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 Teaching Tips

Maximization of Participation

Teachers are encouraged to follow these basic premises:

  • Games should be appropriate for every student. It is worth examining and altering the activity to accommodate a wide spectrum of abilities, interest, needs, and resources.
  • Students should never play elimination games.
  • Try to avoid games that put a single student in the spotlight.
  • Try to have equipment for everyone.
  • Maximize activity time. Avoid games that make students wait in lines for extended periods of time.
  • Teacher forms teams by using knowledge of student skill abilities. Avoid teams formed by captains.
  • Focus on the fun of playing instead of winners and losers.


  1. Know the activity well yourself before teaching.
  2. Establish boundaries early and identify safety hazards if necessary.
  3. Talk briefly and to the point when explaining the rules.
  4. Give examples and demonstrate often.
  5. Get activity start quickly.
  6. Use vests, pennies, and armbands to distinguish teams when necessary.
  7. Monitor overheating and fatigue of students.
  8. Avoid excessive yelling and screaming by students.
  9. Stress participation for the enjoyment of participation. DO NOT over emphasize competition.
  10. Stop and change the activity before the students lose interest.
  11. Make smooth transitions between activities.


The fitness games in this book may use several different types of equipment. Plan the physical placement and distribution of the equipment to save time and still provide a safe playing environment. The following are some guidelines to help with equipment:

  1. Distribute equipment by squads (have a squad leader get equipment for teammates) or pick a color and let students wearing that color get the equipment. You can also use birth months, eye color, or hair color.
  2. Lay out equipment where it is easily accessible but also out of the way.
  3. Spread out equipment so student can easily retrieve it without bumping into other students.
  4. Have students put equipment back in the same orderly fashion.

Two pieces of equipment that may not be familiar to many teachers are heart rate monitors and dyna bands. Heart rate monitors are designed to let the student know how hard their heart is working. Good cardiovascular exercise depends on keeping the heart rate in the target zone (see Table 1) for over 20 minutes. The heart rate monitors will help track and educate the student regarding the benefits of cardiovascular exercise. Teachers may want to ask students wearing the monitors:

  1. Are you at your target heart rate?
  2. How long have you been at your target heart rate?
  3. Compare your heart rate with others.
  4. Which activities make your heart work more or less?
  5. What happens when you speed up or slow down?


127 to 158
126 to 158
125 to 157
125 to 156
124 to 155
124 to 155

Table 1: Target Heart Rate Zone

Dyna bands are a stretch material that students pull and allow them the option of including muscular strength and endurance into their physical activities. During activities when students are required to perform an exercise, students may chose to do arm curls or upright rows.


When danger in physical activities is discussed, the areas that usually get the most attention are equipment and contact sports. People normally assume that playing a tag or kicking game will be relatively safe since children play them all the time. However, children need to be taught how to play fitness games safely just as they need to know how to play the games.

            The following are some guidelines to help reduce accidents in the playing of games:

  1. Teach students how to move safely in gyms and play areas. Student should understand the importance of self-space and general-space.
  2. Students should be taught to stop and start playing on a given signal. Try using a variety of sound making instruments (e.g. whistles, horns, music).
  3. The playing space indoors should be free of objects such as tables with sharp corners, fresh-waxed or damp floors.
  4. Proper use of equipment should be taught. Explain the purpose of each piece of equipment.
  5. The outdoor playing space should be free of debris, holes, posts, etc.
  6. Boundaries (using cones) and lines should be established far enough from walls and fences so that children will not collide into them.
  7. Always consider the individual health concerns of your students. Review school records or consult your school nurse to see if you have any students with special health problems.
  8. Take into consideration the heat index during warm months. Students can quickly overheat when the temperature and humidity are high.

How to Use This Resource

This resource is designed for any adult to use. All of the activities were selected to be successfully implemented by someone with little or no training in teaching physical education or fitness concepts. All activities include objectives, standards met, description of activity, and variations. To aid in understanding the activities, many other instructional options are included. Text and video clips of examples of students engaged in many of the activities are included.

Understanding the Fitness Symbols

The symbols below represent each of the three fitness components (flexibility, cardiovascular endurance and muscular strength and endurance) along with integrated/multicultural components. These symbols are matched with each activity to show which component each activity offers.

Flexibility  Cardiovascular Endurance    

Muscular Strength and EnduranceIntegrated/Multicultural

Modification of Activities

Many of the games and activities we learned as children were often derived from traditional adult sports and games. While these activities were often fun and enjoyable, they were not always designed to meet the needs of children. There are often times when an activity may need to be modified to make it more enjoyable for all the children. Most activities in this program have variations included that are designed to modify the game to meet the needs of the children. Two basic ways to modify an activity is to change the basic structure and degree of difficulty.

Basic Structure

Modifying the purpose, players, movement, equipment, and rules can easily change the basic structure of a game. If the focus of a game is to work on cardiovascular endurance in pairs, the teacher may want to change it by including a strength component (dyna bands) into the activity and have the students work individually. The teacher may then have the students travel by hopping and sliding instead of jogging. This modification may increase the level of physical activity while giving the children more time to work on the skills individually.

Degree of Difficulty

Increasing or decreasing the complexity of an activity is a very easy way of modifying the game. Every student has varying degrees of abilities and they often become frustrated if the game is too hard or too easy. One way of making the game fit each student is to change the degree of difficulty. For example, if a student is having a difficult time kicking a small ball, give them a choice to kick a bigger ball. If kicking the small ball is too easy, have the student kick the ball while running to make it more challenging.



Kirchner, G. (1991). Children's Games From Around the World (2nd ed.). Boston: Ally and Bacon.

Manross, M., Graham, G., Pennington, T., & Elliott, E. [Editors]. (1996, August 26). PE Central. [Online]. Blacksburg, VA: Retrieve 14 November 2000 from the World Wide Web:

Pangrazi, R. (1998). Dynamic physical education for elementary school children (12th ed.). Boston: Ally and Bacon.

Rohnke, K. (1989). Cowstails and Cobras II. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt.

Copyright State of Florida Department of State 2002
This document was created in cooperation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
Division of Adolescent and School Health, project number U87-CCU408585-10.