Category Archives: Physical Education (PE)

We’re all professionals here

We can’t be experts in everything, but we still have to deal with everything.

Now I want to make a confession – which I hope you might keep to yourself.  You see,  I’m pretty naff at sports and games.

Well actually, more than pretty naff.  I really just don’t have that hand-eye coordination that is fundamental when it comes to catching a ball.  Or throwing a ball come to that.

And then, not to put too fine a point on it, I don’t have much coordination between my legs and the rest of my body either.

Of course, I am sure your colleagues don’t suffer in this way, but I have to say that when I was offered the chance to publish a pack of PE challenges, written for teachers who don’t have much knowledge of PE, I jumped at the chance.

Not because they are lacking in coordination like me, but rather because coordinated or not, if they have no background in PE, they may well be finding PE lessons less than their favourite time of the week.

And so we have published a set of handbooks that enable teachers to deliver outstanding PE lessons with maximum pupil participation, no matter what their own physical abilities.

But there’s another point – because just as we, as teachers, are all different, so are the children, and so I was insistent that the materials include individual, group and whole class activities.  As a result, everyone can be involved.

Better still, because the book is not written for the PE trained teacher, the activities are laid out to complement the September 2014 National Curriculum Physical Education requirements. That’s another easy reduction in your workload!

Thus if you have a colleague who is not completely excited by the regular PE lessons she/he has to take, you can simply hand over a copy of the 50 Brilliant PE Challenges for the appropriate age group, and everyone will be happy.

For more information and examples of the activities please do take a look at our website.  I do believe some of your colleagues might well feel that their weekly schedule has just got a lot easier to handle.

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, Physical Education (PE), Primary school, Teaching Ideas

Sit still or wiggle?

Just because children are told to sit still, that doesn’t mean that’s the best way to study.

“Put a group of 8 year olds in a room and play some music with a clear rhythm, and they will move.  Some will move gracefully, others may jump about waving their arms and kicking out.”

We looked at my colleague as he said this – still an enthusiastic and highly energetic dancer himself, although well past the age most people associate with anything more than a slow waltz.

“So it’s a primitive response to rhythm,” said another of the editorial team in a ‘I’m stating the obvious’ voice.  “Does that help children learn French?” 

“Yes,” said the dancer.  He swears by dancing, dances modern styles rather than ballroom several nights a week, and travels across the country, even across Europe whenever possible.

“But most people don’t dance,” came the counter argument.

And then I got the point.  True, in our society most people don’t dance – but children do dance.  In most cases, no one has taught them, they just do it.  Which is why dance and movement are ways to teach other subjects – in this case French.

Because if you can actively involve the body, learning comes more naturally and stays in the memory far longer.

Which is why we have a DVD of simple routines which combine movements with repetition of important phrases, making learning languages easy and enjoyable.

To see how click on this link, it takes you to a part of the les couleurs video where Lynn Dryden, the author of Jouez, Dansez et Apprenez le Français demonstrates her dance routine with the children of Mountfield Primary School in Newcastle.

“Show me research that suggests that sitting still enhances learning,” I said, and there was silence for once in my office. 

“Movement is distracting,” replied the main objector on my team (why is there always one nay-sayer in every group?)  

“But not when everyone does it,” I replied.

And so here, for each topic, in addition to the main dance routine, there is also a bank of movement activities that introduce and reinforce the vocabulary, enabling the whole topic to be taught actively.

These tried and tested routines and activities have been developed by a language specialist who is also a qualified dance teacher and have been utilised with pupils and students of all ages, achieving outstanding results throughout.

There is more information on Jouez, Dansez et Apprenez le Français on our website.

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, French, Key Stage 2, Modern Foreign Languages (MFL), Music, National Curriculum, Physical Education (PE), Primary school, Teaching Ideas

Top 10 playground games for primary schools

Now that the weather is getting better, are you looking for some good games to get children active in the playground? These games will get children moving and will help to develop PE skills and teamwork. They have been taken from 100+ Fun Ideas for Playground Games.

100+ Fun Idea Playground Games- Brilliant Publications

100+ Fun Ideas Playground Games

1. Hens and Chicks

This is an ideal game for very young children to play.

  • Chalk out two round circles on the playground approximately 15 metres apart.
  • One pupil is chosen to be Mother Hen who must stand in between the two circles. The remainder of the class are then divided into two groups, one team standing in each of the two designated circles.
  • When Mother Hen shouts ‘Come Home Chickens’ each group have to swop locations while Mother Hen has to try and catch as many ‘Chickens’ as she can.
  • Whoever is caught must then remain and help Mother Hen. The last chicken caught gets to be the next Mother Hen.

