Here is a game plan that can be used for successful physical education teaching to help the younger teachers and to retool the veteran teachers. Just like getting ready for the big game , we have to make sure that we are prepared for any unsuspected changes . In each scernario , whether it be on the field or in the gym there has to be a code of conduct and preparation . Many changes can occur to disrupt the class . But, before each class is met , we must gather all the information neccessary to establish a GAME PLAN .
This is our "BIG GAME " and it is appropriate that we give the students an overall education  for the development of the whole child.. Physical education is where the students try a variety of activities to find what they will use for the rest of their lives.
Similar to high school ,college and pro sports  ,there is a schedule the TEAM must go through to be ready for the season. Our classes are the same way. The first mode of attack is to garner information from other resources to help us understand what is expected . We must learn the PLAYS and why they will work .This means to have  a back up plan to reinforce the original one. It all starts at the beginning. They may sound moot , but the action it takes to perfect the perfect play has to start somewhere. And that is an information base or data.Is our curriculum up to the national standards. Do we know the national standards?
  •   Students demonstrate the knowledge and physical skills necessary to perform a variety of physical activities.
  • Students demonstrate knowledge of a healthy lifestyle.
  • Students know and demonstrate a physically active lifestyle.
  • Students assess, achieve, and maintain personal fitness levels.
  • Students demonstrate responsible personal and social behaviors.

In the MOVIE ROOM , there are clips to show the way to improve on past performances. For us, it is finding ways to develop a strategy of excellence. Here are some ways to do that:

  • Join the NASPE listerv and share ideas
  • Join AAHPERD and share more ideas
  • Join the local,state and national associations
  • Attend conferences,conventions , inservices and/or be  a presenter
  • Volunteer for everything at school( PTA presenter ,etc.)
  • Use technology and keep up to date with core subjects
  • Take graduate classes or any extra course work
  • Conference with other teachers( instant messaging,audio or video sharing)
  • Search for ideas at PE CENTRAL , PELINKS4U , PE4LIFE
  • Subscribe to HEALTH /PE /DANCE/RECREATION magazines
  • Make a PE webpage for students, parents and teachers
  • Use P.R. to promote physical education( Gym Show , Junior Olympics , or any way to showcase what we really do)
  • Invite parents , school board and administration into our classes , Field Days ,or special occasions


The playbook is now set up and all we have to do is follow through with the game plan. One important ingredient is safety. Is the playing field free of obstructions? Is the equipment age appropriate?How about the goals, baskets , and nets? The students should be outfitted in appropriate apparel.Will weather be a factor ? In the hottest of days will they or you wear sunscreen or  hats for(UV) protection. Will there be  a new game plan for inclement weather , school plays or other disturbances when the gym can't be used. In each case , there has to be a plan to adapt and modify the equipment , space, time, and rules .

Not to be overlooked are the PLAYERS ,the students.If there are discipline problems ,then find ways to get an answer. Ask them in private if there is a particular problem .Establish a rapport and find out what they like to do or feel comfortable with. Watch them in various venues such as the playground , cafeteria or library. Do they participate with others? Are they a loner? What games or activities do they appear to enjoy the most. Establish a mentor "student" to help with the process , ask the classroom teacher or IEP instructor if there are problems . With both students and Players , there has to be a code of conduct. Use Hellison's Model of Responsibility to challenge them to perform at an appropraite level.Breaking the TEAM rules has consequences. There are a myraid of other devices but in the long run , just be FAIR . Use different modes of discipline programs just in case it doesn't work .  There should not be a large number of rules ,but ones that are easily understood and have meaning.  We can't read their minds , then it's a possibility to use their body langauge to let us know when things are working or should be dumped.If there are four words that can prepare us for each class ,then it would be ( Creativity, Enthusiasm , Patience and Imaginative). The score card has been set in motion and now its time to meet the first class.


Not all of us are blessed with huge gyms and immaculate fields. In  many cases, it must be understood that a great array of teachers have less than desirable conditions and equipment. These can vary from hallways , classrooms , band-box gyms with poor lighting and uneven grounds in the field area. Some may be blacktopped , others may have "gopher" holes or sloping areas. In the South , there may be no facilities indoors and most classes are outside in sweltering heat. In all scenarios , it must be realized that modifications and preparations must be made that are both educational and creative.

