level. In addition, you'll find dozens of ideas for integrating PE into your social studies, science, math, and language arts curricula. And be sure to check out the Instant Activities if it's a quick-and-easy idea you're looking for.
PE Central, produced by doctoral students in the health and PE program at Virginia Tech, is the ultimate WWW site for phys ed and classroom teachers. The site includes every imaginable resource; you'll find assessment ideas, PE equipment resources, a PE Job Center, and a special listserv for PE instructors. And, while you're at it, take the spring PE Central survey! You'll even find a "Kids PE Quote of the Week" --
A couple weeks ago, the Kids PE Quote of the Week" was submitted by Daria Winker of the Wilkinson Early Childhood Center in St. Louis, Missouri. Winker was trying to explain Project ACES to her students. Children all over the world would be exercising at the same time, she carefully explained, when one of her kindergartners piped up that he didn't want to do this. "When I asked him why," Winker says, "he told me that so many children on our playground would be much too crowded!"
Bionic Ball is a great game for developing ball skills and hand-eye coordination. To make a "bionic ball" all you need is a whiffle ball and 3 to 4 feet of one-half inch stretch elastic (which you can find in the sewing section of any discount department store). Tie the ball to one end of the elastic and make a snug wrist loop at the other end. Students can use the ball to play catch with themselves! Try the activities on the Bionic Ball activity page; they include practice in catching fly balls, catching fly balls from a bounce, and punting/catching.
Bionic Ball is one of many ideas submitted by teachers to the Physical Education Lesson Plans Web site. (The site contains so many ideas that it's actually two sites now!) Check out some of the other fun activities, including Space Invaders, a Hamburger Relay, and an Integrated Math Game using Frisbees, hula hoops, and teacher-made math flash cards.
At Clarkdale Elementary School (Austell, Ga.), Diana Gobbi teaches spelling, computer skills, and physical education at the same time!
The lesson starts with a computer keyboard -- but this keyboard is larger than life. It's drawn on the gym floor or painted outside on the concrete!
Gobbi has created laminated activity cards to accompany the keyboard. Each card includes a series of directions such as
Students jump from key to key to complete the activities.
This activity makes a perfect PE learning center activity. Students can work in pairs to complete the activity and to check each other's work. You can check out this activity and others provided on the AskERIC Physical Education Lesson Plans Web site.
The PE specialists in the Clover Park (Washington) School District have created lots of PE activities for you to use.
Squid, a throwing/running/dodging game created by Clover Park teacher Amanda Wagner, goes like this:
"This game is very easy to play and the young ones [K-2] really like it!" says Wagner.
Another simple game, called Meteorite Ball, comes from Clover Park teacher Rochelle Wolfe. The only tools needed for this game are a volleyball net and a beachball for each student. The rules go like this:
"Meteorite Ball is a great endurance activity and a great lead-up to playing volleyball," says Wolfe.
Still looking for ideas? Here are a few more quick ones:
Games Kids Play
Remember all those games you played as kid out in the backyard? The purpose of this page is two-fold: (1) To let you remember some of those games that brought a smile to your face and (2) to catalog a fascinating piece of oral tradition, and make sure none of these games are lost forever. The site includes almost 50 games, including favorites such as Red Rover, Jacks, Statue, Steal the Bacon, Red Light/Green Light, and Kick the Can.
American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance
This site offers lots of info, including the current national standards for physical education.
California Physical Education Resources
Lots of resources here for PE professionals, including a listing of sites and listservs of interest.
Physical Activity and Health: A Report of the Surgeon General
Report includes an executive summary, fact sheets, related information, and more.
Article by Gary Hopkins
Copyright © 2008 Education World