In an effort to constantly engage and surprise my students I try as often as possible to tap into their seemingly endless source of imagination.
When a student spends all day, every day at school, it is inevitable that at times things will begin to drag. Repetition and the demands of everyday school life can make classes seem to blend together and the risk here is that content begins to drift by without being absorbed.
So how then, to wake students up, snap them out of it? It is my hope that students can find surprises when they arrive at the gym, something to generate excitement or intrigue.
I have a lot of fun with my Preps and Year 1's in Phys Ed when we go on an imagination walk. This is the ultimate locomotor activity in my mind as it can be done with little or no equipment and because it is limited only by imagination, no two classes are ever the same.
First I begin my lesson by explaining which skills they will need if they are to come on this adventure with me.
"Hey James, show me your best jump, 2 feet together, swing your arms... Wow, what a great jump! You can definitely come on this adventure with me. Here put on your spacesuit and get in the rocket, careful, the last step is missing so you'll have to jump up and in the door."
Sometimes we go to space, sometimes underwater. Wherever we go, we line up and move around the gym in single file, tackling each obstacle as it comes across our path.
Last week we went on a bear hunt. That involved balancing on a very narrow path through the woods (a line on the ground), jumping over fallen trees (pool noodles), crawling on our bellies through a cave (under a row of chairs), hopping across a field of stones (spot markers), and marching over a bridge (skill step ladder). When we got to the bear cave (the storeroom), we peeked inside and the bear roared. When we heard this we ran all the way back to where we came from, performing each action as we crossed back over the obstacle.
Upon returning to the middle of the gym, and the real world, the students were huffing and puffing and begging "again, again!"
After an activity like this, I often leave the equipment there and use them as stations, or just give the students a couple of minutes to go and practise their favourite skill or obstacle.
The beauty of this is that it never gets old because the story is different every time. Next week could be an adventure in the wild west or rafting down a river or even... [shiver]... to the south pole.
If you ever get stuck for ideas mid-adventure, just ask the students, you can bet they'll be overflowing with possibilities.