The equipment may not be appropriate because of a low budget or socio-economic areas. This is another case to be creative by using makeshift and homemade equipment. But, it is best to have at least one piece of equipment for each student or at least one between two partners.The floor/ grounds may be made of flooring , tile , carpet , grass , mcadam , blacktop or linolieum . It can be shared by a divider , or some type of partition.  In all areas , it is imperative that all safety precautions be in effect.

Within the Field of Dreams , the activity should be developed for small sided games or activities that promote constant activity. This is not busy activity , but a lesson that is both meaningful and prepares the students for  a lifetime of fitness. Decisions will have to be made to prepare the gym/field for areas that are spaced properly into grids . Many variations can be applied according to space, equipment and time . The small sided activities in the grids can be used with or without goals and even or uneven numbers to simulate game action and pressure situations. Cones are used to divide the grids into safe areas . Any other available boundaries can be used such as frisbees or poly spots / golftubes inside the cones.

The floor and field area should be safety- checked before each class  along with any obstructions from goalie nets, volleyball standards and portable basketball hoops. The equipment should meet the specifications(PSI) that are placed on each ball. Each piece of equipment should be used according to the age appropriate level of each class.

There should be a weather system alert in place to warn the school of impending storms . Along with a weekly weather check, we should understand that morning conditions on a field can cause slippery conditions and muddy spots. In blacktop areas where school trucks are usuualy placed for delivery , there may be slick oil deposits in some areas. Also, those trucks may mean that we move the class away from that area into places that are less desirable such as sloped areas or close to the school building. There are stones and debris that is left from vehicles that may cause slippery spots.

It appears that these concerns seem ultra paranoic , but with the  advent of a law suit, frenzied society , it is best to make sure all areas are covered. Those field of dreams also cover swimming pools. The deck area will be slippery. The chlorine level should be at an appropriate level. Rules have be to be in effect for proper decorum and life guard /water safety must be kept up to date. For all teachers, in all areas , CPR training is essential . The cyber and Internet importance on a global scale has shown the importance of cell phones. They should be used in all emergency situations to inform the nurse,911, and parents of any problems. A first aid kit and ice pack area should be set aside close to all the activity. Assign students as leaders to transport information and injured students to the proper facility or nurses station. At the secondary school level , that information can be transferred to the secretary at either the A.D. or high school office.


These are the lessons, the PLAYS that will be used to get the students(players) in the proper positions . It will be different for each level , With the elementary , they may not change clothes or have lockers.There will be a different schedule of class meetings. It will be from one day a week to once  a day and everything in between. The important thing is that the GAME (class) will be taught by a certified teacher and not a classroom or lay teacher.

Each game plan will have a curriculum of study that includes lessons , curriculum mapping , homework, and an understanding that all that is being taught meets the national standards or benchmarks/objectives. The first PLAY is the structure and rules for each class or school.The assignments and positions are then worked on so that each person knows where they go and why. This can be in the form of assigned numbers , squad lines , markings on the floor or any plan that gets them to move quickly without a waste of time.Lockers or spaces will be assigned   to permit the students the proper time to assume their positions .The players must have the appropriate apparel to carry out the lessons and PLAYS.

Each lesson should have a rubric or scope and sequence before the real or adapted activity can be attempted.This means that equipment should be for each person or one between two partners. The activities should be practiced in grids in small sided games/activities. This ensures more touch time . Then, there is  more opportunities and skills that are done at  a level that each student can progress at their own rate and move to the next level when they are ready.Here is an example of a rubric in basketball :

  • Teach the proper dribbling technique
  • Dribble with one hand , then the other
  • Dribble with alternate hands
  • Dribble while sitting , kneeling , laying down
  • Dribble while moving in all directions and pace/speed
  • Dribble through cones
  • Dribble against a defensive player
  • Dribble in a lead up activity
  • Dribble in a simulated game action with pressure situations
  • Dribble in a real game situation

Before any of these activities can take place, the students(players) should engage in warm up exercises , flexibilities , rope jumping and runnning .This will ensure that they are physically prepared for endurance activities.