2. Scream!

Be aware this is a noisy game and so should preferably be played on a large open field well away from the rest of the school.

  • Everyone lines up alongside one another at one end of the field, and as the teacher shouts ‘Now’ each child takes a big breath and screams as loud as they are able, whilst running towards the opposite side of the field.
  • It may sound easy but the trick is that they can only run for as long as they can scream, so when they run out of breath they must stop.
  • Whoever runs the farthest is the winner.

3. Walk tall

  • The ideal rope game, which can be played indoors or outdoors. Place the rope in a straight line on the ground.
  • The aim of each player is to try to walk the straight line, holding out their arms to balance as they walk. It may sound easy but requires a lot of concentration and if they should lose balance at any point then they are out of the game, whoever reaches the end without falling is the winner.

4. Figure ropes

  • This is a fun game to play for all ages. Simply divide the class into groups and supply each one with a rope. Give them three minutes to make up a fun figure using the rope and then see who can guess what each others shape is supposed to be.

5. Time ball

  • The basic aim is for each child to individually throw the ball up into the air as high as they can throw. The teacher records the time before it reaches the ground.
  • Whichever pupil throws the highest (their ball stays up the longest) is the winner.

Note: Make sure to choose the area wisely and well away from school windows.

6. Scavenger hunt

  • Have a good walk around the playing field and playground looking out for certain items that are in abundance. Make a mental note of these and their whereabouts. (Dandelion leaves or flowers, daisies, feathers, small stones, a twig etc)
  • Ask the children to get together in groups of three or four.
  • Give them a list of items you wish to collect. The winners are the first group to collect all the items on your list.

7. Freeze

  • This is another version of the popular game Tag in which one person is still ‘it’ but when they touch someone, then whoever it was must immediately stand still. The only way they can be freed is if someone crawls between their legs. The game continues until all the players are standing in statues and the last person to be tagged is ‘it’ for the following game.

8. Hula-hoop contest

  • Most schools have hula-hoops in their PE store and this is the ideal game for children to get them out, have fun and get fit at the same time.
  • When the teacher announces ‘go’ the players simply hula hoop as long as they can and the winner is the one who manages to keep the hoop spinning the longest. But if they touch it at anytime with their hands or if the hoop drops then they are out of the game.

9. Who’s the Donkey?

  • The children stand in a circle several metres apart.
  • The idea is that the ball is passed between the pupils until it is dropped. As soon as the ball starts being passed around the circle the children begin counting from 10 down to 0 and the last person to have touched the ball at ‘0’ becomes the donkey.
  • Depending on the time-scale allow each person two/three lives. The game continues until there is only one person remaining who is the winner.

10. Tug of War

  • A super challenging team game. Divide the class into two teams but try not to make it boys against girls. A long piece of rope is stretched out across a chalked dividing line on the playground.
  • After the count of three the teacher gives the signal and both teams start pulling towards their direction. Whichever team manages to pull the other team over to their side are the clear winners.

For more ideas for games to play outdoors with children get Christine Green’s 100+ Fun Ideas for Playground Games.

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Filed under Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, Physical Education (PE)

What makes gold medals? A positive growth mindset!

Did you know that when Adam Peaty was 14 years old, he was swimming in the slow lane with 10-year old girls? Through a huge amount of hard work, resilience  and sacrifice (and good coaching) he’s gone on to win Gold at the Olympics.

Or how about British boxer Lawrence Okolie? He was bullied at school for being overweight. But watching the Olympics in 2012 was life-changing for him. He was so inspired by Anthony Joshua winning an Gold medal, he quit his job in a fast food restaurant and started training to be a boxer. Just four years later he is in Rio representing Great Britain.

Ben Burgess, author of the attached article (a primary headteacher and former professional footballer) argues that the word “talented” should be banned from schools due to the negative effect it has on children. Instead we should be looking for ways of developing positive growth mindsets. As Burgess says, “Obviously people are born with different physiological strengths, but so much comes down to opportunity, circumstance and a desire to work hard, overcome failures and improve.”

I, for one, hope we hear many more stories, like those of Adam Peaty and Lawrence Okolie.

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Filed under News, Physical Education (PE), PSHE

Games to make your sports day outstanding

Does your sports day include the same games every year? Are you in need of some new ideas? Try these easy-to-follow activities that require minimal equipment.

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Filed under Key Stage, Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, National Curriculum, Physical Education (PE), Teaching Ideas