February 15, 2013

Gymnasitics Part 1

Sorry I have been so quiet lately. We have been working on gymnastics in all of our classes which is my favorite unit of the entire year. I got this lesson from Karen Roof (see previous post) when I was doing my student teaching a few years back. This unit is very controlled and a good change of pace. Below I am going to lay out the different lessons that we have taught this year. The first four lessons of this unit were taught the same to K-5.

Week 1 - Balancing

In our first week of gymnastics we challenged the students with the question "what is a balance?". Most of the classes went straight to talking about a balance beam. While that was not the answer we were looking for we were able to guide the students to the answer we were looking for by talking about what you do on a balance beam. The students told us that you need to have control and not fall. The definition we used for a "balance" was to stay completely still for 3-5 seconds in one position. We told the younger students we could count seconds in alligators (1 alligator, 2 alligator...) and the older students that they could count in Mississippi's, or one thousands.
We then had students practice balancing on different body parts (balance on 2 feet and 1 hand) and then on different numbers of body parts (can you balance on 4 body parts). Later in the lesson we had students move to music using different locomotor skills and we would yell out a number. When the music stopped the students would quickly get into a balance with that many body parts and hold it for 3-5 seconds.  We extended our 3-5 lesson by having the students work on partner balances. Below are a few pictures of some of the different partner balances our students came up with.

Week 2 - Rolling

In week 2 we moved on to the next skill in our unit which was rolling. We talked about 4 main types of rolls. They were the log roll, egg (side) roll, forward, and backward roll. We taught these rolls starting with the easiest (log) and moved to the hardest (backward)

Week 3 - Jumping and Landing

Before I talk about jumping I want to first thank the Town of Fort Mill for letting us use 10 recycle bins. We used these recycle bins for jumping boxes. I took the bins reinforced the tops with pieces of plywood attached with bolts through the already existing drainage holes. We taught the students to jump using a few simple steps. 1) Bend knees and swing arms back, 2) Throw arms in air and extend knees, and 3) Jump and land on two quiet feet. We taught our students that landing on two quiet feet meant landing on the balls of their feet with two bent knees. We first only allowed the students to jump and land off of the boxes. After they showed us they could do this we started letting them do other things like making shapes in the air (tucks, pikes, splits) and spins.

Week 4 - Transfer of weight

This is most of our advanced students favorite weeks. This is wear we do our mule kicks, handstands, cartwheels and round offs. We discuss that a transfer of weight is actually what the name states, transferring your weight from your hands to your feet and back to your hands again.

My next blog post will take us through Week 5 and 6 which for the younger students were stations and older students building, practicing, and performing a routine.  This will be coming very shortly!

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