“Ready, Set, Go!”

Sponge Bob Tag

Sponge Bob Tag


My principal describes the students coming to Physical Education as the horses returning to the barn. He senses their excitement, they can hardly walk! If I were to meet my students at the door, then require them to come into a highly structured activity; sitting quietly while I give directions, whole class performing synchronized calisthenics, I might be setting myself and the students up for frustration or even failure.

My students are ready to jump out of their skin when they arrive. They are anticipating movement, learning, fun, and freedom to laugh, dance and when appropriate chat with a friend! I want to use their enthusiasm to my advantage, not fight it. So I typically have an activity they can begin right away. There are millions of variations, Spark calls them instant activities, essentially they are activities that require little or no instructions for students to get started.

1. Have music playing, have students come in and move to music, when music stops they freeze. This is a great activity to start the year to practice listening skills. I pepper the freeze times with 20 second infomercials on expectations. “When you are thirsty, you can get a drink, as long as the music is playing. When the music stops it means I want to give instructions, you may not be at the drinking fountain., When you move through the gym, try moving into a space that is empty., When you’re moving in a group, be looking forward, looking for empty space., Everyday you should have 60 minutes of activity just like this!.” I change locomotor skills, pathways,levels, speeds….

2. Once I have taught students a few simple tag games I can use anyone of them as warmup. I ask the first 2-4 students to be taggers, next student tells students as they come in what the game is, and answers any clarifying questions. I meet students at the door, hand taggers (pool noodles, puff balls, giant hands…) taggers run to center circle, as soon as they are in center, I start music which means game on.

3. Occasionally older students can follow a warm-up activity on board. (i.e skip one lap, 5 jumping jacks in each corner, 8 curl-ups in center of gym, 15 skier jumps over a line, go get ball of your choice and begin dribbling) However when I survey students, this is one of their least favorite ways to warmup.

4. When we are using manipulatives, balls, hoops, jump ropes, rackets, hockey sticks I often meet students at door and say “once you have X equipment, begin (volleying, dribbling, striking, jumping) in self space. When students warm up this way, they choose from a variety of equipment, and I will have a downloaded YouTube video playing, (no sound, looping) projected on wall, while music is playing. Here are some sample videos I have downloaded and I loop. Soccer juggling, jumping rope  Students will have a few minutes to work on their own. While they are dribbling, juggling, or volleying…, they are also watching and trying to emulate what they are seeing projected. Then I might ask students “Share with a friend what you are noticing about the person in the video. Can you see three critical cues that they always do? Now you try them.”

5. Here is a link to #pegeeks collection of instant activities

What are your ideas for getting students started right away? Please share! 

4 responses to ““Ready, Set, Go!”

  1. My IA’s are fairly similar to yours. I always greet the Ss at the door, give them quick directions for the IA and they are usually in the activity within 30 seconds from arrival.

    I like to have the IA’s comprise of the skill and/or movement concept that they last worked on in the previous class. This allows me to informally assess and to help the Ss remember where we left off. In the end, the IA always connects with the lesson and is not some random activity that just gets them moving. It’s meaningful and purposeful for that days lesson.

    • I agree with making the instant activity IA relevant to either last lesson or current lesson. I appreciate the reminder about purposeful teaching!

  2. You are so awesome Lynn! I love the tag game idea of giving the balls out at the door and having them go to the middle circle! I will use that for sure! Today is our first day…. I feel the energy and I am excited. Keep your great ideas coming. Oh and I am really working on the assessments but my computer at home wouldn’t edit anything so I will add them at school as soon as I can.
    Thanks- Allie Sabat Steamboat Springs, CO

    • Allie,
      Your students are lucky to have the Queen Of Tag! Most of my tag ideas come from you! You’re a genius when it comes to adapting a tag game to teach, practice or even assess a cognitive concept!

Leave a Reply to Allie Sabat Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s