Fitness Station Rotation for Elementary PE

Students exercising on equipmentHave you ever had a class that just doesn’t understand how to rotate when doing PE fitness stations? You say “rotate”, and it’s like you kicked an ant pile with kids scattering everywhere. I laughed when I typed that line, but this is a frustration that is real to us PE teachers.

I have often counseled or mentored other Physical Education teachers who have said, “They just can’t do stations.” I didn’t come across this problem until after a few years into my teaching career. I couldn’t figure out why this particular kindergarten class couldn’t rotate correctly anytime we did stations. In years past I never had a struggle, I broke down the directions and got their attention before rotating. I even had students point to their new station and say, “Ready, go!” Still, it was like kicking that ant pile and then off they went mixing up their perfectly placed groups. After several failed attempts, I realized I needed to come up with an alternative way to do stations. I love stations way too much to let it go and not do them with all my students.

Traditional Station Rotations

The traditional way to rotate through stations is in a counter clockwise or clockwise circular movement. Simple, right? Stay with your group! (I even dressed my kindergartners in color-coded jerseys once, “RED rotate with RED”. Failed again. At least it was easy to spot where students were supposed to go.) Below are two not so traditional ways to rotate your PE stations. To better understand the two, you need to know that my students are assigned a squad letter and number at the beginning of the year that correlate to a grid arrangement/seating chart. We go to these spots every time we begin and end class, so students are very familiar with the other students they sit behind and who is to the left and right of them.

Station Rotations for PE

1. Straight Lines

Keeping in their squad lines, students rotate forward one space. Each piece of equipment for the stations is placed on A1, A2, A3, etc. On the stop signal, students reset equipment even with letter and number and rotate forward one spot. Front spots then rotate to the back.

Straight line station rotations example

2. Side-by-Side

Keeping in their same number line students rotate one spot over. Each piece of equipment for the stations is placed on the same number of each squad letter. For example: A8, B8, C8, etc.

Side--by-side station rotations example

What tips or ideas do you have for helping elementary students rotate through stations?

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