Rules should be posted and discussed with a myraid of techniques  that can be applied such as Hellison's Model of Responsibility , Harry Wong or Howard Gardner . The rules should be posted in the school handbook along with basic rules on  a bulletin board or any available space.Each new school year, the rules should be modified and examined .

Part of the process to make the PLAYBOOK work is to make a curriculum map to examine if here are any redundancies. All the skills that are taught are placed in columns(on paper) per grade level to see if there is a carry over to the next grade level.That is, check the last skill progression from grade(6) that is reviewed in grade (7), then another new skill is added upon completion. There are many times the PLAYERS need to be evaluated to check to see if they have a grasp of the skills . Homework ,tests , fitness calendars and partner/individual skill sheets are exemplary evaluation tools. Just like running the same PLAY over and over again will result in perfect practice. At various times , you will have to add Brain Gym and integrated activities to prepare situations for improvement . The COACH(teacher) must meet a standard of excellence that is comparable with the core subjects.

The lessons should meet all the national standards , the lead up games should have an objective and the way they are presented will reflect the addition of activities that bring in real life situations.Why not use media such as TV shows , movies , cartoons , game shows or a reality show like Amazing Race or Dancing With The Stars . Yet , at the same time , give the students ownership by asking them to work together in small groups and teach a lesson. It is a great idea to add digital pictures and movies to add technology . The students or teachers can make slide presentations , power point and movie clips to help with skills and game situations


For any game or PLAY to be successful , the planning is the most important detail. This means that before the students (players) enter the FIELD OF DREAMS , there has to be an enthusiatic and creative approach to ensure the activities are  educational and have meaning. No matter what kind of conditions , it is necessary to be able to change in mid stream and conduct the class as if were planned that way.

There should be deviations from the curriculum that allows the teacher(COACH) to change the way the plan is to be carried out. He /she must be ready to modify the activity due to weather , school programs and emergency changes in room availability. How quickly can (you) move your class from the gym to a stage area without skipping  a beat? Or if the cafeteria floor is still wet ? Maybe the partition divider broke? The marching band needs the practice field? There has to be more than giving them free time and just wait until the class ends. But yet, in many circumstances , the only thing holding back the class is discipline problems . Handling larger classes is an issue for concern along with distributing the equipment so that there is total involvement and less standing around. The final piece of the startegy is making lessons that are developmentally appropriate and ones that lead to a lifetime of health and fitness. All areas should be covered  and  new techniques should be realized. With  the advent of the technology craze, it is a well known fact that DDR , Treadwall, video games and exercise bikes / programs/rock walls are a valuable tools to excite the students for not only education of the physical , but also bringing them into the 21st century.

Many devices such as an Ipod or any other MP3 player , can be used for homework , pod casts and relative information for the evaluation process for scheduling and grading. It is imperative that (we) keep up with these electronic devices to keep up with the global community and keep us in tact with the core subject teachers - WE ARE REAL TEACHERS ,TOO .

The PLAYBOOK has been set , the Field is prepared and the GAME approach is in motion. Now What ? You may devise the skills through a unit approach or combine that with the national standards. In both cases , it is important that the skills should be taught before any modified activity begins. Each skill should have a rubric or a scope and sequnce. The activities are introduced in grids . The games are modified according to the grade level and ability . Evaluation should be made by the teacher(Coach) to assure the skills are done properly. Individual and partner practice will be a great way to evaluate the process. This can be accomplished with skill sheets , digital pictures , slide shows and movie clips.

The game approach has many facets and with that understanding here are some ways to create(game) opportunities :

