Saturday, May 24, 2008

Duck! Duck!...GOOSE!

It was turning out to be a blustery day. I was glad I had an extra sweatshirt available. Substituting on a rainy day can be a challenge. Of course you don't really know the kids and who might be the potential "stir-crazy" problems. I have several ideas for indoor P.E. in my "bag-of-tricks". I noticed that I was scheduled to have 45 minutes of P.E. out on the field with two classes of the four, 2nd grade rooms. It called for running a lap and playing that old favorite standby "Duck, Duck, Goose".

Before school, I was told I was early, I checked with the office for the phone numbers of the three other teachers named in the plan just in case we had to cancel because of the inclement weather. I later met them in the halls and at lunch. They fully planned to go ahead because two of them had a "free period" while the other two of us took their kids. That was valuable time for planning and paper correcting. The kids, from the moment they arrived, were reminding me of P.E. "Today was a day they had it." I could tell they wanted it badly and needed it. These types of day always seem to make them more "physically interactive"...especially the boys. I also noticed that this school went an extra half hour to allow for an extra P.M. recess just before P.E. I didn't have "the duty". Most of these schools now days have hired extra playground aides to handle all recesses. They dress in bright green vests, carry megaphones with sirens and "brook no guff"(?) from anyone. They are in charge out there. Kids freeze and squat at the ending bell/buzzer and, when they are quiet and motionless, key ones are to walk the equipment back to the cart. i.e. balls, jump ropes, hoola hoops etc. Then they are whistled to line up at their designated spot to march to their rooms or to the field, led by their assigned teachers. Most teachers show up on time. Straight, quiet lines are striven for as they return to their "salons of learning".

I've had 40+ kids for P.E. before. No problema. We usually warm up, stretch and run a lap. The we get to the assigned games. The weather was permitting, the grass was thick and unmowed, so we went for it. The boys were being so rowdy that I, early on, decided, on the spot, to separate the boys from the girls. We, of course, had our usual "I hurt myself at recess" ones and "I need to sit out or go to the health office"...and "take two other girls with me." Yes, there were even tears. So off they go to the office. (soon to come back, all better, only to "get hurt again" during the game). Meanwhile, the boys just couldn't help "dog-piling" on each other. I'm used to this having had four boys who loved to play, "kill the guy with the stick" on our front lawn. So I got the boys going first with making a big circle and starting the game of D.D.G. with the traditional chasing around the edge until you made it back to your original seat on the grass. They were "diggin' it". Then I went over to get the girls started. They were a bit more "delicate" about how to do it and what the "rules" were. After a while we felt the need to add some "creative alterations" to the game runles. i.e. If you got caught, then you had to turn around and chase the chaser back to their previous spot. If you didn't catch them, you were in the "mush pot" (or stew pot as a "cooked goose") Then you could say, "Quack, quack, honk" instead as you touched the top of each succeeding head. The girls were enjoying that version until I was told that the boys were "fighting" by tattling girls. Yes, they were piling on again. So, I broke up the big pile and gathered them and made them take another lap "since they didn't really want to play my civilized game". Moans...but off they went.

When they got back, I decided to introduce three "wrestling games" among them. "Bad decision?" We'd see. I had them pick a partner for "combat". They were game and groovin' on it. These were forms of "Indian Wrestling" that I have used, successfully before in such situations. The girls continued to play D.D.G./ Q.Q H. serenely just 30 feet away. The first "matches" had them lying side-by-side on their backs facing in opposite directions. They hook elbows and on the count of three, they touch opposing toes over their heads. On the third count, they hook at the knees and try to topple each other over on their heads and shoulders. They loved it. Next we had them stand toe-to-toe with right feet sides touching. They shake hand (the thumb-wrist way) and proceed to try and pull/push each other off balance for a "fall". They loved it. Lastly, they were challenged to engage in the age-old thumb wrestling confrontations. They hook opposing fingers in a hand shake and count out three thumb-touches going side to side. On the third touch, they try to pin the other's thumb for the count of 3. That was their favorite.

P.E. was over and they were all happy. Physical tensions were released and they could get their homework packets and go home. There's no denying they all needed this kind of "education" and it too is sadly neglected or omitted altogether from today's curriculum. We are missing the boat here. Let's educate and involved the "whole child" not just the "test-taking" pencil pushing one. RRR

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dramatic play/sing is the favorite of a Kindergarten class at which I volunteer. This is the second year they are performing "The Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf" This year I embellished the original words/tune for them to act out. They do it in pantomine with masks and much dancing, running and falling down. RRR