This is an excerpt from Teaching Movement Education by Karen Weiller Weiller Abels & Jennifer M. Bridges.
Location is the category title given to self- and general space, suggesting where the movement takes place. Self-space comprises each child’s individual working space, and general space is the total space you are providing the child for movement.
Self-space is that area immediately surrounding the body. Self-space goes with you as you travel. General space is the area surrounding self-space, the space that is available for movement. Children should be able to demonstrate moving into all the space available for movement while still working in their own space.
Teaching the element of self-space early helps children work independently without moving into other children’s space. Begin by selecting the element cards of self-space and general space and placing them in the pocket chart or pointing to them on the word wall. Children need to know that their own self-space is not only the space that surrounds them and moves with them, but also the space in which they perform whatever additional movements they are learning.
The following activities use carpet squares or hula hoops to introduce the element of self-space. Older children may not need these props to understand this element. As children work with partners or in small groups, they should understand that their self-space is important for solving the movement problems posed to them. You may choose to tell children that their self-space may also be called their working or personal space. For example, when children are working with a partner or in small groups, they still have self-space. This self-space is that space surrounding the children as they work or move. You may also use hula hoops, poly spots, or jelly-fish floor discs to teach self-space and general space. Hula hoops can travel with children as they learn about general space (see appendix B for example sources). You may be more comfortable with the term bubble, asking children to stay inside their bubbles as they move through the general space. Be sure to provide children with start and stop signals.
Activity 1: Me and My Hoop
Using elements learned in the body concept area, see how many creative ways children can find to solve this movement problem.
Hula hoops or jellyfish floor discs (one for each child)
1. On the signal, put both hands on the floor inside your hoop and see how many ways you can move your body around your hands.
2. Can you make your body small and curled as you move it around your hands?
3. Can you make your body long and stretched as you move it around your hands?
Activity 2: Object Control
This activity adds another variation to working in self-space. Encourage children to begin to think about their self-space as the area in space where they do their movement work (working space).
- Objects to delineate self-space (hula hoops, carpet squares, or jellyfish floor discs; one for each child)
- Objects to use in self-space (yarn balls, beanbags, soft coated foam balls; one for each child)
1. Now, we are going to combine objects with our self-space element. On the signal, choose an object and find your self-space.
2. See how many different things you can do with your object while standing in your own self-space. I am looking for you to control your object. That means you tell the object where to go rather than the object telling you where to go. [You want to encourage bouncing, tossing, catching, and rolling the object.]
3. Let’s specifically work on throwing and catching your object while staying in your own self-space. Remember, I want to see how well you can control your object. [You are working on children staying in their own self-space while undertaking a variety of movements as well as working on start and stop signals.]
Begin your introduction of the element general space by holding up the element card or pointing to it on the word wall. An understanding of general space allows children to move freely around all the space open for movement. This may be in the gym or in a classroom. If you are teaching this element in the classroom, you may have limited space for movement; encourage the children to move all around the available space. In a physical education environment, children should move into all the empty spaces. Teaching self-space and general space will help not only in movement element acquisition but also in class management.
Read more from Teaching Movement Education.