Well the 2013-2014 school year just came to a close! What an amazing year! The physical education staff at Merton Intermediate School finished off the year in style with one of the best Field Days ever! We celebration all things Merton with over 1,000 students being active and engaged in outdoor fun for the entire day. Our “Celebration Day” is broke up into two different portions of the day. The morning sessions are with homerooms that compete in team building games for class points and spirit points against their grade level, while the afternoon session is filled with choices of community fitness, sport, recreational, and a few downtime activities. In this post I will give you ideas of how to “flip” your games / activities so students and teachers will know and understand what is expected of them before they arrive at the station. I will also give you some ideas to turn your Field Day into an amazing culmination event for your physical education classes by bringing community fitness / sport teams / former students into your school to teach and instruct! You can give your students choices in their activities which will create an amazing experience for all!
School Spirt – Team Spirit
Flipping your stations!
Over the last couple of years I have realized that video is a powerful player in classroom management and learning styles of our students. I knew that I needed to add this into our Field Day. Over the years we have struggled with teaching our teachers or station leaders what to do at every station, and sometimes it lead to frustration from the teachers (adding another thing to their plate) or to the students (learning a game / activity from someone who didn’t know all the rules). I knew something needed to change to help with the management of the 1,000 students who are excited for the activities, but are not always ready to listen outside while moving from station to station with 100 of their closest friends. Thanks to iMovie and smartboards in every classroom, I can now quickly and easily flip my stations so each student can watch videos of them in the morning right before they go outside to participate in them. It’s pretty amazing walking around the school seeing and hearing 35 different classroom teachers and their students watching the Celebration Day Kickoff Video.
The week before celebration day all staff members get the master schedule with times and locations of stations, written directions for stations, and the video instructions with all the rules. They can prepare their homeroom classes for each station, watch and read the directions so they understand what is expected of them at each station, and they are fully prepared to help during the day! Here is an example of the master schedule.
The morning of celebration day the students get to watch the instructional videos so the rules are fresh in their heads, and no one needs to instruct them as they begin each station!! Here are some clips of stations that I have used in the past!
Hole in the Bucket
Across the Pond
Merton Mash Up
There was no video for the Merton Mash Up, but this was a dance that was created by 5 Merton Intermediate School students. We used this dance as a station, so we could teach all students this dance during the day. At the end of the day we gathered al 1,000 students in our bus lane so our whole school could perform the dance at the same time.
Pictures of the Merton Mash Up
Here are some pictures of our grade levels at each station.
Now that was a fun morning of Team Building Activities….onto the Afternoon – Station Choices!
I love giving student choices. A few years back I had the opportunity to teach double classes with another physical education teacher. At first we thought this would be some really tough years, but then we decided to offer choices for every unit and let the student choose their own physical education adventure. Read more about it here. We soon realized that our classes were the best behaved ever and the participations levels were through the roof!! Kids loved the choices. We really wanted to bring that approach to our Field Day. To make this happen we knew that we were going to have to use our amazing community members and organizations. We contacted anyone and everyone within a 15 mile radius that had anything to do with sport / fitness / recreational activities that we could have come in and teach our students. This was an easy sell….almost everyone we contacted wanted to be a part of our Celebration Day. It was beginning to come together. We had community members, business owners, teachers, former students (who excelled at their activity / sport), and a few stations that needed teacher supervisors. I did use a Google Spreadsheet to have teachers sign up for supervising a station, so their responsibility was to monitor the station, help the volunteer running the station, and help students transition to the next station. Here is the list of stations that we had at Celebration Day 2014:
Official Celebration Day Stations
Basketball, Drama (Double Session), Football, Humane Society, Biking (Double Session), Fishing (Double Session), Rock Wall, Cooking, Geocaching, Fun Hula Hoop Tricks & Challenges, Board Games, Card Games, Rollerblading / Rip-Stick / Skateboarding, etc., Soccer, Hockey, Dodgeball, Volleyball, Martial Arts, Kickball, Lacrosse, Wiffle Ball, Yoga, Hip-Hop Dance, Strength & Conditioning, Wrestling, Legos, Wii’s, Archery (Double Session), Florist (Making Floral Arrangements),
Details, Details, and More Details….
Now to figure out how to make this work!! 537 students were part of our student choice celebration day stations. We had about 2.5 hours in the afternoon to rotate through our stations. We were able to lock in 30 different stations. We decided that 35 minute stations with a 5 minute “passing time” between stations should work. Some stations were really detailed and needed more time so we decided to make some activities “double” stations so they could have an hour and 15 minutes to participate. We also knew that we didn’t want too many students at each station, so we had to make some caps on how many students could sign up. After we had all these details locked in and ready to go, then we began the sign up process about 1 week before Celebration Day.
Let the Excitement Build and the Sign Ups Begin!!
For the first year I used Google Forms to sign up all students for their stations, but this year students were selecting more choices and there were more stations for them to select, so I looked for something more simple. I stumbled upon Sign Up Genius and it looked perfect for what we were trying to accomplish. After about an hour of use I had all the details set up and the sign up was ready to go. This system looked great. I was able to plug in stations, times, max number of participants, and I could pull reports in many different ways. To help alleviate some problems I made a flipped video the students needed to watch with their parents before they signed up. Here it is:
We did have a few issues with the sign ups, but nothing we couldn’t handle. I would recommend that everyone signs up and registers for the program. They can then go back and edit their choices or move stations. Some students I had to go back and manually move around. Everything ended up working out well though!
All of our feedback from teachers, students, and parents were VERY positive. Students were very well behaved and had a lot of fun. Teachers were very impressed how well everything went and how organized the activities / stations were. Parents were also impressed on the choices that their son or daughter could choose, how active the day was, and how excited their children were to be at Celebration Day! All in all the best Celebration Day EVER!! If you have any other questions feel free to send me a Tweet @Physed_Pomeroy!