Throughout my career, I have encountered various issues that required adaptation. A 1954 gym with no air conditioning, lack of storage space, and even a gym that doubled as a chapel (think chair removal) have all resulted in finding creative ways to implement physical education. Regardless of challenges like limited Phys. Ed. space, there is always a way to provide quality instruction.
Most of my campuses have had limited equipment storage, but a quality physical education program includes utilization of a variety of materials. Equipment sharing solves the problem of lack of storage and addresses budget constraints as well. Many teachers are willing to transport and/or pick up equipment from nearby schools and are thankful for the opportunity to provide new units to their students. With some planning, each school would utilize the equipment for a unit before sending it on to the next school. You store equipment for one unit, borrow from colleagues for others, and significantly increase your options.
We have all been in the situation where we’ve been displaced from our gym. Classroom activity cards can be used anywhere—indoors or out. Students use the flip cards to select the activity and limited space is needed to perform the skills. Grouping students and using stations allows you to plan ahead and set things up, but these activities are easy to implement and require minimal equipment.
Other Specials Teachers Are Your Assets
Building relationships with the Music and Art teachers can assist in developing cross curricular activities that involve movement. This is great for those days when no one picked up the art teacher’s sub job and you now have double the students. An Art teacher colleague helped me design a game utilizing six Rainbow colored balls and the concept of warm and cool colors. This game can be played in any setting to provide movement with cross curricular connections.
Activity Idea: Hot and Cold Tag
The blue, green, and purple balls are designated as the “cold” colors while red, yellow, and orange are designated as the “warm” colors. Three players will be the freezers and will hold a “cold” color ball. Three other players hold a “warm” color ball so they can unfreeze players that have been tagged with a “cold” color ball. When the game begins, the freezers try to tag anyone without a ball using their balls to freeze them. Frozen players sit on the floor with legs crossed and wait to be thawed. Players with a “warm” color ball will toss their ball to a frozen player to unfreeze them. When the player is unfrozen, they try to unfreeze another player because they now have possession of the “warm” color ball. Play each round for a designated period then choose new freezers.
Creativity and flexibility are necessary to prevail over the unique circumstances that we sometimes face as physical educators. Embrace the challenges, maintain a positive attitude, and lean on other professionals. No Phys. Ed. Space? No Worries!