Sheena’s Movement Journal – October 21st

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.

2 thoughts on “Sheena’s Movement Journal – October 21st”

  1. Hi Sheena,
    I totally agree with you. Before last week’s lesson, I thought to teach a gymnastic lesson we have to use the complex gymnastic equipment. However, their team did a fantastic job demonstrating ways of teaching basic fundamental movements skill with limited equipment (ie. benches, bean bags, lines on the floor). I think this is something to keep in mind when we teach in rural areas or underprivileged areas; some schools might have really limited resources in the classroom, but we can still teach all the skill sets we need the students to learn using different strategies.

  2. I agree Sheena, using less equipment will be advantageous for us teachers. A large part of our job will require working with what we have, especially if we end up teaching in inner city schools where resources like gymnastic equipment are limited. Gymnastics is more than just teaching how to balance on a beam or launching off a springboard, it also requires teaching fundamental skills (i.e. balance, motor, movement). By focusing on fundamentals we can be creative with the resources that we have and the execution of our lesson.

    Gymnastics is also one of those activities that lends itself to be creative. It’s an art; it requires coming up with movement that is original. For example, we can ask students to apply what they’ve learned and create a routine. Movement doesn’t just have to be instructional but it can be an opportunity for students to explore their creativity. Unlike more traditional sports that are game based, gymnastics is really a very unique activity that before, I didn’t realize the value in teaching. I’ve now realized the importance of helping students develop those fundamental movement skills as well as teaching them how to apply it (i.e. creating a routine, knowing when to use those movement/balance skills in situations).

    As teachers we will want to create an inclusive and respectful environment in gym class. We need to be cognizant that students tend to compare themselves with another and so offering students the option of doing an easier movement is so important. We also want to make students aware that it doesn’t matter what skill level that they are at but they point of their learning is that they are always growing. I agree Sheena, this is a conversation that needs to be had at the beginning of the year so students can adopt this mindset for everything that they do in PE.

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