“Today I Worked On Basketball With 24 Fifth Graders” by Ty Curtis

You want to know how to solve the world’s energy crisis? Figure out how to harness the energy coming from a class of 24 fifth grade students, right after they have had lunch. That should be enough energy to power this planet for a decade! Today I was privileged to see that energy in action as I took my students out to work on their basketball skills during P.E. Now, If you were to ask these students to raise their hand if they know how to play basketball, every hand would be raised. To listen to them talk you would think that you were talking with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Before playing the game we started out with a few warm up exercises in brisk February air; you know the traditional ones like jumping jacks, hip rotations, and pushups. After doing the warm-ups came the time to organize the games. We have three basketball goals to work with, so that means after all of the splitting into groups was done, we had three groups of eight students. Teams of four on four would be playing each other. The organizational part can sometimes be pretty interesting because most children have strong preferences for who they want to be teammates with. In the end, everything usually works out fine so that everyone is satisfied with the teams they are on. Once everyone was squared away on a team it was time to play. 

I blew the whistle that would signal everyone to begin playing. Instantly there was a enough horsepower (and willpower) on that court to energize a small city. The games would only last about twenty minutes, but to the students that seemed like a reasonable amount of time to play. While the students played, I moved about on the court to each team to help them fine-tune their skills, clarify rules of the game, and help them get a healthy perspective on sportsmanship in the midst of competing with each other. To see the looks on their faces while they are playing is priceless. They get so excited while they are playing.

When our time had run out, I went over and took up the basketballs. I could have blown the whistle but that would have just been wasted air. It is a lot easier to get children to start playing than to get them to stop playing. Anyhow, everything went well right to the end. It was a good day of fun and exercise for the students. When the class was over the students headed back to their classrooms to learn more about the 3 R’s. In P.E. they learned a little more about the game of basketball, and we all learned a lot more about each other.

“How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live!” Henry David Thoreau

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