This week, I decided to use the guiding questions for my movement journal:
How do I approach gymnastics with limited resources?
The group that taught gymnastics did a fabulous job of this. They used very few resources: some mats, benches, and beanbags. I think that when most of us think of teaching gymnastics in class, we picture the full set of equipment: the climbing ropes, the trampoline, the balance beam, the parallel bars, etc. During the last class, I learned that none of this equipment is necessary to teach gymnastics. I also learned that for the most part, teaching gymnastics for elementary school would involve teaching fundamental movement skills. Using less equipment is also advantageous in that it would be easier to monitor safety. Fewer injuries would occur with balancing with beanbags than climbing ropes, for instance.
How can gymnastics foster creativity and enjoyment in movement for my students?
All of the activities we did in class fostered creativity and enjoyment. The first activity our group did required us to stand on a bench as a group and rearrange ourselves. Getting from one side to another without falling or causing someone else to fall involved some creativity and teamwork. The second activity involved doing different kinds of movement to get from one end of the bench to the other. We used creativity in this activity by varying the types of balances we did at the end. In the last activity we decided to play a game of tag while balancing the beanbags on top of our heads. With Steve, we were asked to create a routine using a few types of movement: a rotation, a traveling movement, and a balance.
What ideas are used to create a safer, inclusive and respectful environment?
One way of making the class inclusive is to allow students the option to not participate in activities that are more challenging, or offering them the option to do an easier movement. When Steve asked everyone to do cartwheels, he gave us the option of walking across. My cartwheels are fairly bad, so I was glad to have this option, especially as everyone was watching the procession of people doing perfect cartwheels across the floor. In terms of creating a respectful environment, I think it would be a good idea to do this from the beginning of the school year. I would engage students in a dialogue about it and bring it up from time to time.