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Stress-Free P.E.

Physical Education should be the absolute most fun time of day for kids and for teachers! But sometimes it seems like it's such a hassle! Getting the equipment set up, planning a great lesson that meets standards and keeps kids engaged, and teaching skills and games that you've never played before can seem overwhelming and zap the fun right out of it! Let's talk about that next week.

PE needs to be not only stress-free for teachers, but for students too. You might ask, isn't that what sports and PE are all about? Sports rewards the winners, so isn't PE all about teaching kids about winning and losing? Can you have competition and at the same time encourage confidence? Yes you can! But how?

Here's how: Make kids feel GREAT by playing games that don't embarrass them or set them up for ridicule and they'll have a GREAT time! Have you ever stopped to think about PE from the point of view of your students? Have you had the realization that the reason kids seem to want to sit out all the time might be because they are scared of getting made fun of?

The Snapshot Rule

Play games that keep everyone involved all the time, and that there are never activities where some kids are moving while others are just watching. I call this the "Snapshot Rule" and it goes a long long way toward making PE a safe and fun place to be for students. If everyone is busy doing their own activities, they don't have the opportunity or even the thought to make fun of anyone else.

It seems like a simple enough concept, but let's take a closer look. What are some popular games? Duck-Duck-Goose comes to mind for the younger grades. How many kids are actively engaged when you take a "snapshot" of the game in action? Who is watching the loser? Hmmmm. Here's another one: Baseball/Softball. If you take a picture of the game in play how many kids are active in your "snapshot?" The answer isn't "everyone" so it's not the best game for PE. Who is watching the shy kid strike out? Everyone. Who is watching when the player misses the catch? Everyone. What's the opportunity for ridicule and embarrassment? Very High.

Can you improve baseball skills without actually playing the game of baseball? Can you add some game-like challenges that incorporate the skills of baseball without having the whole class stand around watching? I think so! How about catch. How about speed catch. How about accuracy catch. How about smaller teams or changing the way you score points?

If you try to start thinking about PE from the point of view of the student, doesn't this add stress to your own job as a coach? Nope. It doesn't have to. At Tandalay we have carefully vetted every activity to make sure that each one follows the Snapshot Rule. We have other rules too of course, but we'll get to some of those later.

This week, take a minute to really study your PE games. Take a mental "snapshot" of each activity while in action. How many players are actively engaged in your picture? The answer should be all of them.

If you're looking for an easy way to find games that keep everyone involved, you can find thousands of games and activities at that follow the Snapshot rule. To do it yourself, simply adapt a rule or two and tweak that game to make sure everyone is playing all the time. Stuck on how to do that? Ask your players! You'd be surprised how good they are at coming up with new and creative rules for old games.

Please share your ideas on our Facebook page!

If you're looking for a simple solution to keep all those kids involved, check out Tandalay Curriculum to see just how easy it can be to teach quality PE!

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