Class this week caused me to reflect on my own experiences with gymnastics and how much I loved it. It was always my favourite unit of PE throughout elementary school. It was always an exciting time walking into the gym and noticing the gymnastics equipment set up. I think the main reason I liked it is because it really felt like simple play. In my experience, gymnastics never had a distinct set of rules to follow, unlike other units such as basketball or volleyball. Of course we had to stay safe, but we were also able to explore new movements and positions our own way. We usually worked through stations and tried different moves. We were also given the opportunity to create our own gymnastics routine. I remember this being a highlight in Grade 3.
I think opportunities for kids to create their own routine or game is very important. My practicum class created their own game and the kids were very engaged. For the Pro D Day I attended a “5 steps to a happy classroom” workshop with Scott Hughes and he discussed the importance of play in the classroom. Creative play is an opportunity for kids to engage in their own learning and feel a sense of ownership over what they are doing. I think this can be applied to gymnastics and many other subjects. It allows students to be creative and to contribute to their own learning environment. I hope to bring many experiences like this to my future classroom!
3 thoughts on “Gymnastics – Maymie”
I agree, I feel that prioritizing fun and creativity in a classroom setting is important. And why not in gymnastics? I enjoyed creating our routine when we were learning inside the gymnastics room. It gave kids time to fool around and create something that was fun for their bodies to do when in motion. I think that learning happens not just visually, but can also be encouraged and solidified through physical activity and motion.
I agree with both of you! Maybe it’s because there aren’t a set of rules students have to sit down and learn (as Maymie you mentioned) or maybe it’s the different equipment (remember the vault!). Maybe it’s both! For whatever reason, gymnastics is fun. I think most students enjoy gymnastics units.
Maymie, I think allowing students to create their own gymnastic routine is a wonderful idea. You obviously really enjoyed it as you still remember it. Students get to be creative and have some independence. What a great idea.
I also think gymnastics, because it is fun, is an excellent way for students to learn some of those fundamental movements like balance. I think giving students equipment like balance beams (a.k.a. benches) challenges students. Children like to take risks and this is a safe challenge for them. It is one also where they can be successful and have a sense of accomplishment.
Maymie, I liked reading about your perspective on gymnastics class during your elementary P.E. classes. I feel like my experience differs because there was little emphasize on gymnastics at my school. I remember using the gymnastic mats for track and field sports, like high jump, and we rarely incorporated cartwheels, handstands, or balance-beams into our program at all.
Gymnastics also came with the stigma that it was meant for girls, so rarely would I participate in activities that could jeopardize my ‘manliness’. I hope that we can encourage kids to stop this way of thinking; gymnastics is fun, and it’s also applicable to so many other sports. I’ve begun to see this gymnast-literacy in the realm of extreme sports, one being parkour. When new activities like parkour are brought into the spotlight and showcased as extreme sports, there is generally a massive gain in attention from the target market of the endorsers. I hope this attention can spread interest into the realm of gymnastics, and have the gender-based stigma removed from the sport. Our hope lies with parkour!