I'll be the first to admit I hated PE. I was overweight, and I have poor depth perception, so running and sports were a misery to me, especially competitive games. It wasn't until I was in my 20s that I learned that I like physical activity. I love to hike and walk with a companion or two. I love to run by myself. I even like to compete, but only against myself. I discovered this enjoyment later, and I still have the occasional hang-up about physical activity, and I have health issues from so many years of problems with my weight. I often wish my schools growing up understood some things about physical fitness that we know today. I want students in our programs to love physical activity in our programs, and to link those things so that they enjoy life-long heath.
Our program commits to 30 minutes of physical activity EVERY DAY! We use SPARK (http://www.sparkpe.org/). I don't know what you, your children, or your program rely on for
SPARK removes all of the things I hated about PE. It de-emphasizes competition, makes games fun, disguises activity, and makes kids feel successful in physical activity. Everybody plays, everybody has fun, everybody wins!
Yesterday, Afterschool students read the story, Javier Builds a Bridge at the start of our Bridges and Towers unit. In the story, a boy named Javier learns about civil engineering, how to design and build a bridge, but also how working together unites people.
I've crossed some crazy bridges, and some famous ones. I walked across the Brooklyn Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge, closed my eyes crossing the Astoria Megler Bridge (I wasn't driving), and walked under the Aqueduct of Segovia. Bridges are amazing feats of engineering. I have to admit, they scare me a little, but I am always astounded by the sheer brilliance and functional beauty of the structures that bring people together across a wide span.
What bridges have you crossed? Have you ever built one? What other ways can we bring people together?
Well, bubbles are all over for the 2015-2016 school year. Conclusion: great opening unit. I've been trying to find one of those for a while, but it is tough to find a balance with timing, fun, and ease for new program assistants. The chatter I'm hearing tells me this was it. We need to work on some space issues, as one of our sites was required to do all of this out doors at 106 degrees. Sigh.
Try it at home:
Big Bubbles: Inyokern put children inside the bubbles! Pour 2-3 inches of bubble mix into the bottom of a kiddie pool. Place a sturdy box or step in the center. Use a hula hoop as a bubble "wand" and draw the bubble up around your child. Voila!
Bubble Solution (I got the recipe from the Exploratorium):
1 gallon water
2/3 cup blue Dawn dish soap
2-3 tbsp glycerine (check in the pharmacy by stomach medicines)
For best results, shake together and let set for 1-2 weeks!
Can bubbles fold? Spin? Split? Stack? Our first day with bubble solution allowed students to freely explore these questions, using only their hands as bubble wands. Older students predicted what they thought bubbles could or couldn't do, but younger students plunged straight into the solution. After clean up, students reviewed what they noticed as they played. Interestingly, without telling them what things to try, the younger students actually tried many of the Bubble Card topics on their own, and the joy on their faces as they experimented was glowing enough to blind!
Pierce afterschool instructor Roberta blew some HUGE bubbles, and then worked with struggling students to stretch, divide, and manipulate the bubbles.