Cooperative Activities to Start the Year

Episode Transcript

Hello everyone. I am your host Derek Severson and today on the PE Express podcast I’m going to share three easy and fun cooperative activities that will promote social emotional learning in your classroom.

So I spent my spring break in Tampa at Shape America’s national convention. My favorite learning session I attended was shared cooperative games, focusing on social emotional behaviors and learning. I want to give a big shout out to PE Teachers of the Year Chip Candy and John Smith who are amazing presenters and showed me some great cooperative activities I’m going to share with you today.

The first activity I’m going to share is called Frisbee Elimination. This activity really encourages students to step out of their comfort zone and work closely with one another. Here’s how you play Frisbee Elimination. Begin with a large number of frisbees on the ground and have everyone touch one of them. Start this activity by asking students to move to another Frisbee. As students make this transition, remove one of the Frisbees, continue eliminating frisbees as students move each round. Eventually students are going to collectively work together and problem solve how they are all going to stay in contact with the one remaining frisbee. A modification I would make for this activity is that you can use a different object like a Hula Hoop, cup or even a penny.

The second activity I took away from this learning session is called Popup Tag. This is a great instant activity for the start of any lesson. The rules are simple. Everybody is it and everybody tries to take the knee of any other player. If tagged the player freezes or kneels and waits for the person who take them to get tagged before re-entering the game. If two people take each other at the same time, they are both frozen or they can simply play a game of rock, paper, scissors as a tiebreaker. Modification for pop-up tag could be tag the person on a different part of their body like their shoe or their back or you can add small tagging sticks for players to increase their reach. If taking on the shoes, just be wary of head collisions and remind your students to be aware of their surroundings.

The last cooperative activity that I’m going to share with you today is called “Everybody Up”. Okay. This activity really emphasizes the entire class to problem solve and work together. To start, students begin seated with a partner facing each other, feet flat on the ground, and hands grasped. Together they must pull each other up into a standing position. If you want to start this activity with students sitting back-to-back before standing up, that would be perfectly okay. Once students are successful, here’s the fun part. Double up the groups. Now you have a group of four working together to pull each other up. One successful with that, double them up again to a group of eight and so on. Keep doubling up groups until the entire class can work together to pull everybody up. “Everybody Up” is a great problem solving cooperative activity. There are multiple ways students can be successful. Let them figure that out. I’m a huge fan of cooperative activities that promote social, emotional learning in the classroom. These activities promote so many positive behaviors. We want our students to exhibit on a daily basis. I found a lot of success with these activities and you can too.

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