  • For the pimary grades -place hula hoops over the baskets to shoot through
  • Make poly spots or frisbees on the floor for different shooting positions
  • Make soccer goals with Halloween leaf bags
  • Use bed sheets or blankets as a parachute
  • In tag games , have a rule that nobody is eliminated and can return after doing a task or skill
  • Use all available equipment to not only show diversity ,but also allows the students to practice with different sizes and shapes /texture
  • Use more goals per game or add cones as an extention to score points
  • Play small sided games using the width of the area divided by cones as boundaries
  • Use makeshift equipment like a tube sock and tennis ball inside in an ultimate game - its easier to throw and catch
  • Change the rules of scoring  such as 3 passes before a score is made
  • In a wiffleball game , play no outs , bat three minutes and play in small sided games width -wise with adapted rules
  • Tie two nets at the center to make a two sided or four square formation volleyball game( play one bounce , soccer volleyball,wall ball , many hits)
  • Use a huge beachball or Kin Ball to throw at instead of dodgeball
  • Play FAMILY FUED - a guessing and tag game with interesting questions(your favorite movie, color, favorite fast food , TV show,etc.in which one team guesses and the other chase upon a correct answer)
  • Instead of one softball game , divide the class into three grids widthwise on the field
  • A kickball game can be played with two cones as bases and two against two in many games
  • Put broken hula hoops in cones as  a volleyball net for the primary grades with a balloon(standing,sitting , kneeling on tumbling mats)
  • Use a strap, rope ,police tape held by two students as  a makeshift v-ball net - play many small sided games and the holders can move the "net" at different angles

These are just some examples what can be accomplished with a little imagination and creativity .

There are so many exemplary teachers and schools that can be used as  a resource. (We) must find a way to get that information to anybody that needs the help. This can be accopmplished by sharing ideas , writing newspaper articles , joining NASPE ,AAHPERD,etc. and volunteering for everything that promotes a healthy lifestyle . This may take the form of talking at PTA meetings, school board demonstrations , conventions and conferences. Finding a way to win over the classroom teachers and administrators will help bridge the gap .

The SUPER BOWL , STANLEY CUP , WORLD CUP and any Championship final revolves around the students(Players). The activities /games that will be presented will serve as a foundation for their future . It is best to give them all we have so they can carry on to a lifetime of memories and healthy choices.

Peruse my web page for ideas about games , skills and resources that you can pass along .The activities are for both levels and can be modified to meet the needs of all the students. Below are two examples of small sided game grids. They are divided by cones as boundaries. The games can either use goals , nets ,etc. or played using designated lines and boundaries. The players can be of equal number or unequal to demonstrate how to handle pressure situations . The first grid is an example of many games at once in either soccer, football , hockey , basketball ,etc. The second example is a Keep Away game with different numbers of players in many grids throughout the gym or field area.
Here is a great example for your resources , courtesy of Tim Davis , and a Flaghouse activity called , IT ROCKS . This is just another venue to share information and pass it along to others. If you need information about rock walls check this out by clicking on the IT ROCKS link and then scroll down to the activity(IT ROCKS) , a pdf document with heaps of fun and activity.

