There are many pieces of equipment that I use on a regular basis, year after year. Although the activities may change and the units tweaked, I always seem to have my favorite PE essentials on hand. I had never given it much thought until a hypothetical discussion I had with my co-worker one day.
While planning and discussing the next several months of our PE curriculum, I had asked him a difficult question, “What equipment do you like using the most?”. This question not only stumped my co-worker, but also myself. I use so many different items throughout the year it is hard to pinpoint specific ones. He was able to rattle off about ten to twenty different items, most of which I agreed with. But could he narrow this list down? This was hard to do.
I took a long hard look at myself and my teaching. I thought about the various equipment I use, how important and frequently I needed them, and pinpointed those that help me teach my lessons. The following is a list of my most frequently used PE essentials:
1. MP3/CD Player or Speaker System.
I use music ALL THE TIME! I have found (as many of you already have) that music can easily enhance a lesson or activity. I can play a popular or fast-paced song which can pump up the children and cause them to move more. I can set the tone on a softer, more relaxed pace with the opposite one. I can effectively start and stop an activity just by hitting play or pause. If I get sick of hearing songs the kids like, I can expose them to a more versed type (80’s, heavy metal, reggae, or softer style). A sound system is something I couldn’t go without in my classes. Check out great electronic options for P.E.!
2. Jump Ropes.
Our kids jump rope very frequently. This practice is an instant activity for warm-ups during attendance. Starting in Kindergarten, we break down this skill and teach the children how to jump. What was once a common practice among children at home now has dwindled down to what seems like a few. I don’t have to tell you the wonderful benefits a child can get from this (hand-eye coordination, low impact, cardiorespiratory endurance, etc.). We use a variety of ropes from the heavier segmented ropes to the lightweight speed rope. One thing is for sure, by the time the children leave our elementary school in the fifth grade, they are proficient at this fundamental skill.
3. Dry-Erase Boards.
This one speaks for itself. I cannot always use my laptop and projector in my classes and certain activities may put these electronic devices at risk, yet I need to disseminate information regularly. I believe children should be able to read in the majority of my classes. Not only does it reinforces their ELA and math skills, but adds a dimension that enhances my lessons. I use it to write instructions, directions, cues, scoreboard, diagrams…the list goes on. I have unfortunately broken several over the years, however, this is a go-to demand in my P.E. classes. Dry-Erase Boards
4. Cones, cones, cones.
Doesn’t matter if it is a 6”, 36”, dome or traditional type, I use cones constantly. We have amassed many over the years ranging from multi-colored, to slotted (for holding poster boards). Some have been “borrowed” by custodial staff, broken by overzealous children, or used by co-workers. Whether I am indoors or out these are necessities. Check out the varoius cone options here.
5. Interval Timer.
An interval timer could possibly be one of the best investments ever. I purchased a large display interval timer/clock for many activities and what a God-send it has been. There always seem to be a use for them. I like the basic features of having a clock count down the remaining time with a loud beep at the finish. Children can easily pace or monitor themselves when working through an activity. I challenge children with timed tasks and can be used as another great motivator in class.
Most items on this list are teaching aides rather than true physical education equipment. What are five pieces of equipment you couldn’t teach without? Leave a comment and let us know!