Why I chose an Olympic themed Field Day, and so can you!

Student dribbling a basketball.

Field Day is my favorite time of the year; however, organizing and implementing a quality Field Day can be daunting. There are several logistical points that need to be figured out such as: the daily schedule, need for parent volunteers, other staff responsibilities, the number of grade levels involved at a time, and the most important, the theme of the event. Choosing a theme determines what equipment, space, reward if any, and time the students will need to complete and/or participate in the events/activities of the day.

Over the past 15 years, I have not had a year without a Field Day event and my themes and/or goals of the event have varied greatly. This past year, I had three separate Field Day events. Our first onsite Field Day was connected with our Boosterthon Fun Run in the Fall and I chose a “Mario Theme.” The second onsite Field Day event was in early May and I chose an “Olympic Theme.” Finally, our school district holds an annual 5th Grade Track and Field event at each of the four high schools for all 19 elementary schools.

The previous two years, I have designed the onsite Field Day around “Traveling the World,” since my school is an International Studies school. Each of our students receive Spanish and Chinese for half of the school year, so traveling the world has been the perfect fit. Each student held a passport and received a sticker for visiting the country. Heading into this year, the summer Olympics were approaching, so I took advantage and revolved my theme around this world event which worked well with how I used the student passports.

An Olympic Field Day theme was perfect and here is how I found success!

Schedule:

  • My field day event is held all on one day. I have two classes come out at a time for 100 minutes (Two 50 minute prep periods). The classroom teachers have their 50 minute prep and 30 minute lunch during their 100 minute Field Day slot. The additional 20 minutes is used for transitions on the front and end of their student’s Field Day.

Promoting the event!

  • To promote the event, I share that the event is approaching with the students. I talk about the events, the Field Day cards and how to find success during their time. I also share a video via youtube at conferences. Lastly, I send out emails to parents discussing what is coming up in a monthly newsletter. Parents have really appreciated hearing how I make learning fun in Physical Education.

Asking for help! Field Day is not the same without support. I communicate needs with my fellow specialists, admin, lunch staff, custodians and parents. I use Sign-Up Genius for volunteers. The parents or guests will pre-register as a volunteer prior to the event, so they are able to check-in on the day quickly. Last year, I had close to 75 parent volunteers over three Field Day slots. This year, we had close to 250 volunteers. This allowed me to have three to four volunteers per event and have volunteers assist with the nurse and water stations.

Running the Event!

Each student received a Field Day card similar to the passport I have used for the past two years. The Field Day card has a spot for each of the 24 events. The 24 events consisted of actual Olympic events and some of my student’s favorites with an Olympic achievement attached to it. Each student will travel around the field freely, attempting to earn a Gold, Silver or Bronze sticker. Each station had a separate criteria for achieving a Gold, Silver or Bronze sticker. If a student earned a Bronze or Silver sticker, they may attempt the event again to try and earn Gold. I marked each station with a sign that had the station number, country’s flag, scoring criteria and a QR code with a Gif showing how to complete the event. My son and daughter helped make Gifs for each event. Once I had the Gifs made, I created a google doc for each one. Then, each google doc had a separate link that I used to create the QR codes.

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You can access a copy of the booklet and stations with QR codes and adaptations HERE.

On the day of the event, two parent volunteers approached me to ask if it was ok for them to take pictures with their high end cameras. I was shocked and incredibly appreciative for all their work and sharing them so quickly with me in a Google Photos shared album I created for staff to also use for compiling moments captured. Here are just a few pictures of our successful event.

Without a doubt this Field Day event was one of my favorites. Two of my own kids are also my students and as Olympic qualifying events have been shown on TV, they have shouted out events they remember from our Olympic Field Day! I would like to bet the rest of my students are having similar thoughts.

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