Tips for Taking Inventory in PE

Podcast Transcript:

After you’ve relaxed and rejuvenated this summer, I think there’s a first step all teachers should take when planning for the next school year.

Welcome to the PE Express podcast. Two to three times a week, a PE expert will share a tip, activity idea, or teaching strategy to help you become a better PE professional. Today’s host is Dr Aaron Beighle. He is a co-author of Dynamic Physical Education for elementary school children and a contributor to he also publishes extensively and presents for physical education professionals.

About 20 years ago, an elementary teacher asked me to help her organize her equipment closet and I obliged and I walked into a room and I saw these three big boxes and she was excited to report she’d purchased a frisbee golf set and right next to those three big boxes were frisbees hoops, small cones, and post for flags and my first reaction was, do you know what you had before you ordered this? And her reaction was no.

In fact, she had no inventory at all. For this reason, I have my undergraduate students take an inventory for an assignment and I’m going to share you with you what I teach them and I think it’s an important first step for teachers as they begin planning for a school year. First, I think it’s important that teachers know what they have as they plan their lessons and curriculum and PE requires equipment, and you can’t plan if you don’t really know what you have. It’s sort of like starting to cook without knowing what you have in the refrigerator or the pantry. Another reason for an inventory is to know what to ask for. I just had dinner with a teacher um, recently and he was telling me that his principal came to him and said, I have some money for specials, what do you guys need? And within 20 minutes he had sent the teacher an updated list of his needs and what he required to teach his curriculum and he got all of those just based on having an inventory and having a list ready for the principal without the inventory, he couldn’t have done this. And the last reason I think to do an inventory is that it requires you to really check your equipment at least annually and look for things like splinters, loose parts, faulty parts, cracks, those types of things. This will make sure you keep your equipment safe and you know what you have to use during the school year. So you’ve decided that you want an inventory, but how do you do that? If this is your first time ever doing an inventory, I would just go through your equipment closet and write down everything you have. How many you have and the condition, is it good, fair or not usable. During this process, writing down how many you need to teach your curriculum would also be helpful as well.

So you would probably have a, how many do you need column. Also, I would recommend that as you go through and count your equipment, organize it. I struggle with this one, sometimes I’m not overly organized, but it’s so much easier to have a beanbag spot and your jump ropes hung on a wall or a cart than to struggle to find them each morning when you go to teach a lesson, where did I put those jump ropes or where were those bean bags last time? It would be nice to know exactly where things are and everything has a place. Once you’ve written down everything you have, I would go through and prioritize them in order of what you feel is most important. So what piece of equipment do you think you can get the most lessons out of in our Dynamic Physical Education, ASAP curriculum you can get on Gopher’s website, we have a list of equipment and it is in that order.

The equipment that could be used the most is put first. Things like foam balls, fleece balls, jump ropes, cones. The equipment you use most often is put at the top. After I’ve put the equipment in order, I would put them in some kind of excel sheet. So when I go to get a bid or go to get information from an equipment company that I know exactly what I need, what I have, what condition it’s in, etc and when the principal comes to ask you about your equipment, you have it all there. As you start to plan for a new year, I think inventory is a great place to start the year off, right to let you know what you have and what you need, let us know what you do for your inventory. Thrive!

If you enjoyed the podcast, be sure to connect with Dr Beighle on Twitter at Aaron Beighle. Don’t forget to subscribe to the PE Express podcast for more tips, activity ideas, and strategies to help you become a better PE professional and check out more free resources from Dr Aaron Beighle at We’ll see you soon, right here on the PE Express podcast. Powered by Gopher. Your resource for all things Physical Education.

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