By Dr. Robert Pangrazi, Human Kinetics Author, Professor Emeritus ASU
Don't have enough equipment or supplies? Use peer coaching or teaching so that equipment is shared, students practice taking turns, and you don’t need to split your focus and risk the occurrence of incidents through lack of supervision. Another option is station teaching whereby each small group uses different equipment. Any approach used to overcome equipment shortages, however, is never a good long-term solution. Equipment is what you use to teach skills, and quality instruction requires that all students have a piece for their own use. (A Teaching Tip taken from Dynamic Physical Education for Elementary School Children-19th Edition.)
For a K-2 lesson focus activity, have students work on jumping boxes. Jumping boxes offer the opportunity to jump from a moderate height while learning to land softly and in an upright position. Since youngsters this age have oversized heads, they are top-heavy and need to land with their eyes looking forward as opposed to looking down. Landing in a balanced position is a major goal and reinforcement should go to those students who don’t fall. Jumping boxes can be constructed or purchased. If neither of those options work, folded tumbling mats work great as a take-off platform.
When using any type of apparatus (i.e. tumbling or bench/balance beam activities), using return activities can offer students an increased amount of activity. There is always a limited number of large apparatus so students will be in groups of 5-6 waiting for a turn. However, if students approach the jumping box, jump, or step on to the jumping platform, and then dismount, their next task is to perform a return activity. Return activities require children to do a movement task (jumping, hopping, skipping, animal walks, etc.) after performing on the apparatus. This reduces the time children stand in line waiting for another turn after completing their task on the apparatus. For example, when teaching jumping box activities, give students this task:
Do a jump dismount from the box, skip to a cone (one per group) at the opposite end of the activity area, and gallop back to the starting point.
This offers much more activity and students are engaged in return activities while their peers are completing the jumping box activities. Fine-tune how far students do the return activities to ensure that there is constant movement. Signs that stipulate return activities allow you time to encourage and help students on the apparatus.
Bob Pangrazi, PhD, taught for 31 years at Arizona State University in the department of exercise science and physical education and is now a professor emeritus. He is a best-selling author of numerous books and texts over the years, including multiple editions of Dynamic Physical Education for Elementary School Children. This text is made even more practical in release of the 19th edition with the free interactive website Dynamic PE ASAP.