JSS News 12.8.17

Click here for Gwen’s full letter.


GRADES K-2 students are often exploring the same thematic areas.
These include actual physical skill areas, called “skill themes,” and all of the ideas and expressive/creative opportunities connected to those ideas, called “movement concepts.” We recently concluded what we call THE BIG UNIT, which lasts longer than other units. Students explore “locomotor movements” (all kinds of ways to get from one place to another), and movement concepts such as speed, direction, pathways, levels, force, space, body shapes, etc. There are so many ways to explore this content, and the chance to witness children doing this work is a profound and beautiful gift. Now we have moved on to climbing wall skills, and skills with playground balls (bounce & catch, dribble, etc). We practice these skills on our own, with partners, and in game situations. Ms. Barry’s kindergarten classes are moving on to tricks and skills with bean bags, and the underhand pattern (roll or toss) to targets. These classes will do the climbing wall, and hand dribbling skills at another time (we take turns with equipment
between 2 classrooms).

GRADES 3-5 students are also often exploring the same thematic areas. This fall, we have explored: 1) Cooperative and Adventure-Based Activities (initiatives done with partners or in groups that help us explore ways groups can work and play together while taking on challenges); 2) Kicking and Punting skills; and currently 3) Basketball Related Skills (pass & catch, dribble with hands, etc).

ALL CURRICULUM FOR ALL GRADES is differentiated in developmentally progressive ways. This might mean offering a variety of types of balls, or distance from a target. It means skills progress from simple to complex. It means so many things! The thing to keep in mind is that the EDUCATION in PE class means that we are mindful of how learning progresses, and how to create choices that support students to find their own “just right” challenge. ARCHERY IS COMING! Our school participates in the National Archery in the Schools program. It begins in 4th grade, and is something 4th graders are usually very excited about! This year, our school has its turn with the equipment in January. This means that students in grades 4-5 will be practicing for archery in January when we return from vacation, and beginning the actual unit later that month. Stay tuned for more information!

GAGA BALL IS COMING! Last year’s graduating 5th graders gave the gift of a GaGa ball pit to our school in honor of Physical Education. We have identified a supplier for this outdoor “pit” (really it’s a fenced-in area). We have also been in touch with people at Leeds Elementary School who have used this supplier, to get their input. We are looking to gather a group to help with the installation in Spring, 2018. Stay tuned!