Free play is an important part of a physical education program. There are many
benefits for the children. They have more of a chance to interact in a less structured
environment. They experience a chance to let their imaginations and creativity run wild. This I think is where they pick up many of their social skills and whether good or bad that social pecking order starts to come into play.
I believe that free play should be monitored and gently guided. A teacher can suggest ideas that spawn student creativity. I fear that video games and some other technologies have stifled imagination in many students. There are also times when a teacher must step in to guide inappropriate behavior or play that becomes overly aggressive and possibly become harmful.
Free play is important, but I believe there should also be a mix of organized activity with different games and drills. The reason I make this statement is because in free play there will be those students that are not that engaged in physical movement. Organized activity gets them moving. Health experts agree that we should have at least 30 minutes of active movement each day and one hour is better.
Free play is good. Organized activity is good. Seek the best of both worlds.
My first post pointed out the many differences in our students. A physical education class differs greatly from a sports class, especially with elementary students. In a sports class your students have a common interest and probably some ability in that particular sport. In a regular PE class the students do not have those things in common. Their abilities and interests usually vary greatly.
Those thoughts drive me to offer variety to the students. In my class my games , activities, and drills are normally different from day to day. Many of these are my own creation. Dodgeball is popular, but rather than playing the same 2 or 3 versions,
I have maybe 50 or more. We might play those games using ping pong balls, dodgeballs, bean bags, soft frisbees, or even exercise balls.
I believe it's important to be able to use different sizes and types of equipment. The students learn different movements and adjust their reactions accordingly. It's also important to provide different challenges. Obstacle courses are one of the best as far as challenges are concerned. Don't limit yourself or your students. I am sharing videos at facebook.com/MrMarksPE and hope these are helpful.
Ancient philosophers realized there was a connection between our brains and a healthy body. It could be summed up with the phrase "healthy body, healthy mind".
In more recent years science has been able to prove this in many ways over and over again.
Exercise can help alleviate depression as well as anxiety. Exercise has been shown to help improve brain function and increase test scores. These are just generalizations, but there are many other benefits. I will be specific in future writings.
My concern is where we stand today culturally. How did we get our students interested in developing an active lifestyle they will carry over into adulthood? Many students have become slaves to technology. They want to play video games all afternoon or just text their friends for hours on end. They have lost imagination and creativity along with this inactivity. How do you interest them in something else?
This is where PE programs should start. Your students are uniquely and wonderfully made. I tell my students how cool this is, because in my words this means that you are one of a kind, there is nobody else like you, and that makes you awesome.
This is so true. I recognize that some students are fast, some thinkers, some jumpers, some can throw far, while others can hit the bullseye every time. There are too many differences to list. A great PE program should take this into account by offering a variety of drills, games, and activities. Give them a chance to succeed and discover their uniqueness. That is where PE begins!