Vigorous Games

What makes a great vigorous game?

  • Games should be structured to engage participation from 100% of students for 100% of the game time.
  • Students should be huffing and puffing.
  • Students will probably need a rest after about 2 minutes.
  • Avoid games that involve students sitting around waiting for a turn, eg kick ball.



Five Key Motivators in #PhysEd

5 Key Motivators in PE

One single quality that I believe all good PE teachers and sports coaches have is to be able to motivate their students / athletes. One of the greatest challenges we all face when working with as class of 25 students or a team of 30 athletes is how do we motivate them to try their best? All personalities are different and we are all motivated by many different factors. Teachers who are able to tap into the personalities of each student and motivate them accordingly will get the most out of their lessons and will experience the most engagement from their students.

My advice when planning a lesson is to try and incorporate all of the five key motivators into each lesson. This way you should be able to cater for the many different learning styles and motivators for the individuals in your class.

Fun – Still the most important part of a PE lesson. Students need to enjoy Phys Ed. This way they will hopefully develop a life-long love of physical activity. Providing variety from lesson to lesson is important to prevent boredom.

Challenge – All students need to be challenged in any learning situation. Providing different challenges or expectations for the various abilities in your class is important to embed in a PE lesson.

Relationship – I have a firm belief in the benefits of cooperative learning and believe that students can learn a great deal when working with others. There are so many children that choose to participate in sport because of the time that they get to spend with their friends. This is an important factor that is often forgotten in sport.

Competition – Some students are driven by a will to win. I was one of these students. Ask me to do an activity and I will do it. Give me a chance to score points and I will go as hard as I can. Building elements of competition to PE lessons will motivate these students but you also need to be careful not to turn off those that aren’t motivated by competition. I use elements of competition in my classes, but I don’t place a huge emphasis on winning. Students will often be encouraged to beat their previous score or time rather than each other. Students feel a wonderful sense of satisfaction when they achieve their personal best result.

Recognition – It is important that children are acknowledged for their efforts and achievements. I use positive reinforcement techniques to encourage students. I believe in the use of intrinsic rewards rather than extrinsic.

One Minute Workouts #PhysEd #pegeeks

One minute workouts is my latest creation. I’d been looking for a way to spice up an upcoming fitness unit and this is the end result. I have used task cards for many years in PE which are good but I have always been frustrated in that they don’t always explain the exercise/activity well enough for the students (particularly the younger ones) to work out what to do. Task cards don’t move.  If only I could have a virtual demonstration of each card to show the kids. So I set to work creating some short videos of each exercise as demonstrated online by my alter ego “Commando Dude”. Pretty lame I know and the costume not much better but the kids seem to think he is cool and they are motivated to participate so I have achieved my goal.

Each video consists of a short virtual demonstration of the exercise. Students can view and see clearly what is expected of them. After the demonstration there is a one minute countdown clock. The challenge is to complete as many reps of that exercise as possible in one minute. When the countdown clock finishes, students simply move onto the next exercise. Here is a sample of one of the videos for the exercise “Bicycle Crunches”.


QR Codes…

In recent times I have come to learn about the awesomeness that is QR Codes. I have created a series of QR Code task cards for the one minute workout exercises. Here is the link for the QR Code resource I created…

On Two Wheels in #PhysEd. The importance of a quality Bike Ed Program in schools

Bike & Scooters

I will never forget the feeling I had when Santa brought me my first bike. A bright red BMX. My best mate across the road got a yellow one. This day was the beginning of a life long love affair with bike riding for me. We spent Christmas day trying to master the skill that is bike riding. No training wheels in those days, crashing into each other, letter boxes and trees but with persistence we did it! As a kid I spent my spare time racing up and down the foot path on my street and when I was old enough, my bike was my method of getting to school and the shops on weekends. My bike was freedom and I loved it.

As a dad I now get to experience that freedom with my own kids and now that spring has arrived in Melbourne we now spend much more time outdoors riding our bikes.


Scootering (as I call it) is my latest way to enjoy the outdoors with my kids. It’s much easier to fold and pack our scooters in the car when we go away on holidays and we love exploring bike paths, etc on them.


As a PE teacher I have recently become Bike Ed certified and have had the pleasure of teaching a Bike Ed program at my school. I believe that a bike ed program is such an important facet of schooling and physical education. In Australia, you would be hard pressed to find a child that hasn’t participated in a swimming program run by qualified swimming instructors, but how many children participate in a bicycle ed program run by qualified instructors? Not to diminish the importance of swimming capability in this country, but I believe that children should be adequately prepared to get around on wheels safely and competently in our community. As a general rule, bike riding and bike safety is something that is left to parents to pass onto their kids and I’m sure most parents do this very well but what about the ones that don’t? What skills and knowledge are those kids left with? For this reason I feel that a quality bike ed and traffic safety program is essential in schools. On another note I have been amazed at how many children do not know how to ride a bike by the age of 8 or 9. These children have never been provided with the opportunity to learn how to ride which in my mind is sad 😦 The good news is that with persistence, many of these children were able to master the skill of bike riding by the end of our 5 week unit. Individual goal setting became an important part of the unit.

I thought I would share my Bike Ed planner which was a great success and culminated in a community bike ride around our local bike paths. We are lucky at my school to have so many great and safe bike paths so close to our school.

Bike Ed 3 – 4 Here is the unit.

Here is a great video that I showed the students on traffic safety:

After the success of the Bike Ed unit in Year 3/4 I have decided to purchase a set of scooters and teach a Scooter Ed unit next term with my Year 1/2 students as a lead in to bike ed.