What Is Secondary Physical Education?
Physical education is a subject that sets out to enable all students to enhance their quality of life through active living. Its purpose is to develop students’ physical skills, knowledge, and attitudes necessary to perform physical activity in a wide range of activities that will lead to active and healthy lifestyles.
Often identified as the final preparation period to promote positive physical activity attitudes and skills, secondary physical education programs should provide a good foundation for students’ lifelong learning and equip students with skills and knowledge in a wide variety of activities so they can find ways to enjoy physical activity beyond the school years and to be physically active for a lifetime (Pennington and Krouscas, 1999). Research shows that the active lifestyles and attitudes developed in physical education programs can have a lasting impact on students for a lifetime. The National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (1997) recommends that physical education implement "curricula and instruction that emphasize enjoyable participation in physical activity and help students develop the knowledge, attitudes, motor skills, behavioral skills, and confidence needed to adopt and maintain physically active lifestyles." In other words, physical education programs’ design and implementation must aim to increase physical activity levels for students and it must connect curricula with students' lives outside of school (Pennington and Krouscas, 1999).
Challenges for Secondary Physical Education Programs
According to Beyer (2008), one only needs to observe secondary physical education classes to realize that some programs fail to provide activities that motivate students to be more active, unless they choose to participate in an extracurricular program. Johnson, Darst, and Brusseau (2006) state all students need and deserve exposure to numerous sports and activities during their K-12 physical education experience, so they can make informed decisions as adults about how they want to be physically active. Healthy living is essential to an individual’s well-being.
Designing curriculum that will equip secondary students to become and stay physically active can be challenging; many secondary physical education programs are limited and not meeting student needs. Lowry, Brener, Lee, Epping, Fulton, et al. (2005) noted that only 55.7 percent of secondary students were enrolled in high school physical education classes. Of these, only 28.4 percent actually attended classes, and of those only 39 percent were actually physically active during the class. Young children are active, however, research shows that physical activity levels begin to decrease as children get older. It is around the age 14 when the physical activity levels of teens take a dramatic drop and continue decreasing throughout adolescence. For example, 6.3% of males and 8.3% of females are sedentary at age fourteen (United States Department of Health and Human Services, 1996). Data from the Centers for Disease Control’s National Youth Risk Behavior Survey in 1996 show that as adolescents grow older, levels of physical activity decrease. Males are more active than females all through the teenage years and into adulthood. The percentage of teens reporting participation in vigorous physical activity for at least 3 days per week shows a decrease from 76.1% of 14-year-old males and 63.1% of females to 48.4% for males and 37.5% for females.
The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance (USDHHS, 1998) indicates that girls are less likely than boys to be enrolled in daily physical education during high school. These data highlights an alarming number of girls show little interest in physical education and physical activity. A lack of successful physical activity experiences during the formative years will likely add to girls' lack of interest in secondary physical education and possibly result in sedentary behavior during adulthood ( Trudeau, Laurencelle, Tremblay, Rajic, & Shepard, 1999). Beyer (2008) note that individuals who are physically active during adolescence are most likely to be physically active during adulthood and lead active and healthy lives. If we can move children and adolescents in physical education toward an active lifestyle, we can significantly reduce their risk of becoming inactive adults.
What Price?
The cost of sedentary living and obesity are enormous for our society. The health related benefits that accompany those who maintain a physically active lifestyle have been documented in the research and it is compelling (Beyer, 2008). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (1997) reports, that daily physical activity reduces the risk of heart diseases, such as coronary heart disease. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2000) children in American are fatter than they were in previous decades and physical activity is a major factor in combating obesity (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2002). Kratz (1998) shows, that activity builds and maintains healthy bones, muscles and joints.
There is no dispute that regular physical activity has important health benefits, including improved aerobic endurance and muscular strength, reduced risk factors for chronic diseases, improved self-concept, and reduced stress and anxiety (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1997). NASPE guidelines for children suggests at least 30 minutes of moderate activity on most days of the week to receive health benefits. Additionally, the guidelines for children suggest 30 to 60 minutes as a minimum, with up to several hours a day (NASPE, 1995).
Our society has become increasingly sedentary and obese (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1997), therefore, one of the obvious challenges in secondary physical education programs is to teach physical activities and skills in which students can feel both confident in their performance and self-motivated to continue for a lifetime (Beyer, 2008). If there was ever a time to instill these important attitudes and aptitudes in children and adolescents, it is now. Physical activity has been shown conclusively to contribute to a person’s physical, psychological, intellectual and social well-being. Secondary physical education programs should instill in students the skills and attitudes required for lifelong physical activity, however, students should not have to be highly skilled or athletic to be successful in our programs. Skill proficiency should not be the sole outcome of the secondary physical education program.
