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May 20, 2017 / sharoncopy

Fabulous Fifth Grade Fun

I LOVE teaching P.E. On Friday I was able to decide on the activity – indoors or out – or just give the kids free play for 50 minutes. I conducted 6 amusing, awesome classes of a game I titled “Rock-Paper-Scissors-Capture”. Two opposing teams face each other on the mid-gym yellow lines. I choose two kids to do rock-paper-scissors-shoot (as they say it -it’s a game EVERYone knows). The winning side then chases the losing side, tagging them before they ram themselves into the blue mats on the wall. If caught, they become a member of the chasing team.

We did this for about half an hour – long enough for all 25 kids in a class to have at least 2 turns. It was SO amusing. The fun part is that they have a split second to decide which way to run – are they the chaser or the chased? I loved watching their facial expressions –  joy – confusion – consternation – laughter at themselves. One kids said, “This is nerve wracking!”  🙂 At times nearly the whole team would run the wrong way. Every turn there would be some who started running one way – then realized  – “Wait – WE had paper and THEY had rock” and they would turn around and sometimes bump into another confused person who had just reached the same realization. So Jane might be chasing Todd and then suddenly they’d both be laughing as Todd turned and chased Jane.

It was hilarious. The kids laughed and laughed. And, being they are 10 years old, there was the requisite amount of boys throwing themselves onto the floor, kids making sure they got caught so they could go back to the other team, and a few collisions. When one side would get down to four kids (or once it got down to only ONE girl) the excitement grew, but it never ended with one side vanquished. They took each “versus” (their word) seriously.

THIS is a game where anyone can win. Less athletic kids had just as much fun, and kids normally on the fringe during sports activities were just as likely to win – and losing was just as much fun anyway.

After about 30 minutes I could sense a lull (or a couple kids would ask if we were going to do anything else). A student in the first class had told me about what they did at THEIR camp – so that created our second activity: Last Person Standing.

Everyone found a partner (and if there was an odd number, I partnered with the person). They stood back to back and when I blew the whistle, they spun around – did rock-paper-scissors-shoot – and the one who didn’t win (better than saying “Losers”) sat down. The winners raised a hand – and then they found a new partner. We kept going until someone was the victor. The victors from rounds 1 and 2 did a semifinal playoff and the same for rounds 3 and 4. Then the semifinalists played for the grand championship.

Well – I had forgotten how LOUD excited 10-year-olds can be inside of a school gym.
Especially the boys! (One girl asked me – why are they so excited – it’s just a game! I replied – they are BOYS!) But when it was a boy and a girl – wow. Suddenly little overweight Tony was in the spotlight: “TO-NEEE! TO-NEEEE! TO-NEEEE!” I watched his face as all attention focused on him. The girls got into it too: “SAR-AHHH! SAR-AHHH! SAR-AHHH!”  Sarah was a bit embarrassed at first, but she stepped forward for the big match. I said a few announcer-like words to drag out the moment a little longer – and then the match – which of course takes about 3 seconds to complete – unless they keep “matching” with the same choices – which makes it even funnier if it goes on 4 or 5 times, as it often did – and then the winner was surrounded by fans all screaming his or her name. The boys ushered one grinning winner around the gym – I half-expected them to carry him. I wish I could have photographed the look on Tony’s face.

Perhaps needless to say – the boys HATED it when the girls won. 🙂 Even more amusing. Believe me, if the Detroit Lions ever want to double the decibel level of their cheering fans, they need only invite ONE of these fifth grade groups of boys to the game.
Could make an interesting school fundraiser…..

Again – this was a game ANYbody could win, and I am certain that a few of the winners had NEVER been in the limelight in the gym before. It was awesome. It was hilarious. It was too loud (I had to put my fingers in my ears a few times). But we all loved it.

Occasionally someone would feel upset when eliminated in the first part of a round. I saw a few nearly-hidden tears wiped away. But once they realized that they didn’t have to sit out for very long, they all got involved in supporting champions instead.

Now, at Campfire Summer Bible Camp – we played this with Wizards, Giants, and Elves.
But I knew that I would be in for a consistent barrage of “Wait, which one takes which one?” if we played that way. Instead – I took a game that they play all of the time and found two ways to adapt it for fun in P.E. class. 5 out of 6 of the classes caught on quickly, but with just enough confusion to keep it funny. One of the classes was still “not getting it” after 15 minutes of play.  Or maybe they just preferred to run to the safe zone every time “just in case”. 🙂

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