** This podcast is being shared to provide activity ideas for future use. Gopher strongly recommends following your district, state, and CDC guidelines for practicing safe Physical Education during the pandemic.
[0:02] On today’s podcast, I want to share a little bit about my rollerskating unit and what that looks like in my program.
[0:39] Roller skating is one of those units that my students look forward to every year. It doesn’t matter if it’s the first week of school. I’ll have kids coming up to me asking me, Mr. Graham when are we going to roller skate? And typically we do that at the end of January, so you know the enthusiasm is really high when they’re asking for it. They want to know when it’s going to take place at the beginning of the school year, and I really like that unit because it’s a break from more of my traditional teaching units, and it’s an opportunity for me to invite parents into the gym, which, to be honest, really gives many of them a perspective that may be very different from their own childhood PE experiences.
Three Tips to a Successful Rollerskating Unit
[1:20] Now, in order to make this unit a success, there’s obviously some things that I do ahead of time.
1. One of them being collecting the money.
2. The second one being getting all of the skate sizes recorded.
3. Then organizing some parent volunteers.
Those three things are really important to have a successful unit. The money is the easy part really because I set it up with my school secretary so that the fee is collected during school registration so that when parents are signing up their student for school, the activity fee is just included automatically. I don’t have to handle any money personally, which is really nice.
I also collect all the student’s shoe sizes. I have a spreadsheet with individual classes all tabbed down at the bottom so that I can just enter the size next to each student’s name. That information is all sent to the skate rental company a few weeks before we start so that they can pull all the appropriate number of skates and get all the number, the correct sizes, and everything to accommodate all the students.
Then finally, I just make a simple Google form that I send out to parents asking for volunteers. I like to use parent volunteers for grades kindergarten – three. I will never turn away willing volunteers just because inevitably, people are gonna forget something’s gonna come up, their kids going to be sick, they can’t make it. Having extra adults on hand really makes getting the skates and the safety gear and the kids a lot quicker, which ultimately lets the kids skate more.
Which Skates Should Students Use?
[2:53] As far as the content goes, you know the things that I teach. I use traditional quad skates, the four wheels for my kindergarteners, and my first graders. Starting in second grade is when I switched to in-line skates or the rollerblade type. The reason for this is that the balance is a little different between the two. So they kind of get a feel for both, and as the student’s feet start to get bigger. You know for example, quad skates, they’re all Velcro and they’re all fastened with Velcro up to a size two, which fits just about all my K-1 students. Starting in second grade, you’ll start to get some of those kids who wear a size three, which is really the smallest size for lace up skates once they reach once they reach a size three, it’s all laces. It’s hard enough to get kids to tie their shoes, let alone to tie these roller skates because they have those hooks at the top where you’ve got to cross the laces, hook the islets and then pull it tight and so that can be kind of tricky, and it could slow down the process. I like to transition in lines because most of them just have two buckles, and they’re just a lot easier. So I found that second grade is usually the grade level that’s easiest to make that switch.
[4:16] I teach the kids how to select their proper size skate. How to secure them. If my younger students can’t get them tight enough, they still need to put them on their feet by themselves before an adult can help them. They also need to know how to put on their helmet and put on their wrist guards. Then obviously the adults, the parents, and that will come by and make some adjustments and tighten them if they need to be tightened.
[4:40] The next thing we practice is really how to get up from that seated position that’s called a recovery stand-up. Once they fall down, how do they get back to their feet? And we practiced that several times. We get the students to learn that T-position to kind of balance themselves, and their standing position. We practice picking up our feet, marching with the skates to kind of get used to the extra weight on our feet. Soon we have the students traveling around the gym in a big circle. They start to transfer weight from skate to skate. They begin to glide a little bit. I encourage all the kids to travel in the big circle, but for some of my skaters, they find it more comfortable to stay in the middle area. I have a large area in the center that the floor is covered with those interlocking foam mats so that slower surface really allows them to walk with a lot greater balance. They can walk around, get the hang of the balance and then I also have some gliders that I made out of PVC pipe that I’ve got some wheels on the bottom. I’ve found that for students that really may struggle, that glider helps them to stay up longer, gives them something to hold onto, and it just helps keep their confidence level up because most of the students and the gliders are now able to join the rest of the class and the big circle. When they started to experience that success, they’re feeling good about themselves.
[6:01] As their abilities progress, we work on a lot of other things to stopping under control, stopping without falling without catching yourself on anything or anyone. Skating in opposite directions so that the turning is a little bit different. We do get into a little bit of backward skating as well.
The Final Week
[6:16] Our final week of skating is really cool because we set up an obstacle course for the kids to go through those things that can go under, go around, in between things that they can go through. So it’s a challenge by choice format, which allows the kids to choose which obstacles if they want that they want to do, if any. They don’t have to do them if they don’t want to, but it’s really awesome to watch the kids progress from day one to the end of the third week. Parents usually comment on the progress that they see in the kids and how their confidence grows throughout the unit.
Rollerskating is a Great Lifetime Skill
[6:51] Now, skating is obviously a lifetime skill. A person can enjoy it as an adult. Many of the parents that come to volunteer also come and skate with the kids too. We typically celebrate the culmination of our skating unit with a PTO sponsored family skate night at our local roller skating rink. It’s just been a great way to celebrate what they’ve learned in class and apply it outside the school setting. So if you’d like more information about my roller skating unit or anything you heard today, please feel free to leave a comment or find my contact information in the show notes below.