Athletics (tried & tested) – Socially Distanced P.E!

So that is the end of Week 2 under the new Covid-19 rules. During Week 1 I quickly found out what works and what doesn’t!

Currently I teach 6 bubbles in a day, therefore I have found it is easier to clean all of the equipment and set it up early in the morning. Then clean in between lessons (typically I have about 15 minutes to do this – it’s a rush!). When the bubble comes out I have to remain far away from them as to never come in contact with their bubble – I lost my voice a little by Wednesday of Week 1!

The children aren’t allowed to touch any of the equipment, but I clean it just to be safe anyway. I’m not happy enough with a few of the lessons that I have been teaching that I don’t mind sharing it. Now that I know it works!

I’ve been using hoops to help the children maintain their distance. From the start of week 1 the children started their lesson by finding a ‘base’ hoop. These are organised in 2 rows and 3m apart from each other (to allow for running around the hoop). All lessons start quick and smoothly now as the kids find one without being prompted – so that has worked well!

My favourite lesson I’ve taught so far looks like the images underneath – a lot of equipment set out but none will be touched all being well. It takes a while to set out but it helps with smooth transitions during the lesson, each bubble is having 45 minute lessons so I don’t want to waste any time setting up or explaining things for too long.

The ‘base’ hoops are to the left of the equipment that you can see clearly on that image. To help you understand what it is you’re looking at I made this:

For the Warm ups I have been playing these simple games (all bubbles have just enjoyed moving their body and being a bit daft – especially the Year 6’s!)

Statues – Run on the spot, when I shout out an object/book/film the children must be a statue of that thing!

Statue Tennis – We pick a theme (Sports Stars, Books, Films etc) then I take turns in naming something from that genre with either another member of Staff/child. When one person runs out of ideas, the other person wins! – The kids act out everything suggested and run on the spot whilst waiting.

Traffic Lights – You’ll 3 lights and to decide what each colour means. I.e – Green = Run on the Spot, Amber = Jumping Jacks, Red = Stop and freeze completely still. If anybody makes a mistake they have to run around their 3 times before joining back in.

Reactions – Command/Response orders to see who is switched on. Touch, Jump, Rotate, Fast feet in and out of the hoop, Plank, Hop etc etc etc

Hopefully you get the picture for the warm-ups in the ‘base’ hoop. From their I ask the children to go to their ‘Race’ hoop (the kids have become quite slick and moving into the right hoops already, it is amazing how well they adapt to such a new way of doing things).

One by one I send the kids to a race hoop. These are organised in rows (again 3m apart) and in two colours. For differentiation purposes I try to match children by ability, I.e The two quickest kids will be ‘Red 1’ & ‘Yellow 1’.By these hoops I have put cones on the floor to show the kids which hoop is Yellow 1, Yellow 2, Yellow 3. Therefore if I say to a Reception child ‘Red 4’ they know they have to stand in the Red hoop with 4 cones by it.

To teach sprinting the children wait to hear their number. When they do they have to sprint around the track in the centre of the lesson area – then back to their hoop. Obviously the kids have to know which way they are running!

To teach hurdling technique the children run away from the track in a vertical direction. Touching the blue cone and hurdling back to the hoop. I had a go at teaching hurdling technique with the Reception and Year 1 bubbles and they were brilliant! They also understand exactly where they had to run. You may notice some columns have 2 hurdles instead of 3, this is to accommodate L/A children so the level of challenge is not as high. At the end of the lesson we managed to combine both disciplines for a race. The children ran away from the track, hurdling in both directions then ran around the track and back to their hoop. Hard work but loads of socially distanced fun!

In between each column of hurdles is a space where I have started to teach a ‘field’ element. Long jump for Reception & Year 1. Year 6 have been developing their triple jump! Each child faces away from the track and steps to their right, maintaining the distancing rules. For differentiation the green cones can be moved backwards as the kids progress. I drew lines on the ground to help the kids aspire to improve. We pretended that each line represented a medal at the Olympics.

This lesson structure has enabled me to teach differentiated, challenging, fun lessons whilst adhering to the rules. If you are having a go at this lesson I would say the key is the differentiation, try and match the kids as best as you can for close races. You may need to move hoops backwards to stretch very able kids.

I will say it has been worth every effort, mentally and physically the kids need P.E. Right now in a scenario that is very different to the norm, during P.E the kids don’t feel so apart. For that period of time they’re just kids, laughing and moving, like they should be.

I’ll keep sharing the things that work – now we just need the weather to cheer up a bit! Enjoy your weekend everyone x