Scooter Ed 1 – 2 Here is the unit. Still yet to be implemented but I am very excited about it 🙂

Here is a sample of some of the stuff I will be doing:


Here’s a great little cartoon outlining the importance of wearing a helmet:

I hope you enjoyed my blog and if it can inspire PE techers to get out and teach kids how to get around their community on two wheels then I have achieved my goal 🙂

Traffic Light Assessment Method in #PhysEd

Traffic Light Sample Pic

I was recently asked the question… How do I show/measure student growth in Phys Ed? Many schools have targets these days around the concept of student growth and a common goal that is shared is that “all students will experience more than one year of growth”.

This got me thinking. How do I measure growth in Phys Ed?

Whilst I do feel that I have some pretty sound assessment methods, my tracking of student “growth” has probably been less than desirable in the past. When it comes to assessing which progression point each student has achieved, I used to make a judgement based on a “gut feel” derived from all other assessments completed throughout the year (Fitness testing, Game Sense & Skills assessment). Whilst I feel that this method was probably an accurate one, I came unstuck when challenged to show where the students had come from and where they are now.

I have recently developed a progress based assessment checklist based on the Victorian Essential Learning Standards in PE. I call it a “Traffic Light” Assessment model. The idea is that learning outcomes are colour coded… Red = ‘Below’ the expected standard, Amber = ‘At’ the expected standard and Green = ‘Above’ the expected standard. Whilst it is based on the Victorian standards, the concept can be applied to the standards from any state or country.

Using this method I can now confidently show where each student is at in relation to the learning outcomes set down in our curriculum. I can also track their progress over time and more importantly use the model to help set individual goals with students.

Here is an excel version of the Traffic Light Assessment I created…


I still use all my other assessment methods which are still valuable, but they also help inform my judgement of the traffic light model.

Here is a sample of my other assessment checklists/rubrics…



As with everything I do. It is still a work in progress and it changes every year as I strive to find the most effective methods of assessment.

Three great #PhysEd games using playing Cards


Card games are something I have grown up with. Playing ‘snap’ and ’21’ with childhood friends and relatives was always fun. I still have wonderful memories of playing ‘500’ with my family on our caravan holidays around Australia and now occasionally participate in card nights with friends and always end up losing my money 😦

As a teacher I have seen classroom teachers use playing cards really effectively to facilitate learning (mostly in mathematics) which got me thinking… There must be a way to utilise playing cards as a PE teacher?

The randomness of playing cards and the element of surprise is something that children seem to enjoy. It’s funny how incorporating playing cards into basic activities somehow energizes students and engages them more actively in the game/activity. The following three games involve activities that are not particularly exciting, but the introduction of playing cards and the anticipation of the unknown that they create really brings the games to life!

Card Catches

Card Catches

Card Catches is a passing and catching activity with a twist. Organise your class into pairs and give them a ball to share. Each pair is to find their own space to work in and stand a few metres (passing distance) apart. The teacher stands in the middle holding a few decks of cards. To start the game, each pair must complete 10 passes back and forth. After the first set of 10 passes, the student that doesn’t have the ball runs to the teacher and gets a card to take back to his/her partner. The number on the card determines the number of passes that the pair must complete next. Eg, if they get a “7” card, they must complete “7” passes. At the completion of this set of passes the partner that doesn’t have the ball runs to the teacher to collect a new card and the game continues until the teacher runs out of cards.

Picture cards = 11 passes.

Variation: Black card = Bounce pass / Red Card = Chest pass.

Numeracy Links: At the end of the game, each pair adds up how many passes they completed by adding the numbers together on each of their cards. Younger students can simply count how many cards they have in total.

Download a PDF of the game here…Card Catches

Shuffle the Deck

Shuffle the Deck

Shuffle the Deck is a fitness / exercise game that incorporates playing cards to randomise the exercises and repetitions.

The first step is to assign a “workout area” for each student. I use flat spots or yoga mats to do this. It is important to ensure that students are spread out for safety sake. The next step is to assign an exercise to each card suit. It can be anything you like but I go with…

Diamonds = Star Jumps

Clubs = Push Ups

Hearts = High Knees

Clubs = Burpees

The number on the card determines the repetition of each exercise that needs to be completed. I usually go with ACE = 11 reps and King/Queen/Jack = 12 reps.

Here is a poster that I have made which I display in the gym during the game for students to refer to…

Shuffle Poster

Here is an A4 PDF version of the poster… Shuffle the Deck

The teacher needs to situate themselves in the middle of the playing area, holding a few decks of cards. Before commencing the game, provide each student with their fist card. This will be their first exercise. Eg, if a student has a 7 of spades, they need to complete seven burpees.  Students complete their own exercise according to their own card. After completing their exercise, they run to the teacher and get a new card. They then run back to their spot and complete that exercise and repeat the procedure again and again. This continues until the teacher runs out of cards which means the game stops.

Joker: I assign an activity called “Tag Ten” to the Joker card. This means that if a student draws a Joker, they need to run around and tag 10 different students before collecting a new card.

Numeracy Links: At the end of the game, get each student to add up how many reps they completed by adding the numbers together on each of their cards.

Full House

Full House

Full House is essentially a giant version of the “memory game” crossed with relay running.

Divide the class into 4 teams (Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds & Spades). Place 20 cones or discs in the middle and place one card under each. Must have a 10, Jack, Queen, King & Ace (Full House) of each suit. Players from each team take it in turns to run to the middle and turn over a disc. If the card suit matches the team, they take it back to their team, if not, they leave it in the spot. The first team to collect all 5 cards from their suit shout out “FULL HOUSE” and they win.

Full House also incorporates elements of teamwork and communication as players need to work effectively to ensure they don’t keep turning over the same disc.