Researchers note that historically secondary physical education programs have come under severe scrutiny for its inability to provide significant learning experiences; these programs should provide a setting to encourage adolescents to participate in physical activity and maintain a physically active lifestyle (Graham, 1995; Locke,1992; Stroot,1994). For many students, physical education can be a negative experience; they dislike sports, competition, dressing out, and some wouldn’t be there if they didn’t have to be (Blankenship, 2008). While the literature underscores the challenges and irrelevancy of many secondary school physical education programs in meeting the needs of its students, there are curricula models which certainly deliver innovative curriculum and make the core content relevant. One such model is Teaching Games for Understanding (TGFU).
The TGFU Model – A Healthy Alternative
The TGFU model was set up as an alternative to the traditional skill development and technique focus of teaching games in the secondary physical education program. The approach of the TGFU model focuses on the idea of progressing from tactics to skills, not skills or tactics. The concentration for student learning is on teaching students why a skill is necessary to the game form before teaching them the technique of how to perform the skill (Hopper, 2002). Bunker and Thorpe (1986) state that the traditional approach to teaching games in secondary programs produces (1) a large percentage of children achieving little success in physical activity due to the emphasis on performance, (2) skillful players possessing inflexible techniques and poor decision-making capacities, (3) performers who are dependent on the teacher/coach to make their decisions while engaged in game play, and (d) a majority of youngsters that leave the secondary physical education program knowing little about how games are played. These factors can contribute to an already sedentary population of adults in our country. Hopper (2002) notes that skill techniques practiced apart from the game setting does not automatically transfer to understanding the game. Most students that engage in secondary physical education programs want to play the game and they want to be successful when participating in game play.
A New Direction
The TGFU model provides another direction for secondary physical education programs, one in which the curriculum maximizes the transfer of learning that occurs from one game to another within the classification of the game. For example, basketball and soccer have similar tactics, i.e. maintaining possession of the object or defending space. Central to the TGFU model is the creation of activities that have this transfer potential (Lauder, 2001). The weight of the model is given to “unifying ideas” rather than to any “specific games” to be taught in the curriculum. Another feature of the model is to match the game to the developmental level of the student to all games or game forms to ensure they are developmentally appropriate for the learner. The teacher’s objective in the model is to offer all students regardless of ability or skill level, the opportunity to actively experience, enjoy, and understand games (Butler and McCahan, 2005).
The TGFU approach puts the "why" of a game before the "how." In this approach, students are taught to appreciate the advanced form of the game by participating in a modified game that is appropriate for their physical, social, and mental development (Hopper, 2002). With tactical awareness of the game, the student is capable of making appropriate decisions about "what to do" and "how to do it." In the TGFU model, when students make decisions to work on a technical skill (e.g., trapping a ball or striking a ball into a certain space), they do it because they are tactically aware of a need for the skill to be used at that time during game play. As such, this model enhances appropriate decision-making wherein students can recursively evaluate and develop their own performance within a game that gradually, with the guidance of teachers, evolves towards an adult level of performance (Hopper, 2002). Additionally, it promotes an environment in which young people enjoy physical activity and has the potential to empower children with skills that they will need in order to enjoy the benefits of regular physical activity for the rest of their life.
For students to think tactically they must think critically, a life skill that translates into analyzing and evaluating all decisions made throughout life. Mitchell et. al, (2006) state that during game play, the student must ask, “What should I do in this situation?” The situation is designed by the teacher ( a set of playing conditions that highlights the game problem the teacher wants students to solve) and focuses on getting the students to think tactically. As such, the teacher moves away from telling the student to “do this” to having the students in these situations to make “informed choices”, emphasizing decision-making during activity-related games. The TGFU model is a problem solving approach that places students at the center of making decisions. The tactical problems that the teacher sets up should never exceed the abilities of the students and should always promote safety and success. For each tactical problem the student must decide on:
•what to do (tactical awareness),
•how to do it ( skill execution),
•when to do it (timing),
•where to do it (space), and
•when (risk).
Teachers who are responsible for teaching secondary physical education curricula should continually ask what the learners need to know and be able to do to be during physical activity. With success in improved game performance. This notion cuts across skills and movements within each game as well as across tactical problems. This model provides an example of how understanding game play in secondary physical education programs would allow students to become more proficient learners and able to perform more sophisticated skills in physical activity. Solidifying the application of these skills will increase the chances that the behavior will be repeated and perhaps even become habitual (Beyer, 2008).
Outcomes and Positive Change
Implementing the TGFU model into many secondary physical education programs requires a curriculum change for the teacher. Recognizing the need for change, teachers who want to implement new initiatives need to master new knowledge, to learn something new in place of something old. The TGFU model may mean reform for some secondary physical education programs; however, the TGFU research supports a significant increase in the participation levels of students in secondary physical education (Tan, 2008). Beyer (2008) notes that with increased levels of successful participation in physical activities, students' interest and motivation will improve, leading to opportunities for a lifelong appreciation of physical activity. As such, it is crucial for teachers of secondary physical education programs to realize that any change is student physical activity behavior, will impact the likelihood of our students being physically active for a lifetime.