2. Wet Weather Plans
Don’t let the rain dampen your spirits!
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail…” Benjamin Franklin
With the Australian winter months hitting hard over the past few weeks, the thinking cap has been on permanently, trying to maximize participation and activity levels in confined spaces.
Unfortunately we have no control over the weather, however, what you can control is your preparation for when - not if - the bad weather hits.
This post was inspired by the following situation…
With rain pouring down outside, I had to cancel Year level sport with the Year 3s - something that I usually run along with the Year 3 teachers. However, during this time I cover the Year 3 Team Leader to have some time release, so a cancellation of sport doesn't mean going back and kicking up the heels in the office, it means into the classroom with the class I go. I had nothing prepared, so I said to the classroom teacher that I’d be happy to run with whatever they had planned… The subject happened to be writing, and the class were looking at Rhetorical questions, that’s easy right? Fair to say I had no idea how to teach ‘rhetorical questions’ - I’m well aware of what they are, but conveying that understanding and meaning to 22 eight/nine-year olds was tough. I like to be prepared for this stuff, but I completely threw myself into the deep end by not having been prepared. I didn’t do it justice and the poor kids are probably still trying to work out what I was trying to teach. So after this, I developed a 'kitbag' of wet weather activities so that next time wet weather hits, I’m ready to go.
These ideas are more than the GoNoodles, Just Dances and Cosmic Kids Yoga - fantastic resources no doubt, but they are not designed to stimulate or engage students for an entire lesson. They are fantastic for a quick tune in activity, but I wouldn’t expect students to copy and engage with these for a full 50 minutes.
I created a couple of fitness games a while ago, these (ironically) are made for outdoors. However, I have thrown these into my Wet Weather Kitbag as I get the students to use their own knowledge of exercises to adapt the exercises so that they can be completed indoors. Therefore, they have ownership over what exercises they must do while playing the game. In this specific game, designed like a board game, whenever a student lands on an exercise, they must complete it before the other player/s has their turn. If they land on the ladder, they must ‘climb’ the ladder and go back to that spot. This keeps them engaged with playing a game, but also gets them active at the same time.
Another game is ‘The Dice Roll Fitness Game’. This game is simple - there is a list of numbers 1 - 6, with a correlating exercise. Have the players roll the dice, whichever number comes up first, they must do that exercise. Roll the dice again and multiply that number by two, and do that many reps of the exercise. Not only is this getting them active, but it's helping with their multiplication skills as well. This can also be modified to add in more Math, as you could roll the dice twice and add those numbers together to get the number of reps, or as an alternative, take whatever number you roll away from a set number eg. All students take away from the number 20. Roll a 3, they do 17 reps of the exercise....the world can be your oyster.
These games are both available as a free download at the following link: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Fitness-Games-4592987
Use resources that already exist to your advantage!
There a number of ways of doing this and I’m sure you can get creative and create even more exercise opportunities for kids within the classroom.
Uno (Learnt from Sean De Morton @Mr_D_PE): Simply designate an exercise per colour and then play Uno as per usual. Whenever your opponent places a card down, you must do the associated exercise with that card and perform that activity the number of times as displayed on the card. Eg. Blue may be push ups. If a Blue 7 is put down, the player/s must do 7 push ups. Create a way for the students to see the different exercises and utilize the special cards as different exercises to throw a spanner into the game.
Jenga (Also learnt from Sean De Morton @Mr_D_PE): Using the Jenga blocks, place a coloured dot in the middle of the block so that it cannot be seen when the tower is built. Play Jenga as per usual, however, when the student pulls out a block they must identify the colour of that block. Again, that colour correlates with an exercise which the student must then complete. Have students choose the number of times they must complete that exercise or set a number based upon the type of exercise being completed.
Snap: Play snap as per usual, however, whoever loses the snap, must complete an exercise (or multiple) and complete the same amount as the cards that are within the ‘snap’ pile. Eg. If snap is won and there are 31 cards in the pile, the student that did not win must do 31 reps of an exercise (eg. 31 situps) or the players may make up this 31 by doing 10 pushups, 10 sit ups and 11 burpees.
Why not play games within the room. On this page there is a link with the title ‘Equipment-less Games’, all of which can be played within a room or modified to suit the space you are working within. Give these a read and give them a try. These are games that I have used regularly in order to engage students in activities. While they may not be the most active games in terms of fitness levels, they are a great opportunity to discuss sportsmanship, honesty and build connections amongst the students.
Another quiet game I have played before is a game of ‘Celebrity Heads’, where rather than being a ‘celebrity’, the students up the front are different sports or sports related events eg. Olympics, Baseball and Cricket World Cup. This therefore gets the students thinking globally about different sports and sporting events, and the different rules/teams that lie within each.
These are activities that can be done within the room and will get the students thinking about PE and movement rather than actually taking part in physical exercise. These include a word search and/or, cross words, where students are given clues about sports and must therefore know rules of sports to get the correct answer. Students can also spend time creating minor games and/or warm up games, or even creating posters that show the importance of living a healthy lifestyle that could be displayed around their classroom, gym or even the school.
Another option is doing an activity analysis. Watch a sport or a highlight package of a sport and dissect the various FMS that are required to complete the game, or watch Ninja Warrior runs and highlight particular movement patterns and discuss how students could practice and strengthen these areas themselves.
I have two in-active activities here that I will use everyone now and then: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/InActive-Activities-4568098
In finishing up, I wish to highlight that I would not spend an entire 50 minute session on one of these activities. These games/activities are best when they are done in short periods in order to maintain engagement and interest of the students, therefore, it is best to approach your lesson with a number of these up your sleeve.
Hopefully these ideas can help someone out there. I know sometimes it can be daunting not having a solid plan, but having this Wet Weather Kitbag ready to go, with an array of games and activities, wet weather days almost become a pleasure as you’re fully prepared with fun activities that not only the students will enjoy, you will too.
Thanks for reading and please get in touch if you find any of these useful or give them a try.